How to choose a web development company

Portrait of Mike Cashin
By Mike Cashin

14 August 2018

Knowing how to choose a web development company that suits your needs is crucial. Check out our top tips.

Web development is no mean feat. Whether you’re starting from scratch, making some tweaks or completely overhauling your site, choosing the best web development company for not only your needs, but your customers’ needs is crucial. With no shortage of options out there, doing your research and knowing what questions to ask goes a long way to finding the perfect match. To help you make the right decision, here are our top tips on how to choose a web development company.

Establish what you need

Before you approach a web development agency, you need to work out what you need from them. You don’t have to know every detail, but you do need to have a good idea of what you want the website to do for both your brand and visitors.

Do you want to maintain the same look and feel or take the opportunity to reinvent yourself? Are you trying to educate, inform or convert your visitors? If so, do you need e-commerce functionality on your site? Defining your business goals and what you want the site to achieve will help to determine what success looks like.

Support your business objectives

Once you’ve established your business objectives and user needs, it is important to choose the right technology to empower these. A good web development company will know what the right CMS is for you, so be open-minded to suggestions and take any advice that is given.

That’s not to say if you have an idea of what technology you’d like to use, you can’t suggest it – just be mindful that an experienced agency will know what the best option for you is. You’ll also need to consider where your site will be hosted and acknowledge the ongoing cost of services, such as the cloud.

Take a look at their portfolio

Once you’ve scouted out a few potential agencies, it’s time to look at their back catalogue. Companies love to shout about their work, so you’ll usually find a list of clients on their website to peruse.

If they have worked with other clients in your industry, this is a great indication that they will understand the trends, needs and challenges you face. However, it’s important to note if all their client’s websites look similar – you want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in.

Read up on case studies

Going a step further, many companies showcase case studies of their work for potential clients. While there may be an element of bias, they are collated to demonstrate their expertise and capabilities.

Case studies should also detail the development process from brief to completion, so you can get a better idea of what to expect should you choose them. Of course, if case studies aren’t readily available, it doesn’t mean the company isn’t worth their salt. But, they do illustrate when a company is proud of their work.

Think about support

Web development often doesn’t end when the site goes live – in fact, that’s when most changes come to the forefront. You may miss a feature that didn’t make the final cut or there’s an element you’d like to add after seeing the live version.

The level of support you need will vary depending on experience, but the majority of changes are likely to go through your web development company, so it’s important to choose one you can rely on. Establish what level of ongoing support is on offer, as well as turnaround time if you can.

Consider other services

Most agencies offer more services than web development. If you need more than just a website designed, it can be useful to find a company that can do it all for you. These can range from digital marketing services to user experience design and mobile app development.

Not only is it convenient to keep everything with the same agency, it ensures a cohesive approach and should improve turnaround time and communication within the project if all the teams are under the same roof.

Assess your compatibility

Not only is it important to find good web developers, it’s wise to pick a company you get on with too. You’re essentially entering into a partnership with them, which may be long-term, so building a strong relationship will make life easier for everyone.

Don’t be afraid to play the field, either. You’re not tied into anything at this point, so make a shortlist of companies and get to know them, including the people who will be working on your project. Do their values and culture align with your own? Do they share the same vision and beliefs? Finding a company that is an extension of your own is a great way to ensure you’ll be happy with their work.

Total up the costs

Finally, it’s time to factor in all the costs. Each agency will have a different way of billing, whether that be a fixed or hourly rate, and it’s crucial to establish how they charge their clients before signing on the dotted line. Some companies even operate a tiered pricing approach, depending on the skill and experience of the person doing the work.

You’ll also need to think about ongoing costs, as well as hosting and other services, if you are going down that route. While it may be tempting to go for the most cost-effective approach, a good web development company is always worth paying for.

By following these eight steps, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right web development company for you. Remember to have a good idea of what you want in mind, do your research and consider whether you want more services from the same organisation. It’ll also help to choose a partner you’re happy to work with long-term, as web development is a continuous process that is always changing.

Not only can the right company help you keep up, but stay ahead of the game entirely. Check out our award-winning web development services at Storm and get in touch to discuss how our experienced team can support your next project.