There are numerous web development agencies around the globe. Search for ‘Web Development Company’ on Google and you’ll find no less than 3 billion search results. And then there are countless freelance web developers working from every country you can think of.
Since there are so many choices, choosing the one that’s right for your business or project can be pretty challenging. In fact, the overwhelming number of choices itself makes the decision difficult, especially when each web developer claims to be the best.
The scariest part is if you end up hiring the wrong web development agency, you’ll get a substandard product. It’s like throwing money down the drain.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t hire a reliable web development agency at all. By taking the right approach, you should be able to meet the developers you’ve been looking for your entire life! It can be as simple as asking some relevant questions.
In this guide, you’ll learn what questions to ask before hiring a web development company.
1.) What Is Your Web Development Process and How Long Is It?
The web design process plays a critical role in the development of any website. Every web development agency has its own internal process that leads its projects and is different from other agencies.
Inquiring about how the process works give you a clear idea about the aptitude of the company and how their work will impact you and your plans such as your business. The best web development agency will have a pre-defined process that it will be proud to share with potential clients.
In addition, understanding the timeline for the process is equally important. Before anything else, it’s important to understand that web development is not something that should be rushed and excellent web development takes time. Although you’ll keep updating it, the platform you initially get will likely be used forever and must be good enough to attract web traffic and foster engagement. Thus, it’s worth spending time developing the best product.
Yet, you must still have some idea of how long the web development process is at the company you’re planning to hire. Each company has different timelines. Depending on your specific project requirements, some agencies will be able to complete the process in a month, while others can take several months and even a year. While no web development company will be able to give you the exact completion date, their answer will give you a fair idea about when to expect a complete website design.
Asking about the process and timeline becomes even more important if you want your website designed as soon as possible. But again, keep in mind that an amazing website takes time to create.
2.) What Other Services Do You Offer?
The top web development agencies around the world offer numerous services along with or apart from web development. For example, the hosting and maintenance service normally comes with a web design package. Other services you might be looking for when considering web development include search engine optimization (SEO), web content writing, and more. Hence, this is among the most important questions to ask before hiring a web development company.
However, don’t ever assume that the companies you’ve shortlisted will all offer all these services. If you’ve found a web development agency on the internet, it may have an incredible-looking site but it might be a small company that isn’t prepared to tackle everything you need.
Therefore, even if you see a list of services on their website, be sure to double-check what they have to offer. This way, you’ll be more likely to obtain the desired results from their work.
3.) Do You Specialize in a Particular Industry?
Some web development agencies serve clients from a myriad of industries, while others only cater to specific industries. The benefit of working with a company that serves a single industry is that they’ll know exactly what you need and offer some amazing suggestions and solutions for your website.
A web development company that specializes in your particular industry must be serving businesses similar to yours for years and would be well aware of the latest trends and best practices. More importantly, they might have an in-depth understanding of your target audience and be familiar with what works for them. Hence, such a company should be able to develop a site precisely tailored to your business needs and be able to complete the project much faster than the rest.
However, such a company may also be inclined to stick to the established web design practices in that industry. It may not come up with something unique. If you’re looking for a web design that will stand out from the rest, you better go for companies that cater to more than one industry.
Web development agencies that specialize in multiple industries often have an ocean of ideas related to web designs. They’re more updated with the most innovative web development trends around the world. They’ll combine everything they’ve learned by designing websites for different types of businesses to set up a unique site for your business. This might actually help you outplay the competition. Plus, a great web design idea that works for a particular industry may also prove lucrative in another sector.
4.) Do You Have a Portfolio and Reviews From Past Customers?
This is one of the most critical questions to ask before hiring a web development company. The remote nature of most web development jobs has given amateur developers the opportunity to masquerade as reputable web development agencies. Unfortunately, even we have been the victim of unscrupulous amateurs who have stolen images from our own portfolio and tried to pass the work off as their own!
As mentioned earlier, each web development company or even an individual freelance web developer will boast of being the best and claim they possess years of experience creating dozens of websites or more. You must verify such claims by asking for a portfolio of their past work. Be sure to verify that the work they did is actually their own and not someone else’s.
