How to choose a web development agency
Leo Davie / July 29, 2015
Building a website is a massive undertaking and when said site is ecommerce, the workload is massively increased and you need to make sure any web development agency that you choose to assist you in this endeavour has the requisite skill sets to accomplish your shared goals.
But what should you be looking for when choosing a web development agency? We take a look at the key considerations:
1. Examine their work
You wouldn't make any other important investments (and web development is an investment) in your life without making sure you've done your research into the company who you're going to be working with and this is why one of the chief considerations you should think about when picking a web development agency is to look at their portfolio of work and how it tallies with what you yourself are looking to achieve.
Here at GPMD for example, we've worked on many projects that showcase our capabilities with both Silverstripe and Magento such as the Fenwick, The Watch Gallery and Cowshed websites and if your web development project is a big one, you need to make sure the team you choose to create it have the credentials to complete it.
2. Do They Know Their Stuff
There is a lot of work that goes into the physical creation of a website and when choosing which one to work with you should always aim to ensure that they have the qualifications that set them apart from their competitors such as being a Silverstripe partner (if that's the platform you're opting for) or having Magento certified developers on their staff because it is these elements that will help give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing their team is at the top of their game.
3. Responsive and Mobile
Looking at the web on your mobile device is likely second nature for most people today but, perhaps surprisingly, not all web development agencies will be au fait with the importance of responsive design and the prevalence of making sure your website is optimised for mobile device.
When going through the decision process of choosing a web development agency, you should quiz them on their knowledge of responsive web design and its best practices and explore their portfolio of recent work to make sure they practice what they preach and the sites they designed and built do, in fact, resize depending on the device on which they are being view.
Having mobile optimised websites is becoming ever more important in the eyes of Google and if you choose a web development agency that doesn't follow best practice in this regard, you'll be starting at a disadvantage right from the get go.
4. How Big an Agency are they?
When choosing a web development agencies, a lot of people often have the mindset of "I'll just choose the biggest one, they must be the best...." but this isn't how you should go about picking the right one for you. It's just not as simple as that and is thoroughly dependent on your unique project.
Sure, a huge agency will have vast pools of workers at their disposal to work on a project but they might not necessarily have the hands on, always available approach that you need and want throughout the build of your website. It's all about striking the right balance between the size of the team, what sort of engagement you want and the type of website build you're undertaking.
5. How much do they cost?
It is clear that the cost of a website build is going to be one of the biggest factors on whether you choose that agency. The best thing to do is to get a number of quotes from different agencies but get them to go into detail as to what you're actually getting for the amount.
It can be tempting, particularly if you're just starting out and this is your first website build, to go with the lower quotes but this is pretty short-sighted and, chances are, you'll end up paying more than the other quotes in ongoing support and associated fees when the site doesn't work as you were hoping.
Building a website isn't cheap and takes a lot of man hours so always be wary of an agency that can promise you the earth for a fee considerably less than what other agencies are quoting you.