Working with the wrong web development agency will cost your business time and money! But with so many development options to choose from, how can you make the right decision?
Your first task is to understand what your business needs from its web presence and prioritize the main elements, which may include the following:
- Building your brand
- Growing sales
- Generating leads
- Attracting organic traffic
- Reputation management
- Customer support
Knowing what you want and making sure every element is measurable really is the foundation from which your website and online assets can develop and evolve. The next step is working through your web development options.
Agencies, Freelancers, and Website Builders
Agencies are not the only option you have for developing a website, but they’re usually the best if you value your time and your investment. If you’re not convinced, consider options such as a DIY free website, using the SaaS model website builders, or using a freelancer.
Free Website Builder
Using a free website builder, you can drag and drop your way to a professional web design. These work well for small-scale sites and new entrepreneurs since they’re so inexpensive and intuitive. However, they leave you with an unoriginal design and don’t provide you with much support.
Similarly, you could work with a team of freelancers to build your website, but it’s hard to track down freelancers who are both affordable and reliable. It’s also hard to find a combination of people with all the skills you need to make your website look pretty and function well.
Agencies, by contrast, cost more; however, they save you time. Plus, you get to go through one main point of contact, your advocate within the agency, communicate your requirements with techies and designers.
Your Agency contact is accountable for delivering a web presence that provides on the core elements that matter to you, including providing the correct perception and reputation as much as lead generation and conversion. Plus, agencies employ entire teams of skilled individuals, so you get everything your web presence needs to function well in quick time.
Evaluating A Web Development Agency
Common traits of all professional web development agencies include:
- Industry awards, and achievements
- Relevant qualifications, training and experience
- Good reviews
- Impressive client case studies
Experience is huge. It takes time to learn how to develop a professional website, and it takes just as long for an agency to figure out how best to serve clients.
Ideally, you’ll be working with an agency that has developed many websites over many years; while new agencies can do a good job, you’ll get a more reliable finished product from a business with more time invested in this endeavor.
It may also be in your best interest to find a web development agency with niche expertise that’s relevant to you. For example, you may want to work with an agency that has developed multiple websites for businesses in your industry in the past; they’ll already have expertise and insights into what works best for your target audience.
Awards and recognition
The Awwwards are perhaps the best-known web design and development awards, but any awards or forms of recognition from reputable authorities should make an impression. If one of your web development agencies under consideration has many awards, you should consider it more highly.
Good reviews and testimonials
Of course, you’ll also need to look at the reviews and testimonials provided by previous clients.
How do people feel about the websites they’ve been given?
Would they recommend this web development agency to clients like you?
Are there any points of contention or complaints that previous clients seem to share?
An impressive portfolio
In addition to looking at previous clients’ reviews and testimonials, you should look at their existing websites. Do they look polished and professional? Do they work as intended? What types of clients have this agency served in the past? The more impressive the portfolio is, the more comfortable you should be moving forward.
Website design and development costs vary significantly, depending on what you want to build and how fast you want to build it. But a good agency will still charge you a reasonable fee for whatever you want to develop. Compare different agencies’ prices against each other for a better assessment.
You can’t build a good website without good communication. Ideally, your web development agency of choice will have mutually open communication, knowledgeable and helpful representatives, and an effective system for managing collaboration.
Openness and availability
Some excellent agencies have one pressing problem; they have so many people clamoring to work with them that they’re not open to new projects or scheduling new projects for months or even years in the future.
Always make sure to check on the openness and availability of an agency for new projects.
Once you find an agency that meets all these criteria, you’ll be ready to move forward.
With a few onboarding meetings and initial discussions, you’ll get a chance to express exactly what you want on your website, and you’ll get a better feel for the working relationship to come.
From there, it’s only a matter of time until you have the beautiful, functional website you need for your business.