97 percent of potential customers search online before making a purchase. In previous decades, having a brick-and-mortar store used to be enough.
Now, if you’re not online, your brand might as well not exist. Having an online presence is crucial to empowering customers to find your site and purchase from you.
That’s what website development services are for. With a holistic approach to developing, optimizing, and iterating your website, these services can save time and money.
Custom website development is crucial to your success. How can you be sure that you’re picking the right website development agency, though?
We’ve assembled a list of 10 tips for using a website development service for your business. Let’s get started!
1. What Do Their Processes Look Like?
When engaging with website design and development services, you’re hiring an extended arm of your company. They will be promoting your brand, representing your company, and embodying your values.
Any consultative services you engage with becomes your company’s ambassador. It’s like hiring a new employee, except all the work that they do is public-facing!
That’s why the quality of their process matters. How they engage with work will dictate the quality of that work.
It’s tempting to go as fast as you can. After all, without a website, you likely won’t be getting many leads or much revenue.
Avoid the temptation to prompt your website development partner to go faster. After all, quality is more than quantity.
Look out for some specific green flags during the planning stage.
- Requesting background information, such as buyer personas, ideal customer profiles, brand briefings, and style guides from your company
- Conducting discovery sessions to learn more about you
- Doing research to learn your audience’s needs
- Prioritizing user experience and smooth flow above all else
A quality process will be broken down into specific phases. This includes discovery, research, planning, audience profiling, and more.
The goal is to understand how you do business. That way, the website will reflect the true needs and desires of your audience.
2. What Are They Charging?
We’ve all heard the saying: you have to spend money to make money. However, it can be tempting to scrimp on website development services!
After all, someone can always do it for cheaper. With a faster timeline, cheaper hourly rates, or great discounts, you may feel like you’re the one person in the world who found such an awesome deal.
If a website development service is incredibly cheap, there’s a good reason. Likely, their end product is difficult to use or visually unattractive.
When a website development agency is pitching, make sure you are clear on the following:
- Resources involved
- Cost per hour, or per project
If a brand is overly transparent with its processes, that’s a great sign you can trust the price tag attached. Often, high quality comes with a higher price, and that’s not a bad thing.
3. Check Their References
When you extend an offer to a new employee, it’s often contingent on two things: their references and the results of a background check. Why should hiring a web development agency be any different?
Any reputable agency will showcase clients they have worked with before. Then, you can get in contact with some of these clients and ask questions.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful referral. Whether someone had a positive or negative experience, they’re often more than willing to talk about it. Here are some things you should ask about:
- Their process
- Commitment to customer service
- Adherence to timeline
- Satisfaction with the end product
- Communication after the product was completed
This is a great way to make sure that you are getting a website development agency that really works for you.
4. Review Their Portfolio
When a custom website development service shows examples of past work, take the time to study it. Even if they do good work, it might not be the right work for you.
Can you picture your site looking like the examples they show? Listen to your gut! While many website development services are multi-faceted and can pivot at a moment’s notice, history speaks for itself.
Pay attention to how they structure user flow, and how self-explanatory the site is. The whole goal of website design is to seamlessly funnel the user from point A to point B.
5. Who Is Doing the Work?
It might be fair to assume the agency you hire is the agency that will actually be doing the work. This isn’t always the case!
Sometimes, web development agencies will outsource the work to the lowest bidder. This often causes issues with communication, quality control, security, and so much more.
Ask upfront: will the work be done in-house? If the answer that you get isn’t satisfactory, walk away before you sink any more time and money into it!
6. What Do They Offer?
It’s important to make sure that an agency is offering a holistic experience. Web development isn’t just coding or design anymore! Instead, a full-service agency needs to offer a cross-sectional experience.
For starters, do they offer marketing? This information will help them develop buyer personas, audience profiles, and more. If you don’t have these resources developed already, marketing expertise is a huge win.
What about SEO? A website needs to be developed all at once. It doesn’t make sense to develop an entire website with none of the copy being optimized for SEO.
If that happens, you’ll end up constantly restarting and tearing down the work you already accomplished. Make sure you can do it right the first time, and you’ll save money and resources.
What about designers? Building code is crucial to a functional website, but how will it actually look in the end? If they don’t have a full roster of resources with the right experience, know that there’s something better out there for you.
How does the agency communicate with you in the early stages? Communication should be at its’ peak in the early stages, especially before they’ve sealed the deal. If they don’t communicate when you’re a potential customer, things won’t improve once you’ve handed over your money.
Communication should be prioritized when it comes to how your money is being spent, what progress is being made, what resources are on the project, and so forth. This will help eliminate potential blockers before they become time-wasters.
If a company doesn’t communicate, know that you may spend the better part of an engagement chasing them down and begging them for an update.
8. What Industry Do They Target?
Most website development services are quite versatile. They can switch between industries seamlessly.
However, many services do have a specialty. Whether they mostly design software sites or small commerce shops, there are different expectations for each industry.
Does your brand exist within a small niche? If so, it’s worth asking yourself if the agency can meet your expectations. In many cases, you just may need to build more time into your workflow to onboard the agency.
Make sure that you do your research when it comes to past clients and their portfolio of work. It’s also important to ensure the agency is willing to do their homework, too!
9. What Does Their Culture Look Like?
When hiring a new employee, you try to gauge how they might fit into your pre-existing company culture. It’s important to do the same for the agency you hire.
After all, their culture will dictate the work they put out. Do they prioritize things like honesty, empathy, and customer-first service? If not, that will show up in the end product.
It’s also important to note their impact on your culture. One new employee can spread discord in an otherwise healthy culture. When you’re working with an entire brand and integrating them into your workflows, that impact is even bigger.
10. What About Intellectual Property?
When someone is working on your site, they gain access to confidential information. They know what you plan on releasing, what your company secrets are, and so much more.
When you engage with a web development agency, are they willing to sign an NDA? Chances are that the agency is working with multiple companies in the same industry. It’s important that your confidential information remains safe.
It’s also important to ensure that you will possess 100 percent ownership of your intellectual property when it’s finished. At the end of the project, the agency shouldn’t retain any ownership.
That way, you avoid any issues later on when it’s time to launch your new site.
Using Website Development Services
If you’re interested in using website development services, it can be a great option to develop a professional site with a great user experience. This can establish a strong brand reputation, boost revenue, and build customer loyalty.
We offer top-notch services that cater to you, your audience, and your goals. If that’s what you’re looking for, contact us today! We can help.