Exploring their past work will not only clarify if they are telling the truth but also present a clear picture of what they’re capable of designing. You’ll know what to expect and whether the agency can develop something you want.
Also, don’t forget to ask for feedback they received from past customers and any references they can show. If you already know some of their past customers, perhaps from their social media profile, you can connect with them directly and inquire about their experience with the company. Try to obtain feedback from those within your industry.
Don’t just rely on the testimonials they give you or have put on their own website, which can often be made-up. You can obtain customer reviews about a web development agency from reliable and verifiable third-party platforms or business listings such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. These tend to be more authentic as they’re based on unbiased customer reviews.
5.) Who Has Content Ownership?
A website needs content on all its pages. Content includes text, images, infographics, videos, and more. If the web development company expresses that it will take care of everything in website design, the package might include web content, too. The agency might have its own copywriters who will develop web content for your website.
If that happens to be the case, don’t forget to ask whether you own the content or the web development company. If it’s owned by that company, ask whether it will be yours when you walk away with the final website. The agency might even be charging separately for the web content, so be sure to ask how the pricing works.
6.) Are You Going to Develop a Fully Custom Site or Customize a Theme?
If you have budget limitations and plan to proceed with a pre-built theme, that’s fine. But if you’re expecting and paying for a fully custom site built from scratch, you must ask this question. In the case of a fully customized site, the entire website will be ‘hand-coded’ by a qualified developer, and every pixel of the site’s layout and design will be performed by the company you’re planning to hire.
7.) How Will You Optimize the Website for Search Engines?
Most new website owners believe that search engine optimization (SEO) begins later as it primarily depends on web content. Plus, they think that if their web development agency is not handling content, they don’t have a role to play in SEO. That’s not true. Keep in mind that SEO starts with the web designing process.
For example, page-load speed is a critical ranking factor that depends on web design. To ensure that a website ranks high on Google and other search engines, a web developer will need to focus on developing a responsive web design so that the webpages load quickly when users visit them.
Similarly, the user experience of your site can make a huge difference to your site’s SEO performance, and that again depends on web design. When developing your site, your web development agency must ensure that the site is easy to navigate and find information on.
In fact, every aspect of your site, from sliders to widget placement and graphics, should be planned with your target audience in mind. Everything that makes site visitors comfortable on your site forms part of SEO. That’s why you must inquire about how your web design agency plans to optimize your site for search engines.
Furthermore, if your web development agency will develop web content, too, this question becomes more important than ever. This is because a massive part of SEO depends on web content, which shouldn’t just be relevant to your target audience but also offer considerable value to users. The website design, combined with web content, can literally make or break your site’s ability to rank well and in turn generate leads and conversions.
8.) Will the Website Be Fully Editable?
Many inexperienced business owners forget to ask this crucial question. No matter how amazing the final website is, you’ll need to make updates to it from time to time. Depending on your technical expertise, there’ll be things you would be able to edit without any coding skills, such as existing content.
However, if you lack programming expertise and want to make significant changes, you may need to connect with the web development agency again or hire an experienced in-house web developer.
Hence, it’s important to ask upfront what aspects you’ll be able to edit upon completion and the cost of making additional edits afterward. A great web development company will provide you with the tools to update content, add articles and new pages, and make minor tweaks. The greater flexibility you have, the better.
Many companies offer ongoing support, which comes in various forms. This aspect should never be left unconsidered and it’s always a good idea to find out what level of support you’ll get, what the turnaround time for revisions will be, and which staff members will be handling this work.
To sum up everything we discussed, a website forms the foundation of a firm’s online presence. It represents the business and makes the first impression on visitors. Thus, you can’t just rely on any person or agency to build a business website for you. To get the best value for money and the exact design you have in mind, it’s important to choose the right web development agency.
Now that you know what questions to ask before hiring a web development company, it’s time to begin your search. You can also get in touch with Nora Kramer Designs. We’ll exceed your expectations on all the metrics you have in mind. For a visually stunning and conversion-oriented web design, contact us today.