Today technology drives the world and having an excellent website is a way for a business to become eye-catching, deliver a stronger marketing message and gain loyal customers at a lower price. A well-built site will clearly state what products and/or services you offer. But how to find a software development company that will suit your needs? You can make a list of potential candidates, but choosing the best one for your business may be a challenge.
The web development business is growing fast since online presence is a must for virtually any company today. Each web development company will offer a different scope of services, based on their own business processes, and providing certain quality at different prices.
If you are planning to grow your business online, but you don’t know where to begin, continue reading this post. We will uncover how you can avoid making a mistake when you are selecting the service provider and what questions you should ask during the interview.
Software development includes a wide range of practices and services and solves all kinds of business and technology needs. It can be design development, website update and upgrade, blockchain development or IoT. Web design services comprise a narrower scope of services and deal with the front-end, i.e. visual aesthetic of a website. Web development does both front-end and back-end, combining aesthetic and functionality.
Based on business goals, there are three types of websites you could choose from, depending on your goals and budget. They are:
1. Template-based website. Many businesses use these websites because their development is quick and cheap. You may have heard about WordPress which offers a variety of customizable templates. There are some drawbacks with template-based websites. Despite the ability to customize them and make relatively unique-looking, a template is still a template. Therefore, all the sites that use the same template will look similar.
2. Custom-built website. Custom web development service is about creating a one of a kind website with advanced functionality. All its elements are created with your business in mind. A custom-built site will often save time in the future because it’s easier to upgrade in alignment with your business goals. It might take more time initially to create the site, but your site will likely be more focused on your exact business needs.
3. ECommerce website. This site can be template-based or custom-built. Either way, they are online shops equipped with a catalogue, shopping cart, and payment gateways. You can use it even if you have only one product to sell. Their goal is to promote a visitor to purchase from you. These websites use SSL for secure transfer of a client’s personal data. The key features of an eCommerce website are multiple payment options, smart product search, and fast performance.
These websites go through a set of development stages. What’s important to know is that not every web development company can manage all stages. While searching, you may encounter companies that provide only back-end or front-end services. It may seem strange to build one website with the help of several companies. But there are also companies that do full-cycle web development. These companies have several departments other than development and design. They also have project management and QA testing departments. This option is the most convenient, but more expensive, since it will involve different experts during the development process.
Once you figure out what type of website your business needs, your terms and budget, you will decide what service provider is the best choice for your business.
Consider the following tips to choose a web development company and the issues that may arise by overlooking crucial points.
1. Decide what features your website should have. You should first determine how many pages you want your website to have (other than the home or contact page) and its key features.
N.B. A template-based website may have limitations in adding some features. Too many features may make your website user-unfriendly and visitors will have to wait longer for it to load (which can irritate and, therefore, create a negative experience). However, no matter what type of site you build, try to consider your own web experience and what features similar to yours were unnecessary and what features a website didn’t have.
2. Visit the company’s website. Check their digital presence, including their official website (look at the mobile version too), social media profiles and read content on their blog.
N.B. If they promise cutting-edge and new solutions but do not use any of those on their site, it raises a question about the company’s expertise.
3. Check their portfolio. If they don’t have one, ask them to do a test for you. Also, ask how many similar sites in the same niche as yours they have launched successfully. Visit those sites and check how smoothly they work (namely, pay attention to UI and UX).
N.B. A lack of real examples or poor performance of websites from the portfolio reduces trust and reliability.
4. Check what their clients say about their work on websites such as Clutch, which gather reviews about businesses from around the world. Pay attention to reviews of projects similar to yours. You may also check their overall rating and if they have any awards.
N.B. Try contacting one of their previous clients and ask about their experience with the company.
5. Make sure they are responsive. Regardless of whether it is a small company without a sales department or a bigger one, contact them to see how they answer to you, how fast and polite they are and how much interest they have in your business.
N.B. Allow them time to answer your questions if it is email correspondence. If they keep you waiting or try to hard sell from the start, be cautious.
A website connects your business with your target audience and future clients. Top software developers know that credibility and trust are important, and you are most likely forming long-term relationships with the company.
At this point, you may still have some unanswered questions. Let’s look at five questions that will help you understand the workflow of any web development company.
If you already have a website, but you want it to be polished or move to a new one, ask if they will review, analyze and evaluate your current site’s strengths and weaknesses and take this into consideration before starting the design and development process.
Our tips to choose a web development company wouldn’t be complete without discussing your project budget. The following factors typically affect the development cost:
A low development cost should not be the primary factor in deciding how to choose a web design company. You might find prices that are very low, but the results will disappoint you.
You can better determine the actual price of your project once you contact a web development company and they provide an estimate plan. Consider the following example with companies A, B, and C. Company A isn’t a company specializing in web development, but a freelancer which can build a simple website, usually template-based with a low level of customization and without the experience of working on complex projects. This doesn’t mean ‘Company A’ can’t make a design that will work. The decision is more about your business needs and whether a simple design is adequate.
Unlike A, Company B has more experience with customization. Their services will cost more and the development will take more time. While they may not offer all the services of a larger company, their design may be closer aligned with your goals.
However, if you need a unique website with a special set of features and website architecture, it’s probably a job for Company C. They are the most expensive, but also the most experience. Their web development takes longer, but the customization they provide is most likely to meet your needs.