Ask any veteran business owner how the design and development of their website went and you’re likely to get the response “which one”. Websites need frequently updated, optimised and sometimes completely overhauled. Taking on this responsibility as a beginner is likely to be frustrating and can have long lasting ramifications on the business itself, and your own sanity. This is where the help of a web development company comes in. They will have experience creating websites from scratch and ensuring they are functional whilst also being aesthetically appealing. Here are a few tips on choosing the right company for your business.
First, Establish What You Need
Before you think about approaching an agency think about what you need from your site and therefore what you need from an agency. You don’t need to plan out every detail, but you must have a good idea of what you want the site to do for your brand and the customers. Do you want an ecommerce site where customers can add items to their bag and purchase online? Or is your site information led with a gallery of your services, in which case you need to make sure it is easy to contact you. Defining your goals before starting the project is essential as it will ensure you produce a site that serves your needs best as possible.
Review Agency Portfolios
Agencies are often shouting about their work, so this should be easy to find. Look for a list of clients on their website and scout out some of the work they have done already. If they have already worked with clients in your industry this is a good sign, it will mean they already have an understanding of what your business needs and what works for your customers. When looking through their work make sure the sites don’t all look the same, you want your business to stand out, not blend in.
When discussing your vision with the agency make sure they understand the overall goal but aren’t going to blindly say yes to everything as a way of keeping you happy. You want your web development company to be honest with you and tell you what isn’t going to work, as well as come up with ideas of their own. You might want to also ask for some case studies, this is a good way of seeing projects they have worked on from brief to completion.
Consider How Much Support You Need
A web development company isn’t for the development stage alone, once the site goes live you may rely on the agency even more. You may notice features that don’t work as you’d like them to, or you may receive customer feedback that makes you realise a design you loved isn’t necessarily the most practical one for the customer. The level of support you need altering these things will depend on your experience level, but most likely the changes will need to go through your agency, so it’s important to choose one you can rely on and who are going to get back to you quickly with updates.
Think About Their Other Services
Getting the website set up is only the first step in the complicated web of digital marketing. Once you’ve set your site up you are going to want people to visit it. This is where PPC and SEO come in. Pay-per-click, or Google ads, is a paid form of advertising where you bid on certain keywords, for example an agency themselves might bid on ‘SEO Agency London’, and only pay when the link is clicked on. In contrast, search engine optimisation is an organic way of ensuring your website can be found in the search engine results for words and phrases relevant to what you are offering. There are ways to tweak your site to pull your site up through the rankings and appear on page one instead of page 3.
You are likely to want to make use of at least one of these services, and so when picking a web development company think about whether they also offer additional services such as SEO and PPC. Keeping everything with one agency is not only more convenient for you but should improve project time and make communication easier.
There is no magic recipe to choosing a web development company but following these steps should point you in the right direction. Remember to have a good idea of what you want before you start to look; do your research on portfolios and reputation; consider whether you have any experience with web development or whether you are a total beginner and will need full support, and finally think about other services you are likely to need further down the line.