How to choose a solid web development agency in 5 Steps
(1) Understand what your need or challenge is
Your website is a lead generation tool first and foremost. We din that a majority of our clients come to us with the following challenges:
- I need a site that can allow me to sell my products online
- I need a site that can support our new business launch or launch of a new brand
- I need a website that can help increase traffic and increase conversions
- I need a website to showcase my portfolio and work with one easy call to action
Once you nail down what you need this tool to accomplish, you can move on to the next step.
(2) Understand who your audience is and what they need this website to display
Yes your needs are important but your potential clients are the main reason you are building this. A few things to consider:
- How old are your users? If you find your target audience falls into a higher age bracket you may steer away from complex design and maintain a simple UX (user experience)
- What are your personas? A persona goes beyond the demographics and brings a humanized understanding of people that are coming to your site and what solutions they are looking for. That in turn will fuel your messaging, sitemap and calls to action.
- You will always have more than one persona and each one may vary in how much time they are willing to spend on a site to assess who you are, what your solution is and if it is a fit. There are best practices to create a content strategy for your site that is clear, concise and actionable – while always bringing to light why you are different than your competition. This leads us to your next step….
(3) Have a solid understanding of your competitors
There are direct, indirect, and aspirational competitors. The foundation of a great website will assess all of these. We find that conducting this research in-house can lead to a biased understanding and it is best to allow your agency partner to conduct this for you and review together.
(4) Assess your budget and expectations
When discussing the budget of web design project we like to break it down into a free categories:
- Timeline/Urgency – we approach all of our web dev projects with an agile or phased approach. It allows for realistic milestones to be hit, compliments our scrum framework, and sprint planning to give your team visibility week to week and has been proven to alleviate major bugs and enhance quality assurance as opposed to a waterfall approach. And like any other the service – the quicker the turnaround the more expensive.
- Content Needs – will we be writing the content or will your team
- Will your website partner work in SEO and keyword strategy? They should. If you are building a website without this you are wasting your time and money. Your website needs to be able to rank for Google and also needs to be searchable for your potential clients.
- Need for images and stock photo – we really like to steer our clients away from stock photography – having images that are really intertwined with your brand and business take that website to the next level
- Functionality – putting in a scheduler, interactive maps, eCommerce, integration with your CRM
- Balancing design with functionality. If you allow a design firm that does NOT understand web design – you will receive a beautiful mock-up of your dream site that does not function or load under 2 seconds. You will be disappointed in the way it functions. Always go back to the first few steps when it comes to design and ask your agency partner – will the site still maintain a smooth user experience? This means site speed, easy navigation, and more. Design is meant to enhance so never put the chicken before the egg 🙂
(5) Begin to vet your future web design partner
Ask them all of the questions above and listen to to their project management plan. Investing money and time into a website takes effort from both teams. Will your agency lead the charge in weekly tasks to keep everyone on track? Also, will you keep your team accountable and carve out time for website tasks in order to send deliverables to your agency partner on time?