With website development changing so rapidly and with so many web development agencies in Sydney (and more overseas), how do you know what characteristics to base your decision on? Building a successful website is an investment and with wildly varying prices, how do you know you’re getting good value for money?
The wrong choice may result in a website that does not achieve your goals and budget, with the outcome being a terrible experience for you and your customers. Web development is more than just design, it’s a technical area and put simply, you don’t know what you don’t know and that can make it difficult to ask the right questions.
To help you navigate the unknown, we’ve put together this checklist of what you should consider before choosing a web development company.
1. Aesthetic, Design & User Experience
The first place to begin your research is the agencies own website as this will reflect the quality of their work. Is it easy to navigate, can you find what you are looking for? Do the pages load quickly and is the design attractive? Have they published case studies and testimonials?
The CMS or back-end of a website is an important consideration. Once the project is complete, do you want the ability to manage the content or will you pay for their services when you want to add or modify content?
Is everything that you requested covered in the proposal? Tick these off one by one to be sure and check any notes so that you are not surprised with another bill down the track. The project will also involve graphic design work, who will own the rights over this work?
It’s important to develop a website around the needs of you target audience. This can only be done effectively by mapping each type of visitor, what their purpose and goals are. A good web development agency will insist on this type of information and will help you formulate goals to achieve the desired outcome for each visitor type.
An attractive website isn’t enough to keep a visitor on your website, if it’s clunky to navigate and the pages load slowly, visitors will quickly leave. The agency should specify the coding aspect for optimised performance, as well as design.
It’s common for agencies to outsource parts of a project to control costs, but you should check what parts are outsourced and where to. Is it local or overseas? Quality of appearance and functionality can be compromised when outsourcing.
Web development is a long-term project so you want to ensure you partner with an agency that is experienced in terms of quantity, quality and size of projects. If they have been around for a long time this also indicates sound business management, which is a good sign for a long-term relationship.
There are many services involved in building a successful website, ranging from graphic design, to SEO, copywriting, to domain and hosting. An web development agency that is competent in multiple areas can streamline a project and manage it holistically for a better outcome.
9. Personality & Trust
Does the agency have a good reputation? Have they provided references that you can contact yourself for an honest review? Also, you will work very closely with the project manager assigned to the project. Do they seem professional and trustworthy? A strong relationship will help facilitate the project.
Invariably, things will go wrong from time to time. Have you agreed on an on-going support and maintenance contract? Have response times been specified, this is especially important if revenue will be lost due to a problem.
Check the details of the proposal carefully, does it include everything you have discussed and additional services such as graphic design and stock photography. How will billing function and what happens if the project will cost more than quoted?
Have they proposed a sound, workable project management methodology with specific milestones? Is there an estimate timeframe to completion?
If you’re looking for a web development agency, the Envision team has been creating stunning and functional websites for over 10 years. Contact us to find out how we can help transform your business and reach your goals.