Your website is the doorway to your brand. It’s how you represent yourself to current clients and future prospects. It can be both an engaging brochure and a repository of incredible information. Websites provide resources and thought leadership, engage with customers, detail products and services, and prove the value of your organization.
Unless you’re my great Aunt Fanny, you likely use the Internet to search for products and services. It turns out, other people do too. Therefore, it’s imperative that you create a strong, intuitive online presence to engage and convert when people search for the products you offer.
If you want to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, you need to partner with an experienced web development company. Website design and development are critically important, so engaging with an experienced website development partner is critical to a successful website. But how do you find a web development firm? To start, it’s important to understand what a web development company does.
What Does a Web Development Company Do?
If you are wondering how to find a good web development company, you need to understand what a web development company does. In short, a web development company handles everything needed for a successful website build. While there is a lot that goes into building a website, some agencies offer more than others. Therefore, you should think about what is important to you in a website launch and decide if you’ll utilize one comprehensive website development agency or a handful of resources to accomplish your goal. Below are some of the areas that a web development company can help with.
Helping to Structure Your Site
If you have a lot of information, you’ll want to make sure your site is structured appropriately and intuitively for your users. A web development company will be able to help you build an Information Architecture to organize your content and to structure your website in a way that best meets the needs of your users. This will also help give you an idea of the types of pages that will need to be built on your new website.
Designing and Building Your Website
This one is likely obvious, but a web development company will be able to build you a functional website. They will have the ability to take you through the process of discovery, wireframes, and designs, then turn those designs into a working website.
You might be thinking about using a free service to help you build a website. However, depending on the size of your organization and your needs, it is typically better to rely on an experienced web development company to help you. Do it yourself website builders are great for smaller projects, but they lack the scalability and customization needed for more advanced business functions. A well thought out, custom website will be easy for visitors to navigate, simple to update for your editors, and attractive to both users and search engines.
Providing Hosting and Maintenance
Just as you’d take your car to the shop for tune-ups, you’ll need to update your website from time to time as well. A web development company can take on the burden of hosting and maintenance so you don’t have to focus on security and bug updates, website downtime/uptime monitoring, and troubleshooting.
A web development company can help you choose the right options for hosting to ensure your site is running optimally and efficiently. They can also provide maintenance to identify broken links, flag security vulnerabilities, and address content issues that can be fixed before dragging down your search results rankings.
Handling SEO Optimization
A web development company can also assist in ensuring your site is built on a strong SEO foundation. SEO stands for search engine optimization which is the process of optimizing your website to be attractive to search engines. A strong SEO-focused website can help to elevate your search rankings for specific terms and phrases, and get your website in front of the right users.
How To Choose a Web Development Company
So, what factors are important to consider when choosing a web development company? If you are wondering where to start, here are a few key points to consider.
What Type of Website Do You Need?
Similar to other fields, many development companies specialize in a certain area. Choosing a web development company can be hard, so think about the type of website you need first. Do you need a website that can handle eCommerce transactions? Are you looking for a website that showcases case studies? Do you need a website that can display a robust resource center? Are there specific integrations you need to account for with your new site?
Think about what you need in a website first to help you determine what you’ll need in a future partner.
What Level of Support You Need?
When choosing a web development company, you’ll also need to think about the level of support you’ll need pre- and post-launch. Do you need a website development company that can simply put up the website? Or do you need a team to help you maintain the website after it is finished? Determining what you need will help to set you up for success throughout the life of the project.
Choosing the right web development company can be a challenge, but you need to think about your compatibility with a partner. If you and your web development company are not on the same page, you will have difficulty developing a website that meets your goals. Always sit down with the web development company ahead of time to make sure you are on the same page about the partnership, scope, and ways of working.
Thinking about these factors ahead of time will help you in your search to find the best web development company for your business needs.
What To Ask When Evaluating Potential Web Dev Partners
As you are looking for the best website development company for your business, you should have a list of questions ready. That way, you can learn more about your options. Asking the right questions can help you choose the right web development company. Here are some key questions you need to be asking when considering a web development partner:
How much do your services cost?
Of course you’ll be interested in how much the website is going to cost. However, many factors will play a role in how much you will pay. For example, here are a few questions you might ask of a future partner:
- Is it a fixed bid or a sliding scale?
- How much do you charge hourly?
- Does that hourly charge change based on the resource being utilized (design vs. web dev)?
- How will you bill us?
You should expect to pay an upfront fee for building the website as they will likely need an investment to get the project up and running.
You’ll also want to ask about how they bill for ongoing support. Here are a few questions you might ask:
- Is it a monthly retainer or strictly time and materials for ad hoc requests?
- Is there a required contract length?
- What are the support details?
- How much is the cost of ongoing hosting?
Make sure you’re asking your web development partner for a detailed breakdown of how much each service will cost.
Do you have any references I can talk to?
Anyone serious about wanting your business should have a list of references you can talk to. Reach out to a few references to see what their experience was like. If they all had a positive experience, you’ll likely have the same. That being said, do your own research. Make sure what the references are saying line up with what you’ve seen online through reviews and testimonials.
Do you have any work samples I can check out?
You should also ask for a few samples of previous web development projects. Take a look at the sample sites and see if you like the designs. Also see if those companies have a strong digital presence. Are the websites easy to find and navigate? If so, you’re on the right track.
How much experience does your development team have?
Be sure to ask about relevant experience as well. Does the team have a lot of experience working with software development or ecommerce websites? Can they develop a website with a strong mobile experience? You should also ask if the team has any credentials or certifications to back up their experience. It doesn’t hurt to ask about the background of the team working on your site as well.
What type of web hosting service do you use?
Be sure to ask about web hosting. You need to have a strong hosting service for your website so your traffic can scale with your website as it grows. Always ask questions about the hosting service, how much it costs, and how easy it is to change the subscription.
Why Is Web Development Important for Business?
Web development is important for your business because it helps generate more revenue. If you partner with a strong web development team, you can easily increase your online presence and drive stronger onsite user engagement. This helps get your website in front of your relevant audience and nurture them on their path to conversion.
Because your customers use the internet to find products and services they need, you need your website to get in front of those individuals. A few ways that web development can help you grow your business include:
- Building an intuitive website with a strong SEO framework can increase the number of prospects visiting and engaging with your brand.
- Targeting the right terms and phrases can help you generate the right type of traffic, which should drive up your conversion rate.
- A web development company can position your business as an authority in the field, helping you build a strong brand identity.
- A web development partner can keep your website updated with the latest UX best practices, making it as easy as possible for your visitors to find what you are looking for.
You can also work with a web development company to make decisions regarding other areas of your business. For instance, you might be interested in a content management system, or CMS, which can help you keep your information up to date. While you might be interested in one of the larger content management systems such as Magento, Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla; other CMSs offer many of the same benefits at less cost and more scalability. Umbraco is an example of one of the better, lesser-known systems available and is the development platform of choice for Marcel Digital. Some reasons why you might want to go with Umbraco include:
- There is no license fee to utilize Umbraco.
- It utilizes an intuitive editing interface to make updating your website a breeze.
- It has an incredibly responsive user interface that makes it easy to navigate.
- You can customize the features to meet your needs.
- It comes with a variety of plug-ins and tools that can help you with your digital marketing and SEO needs.
- It will scale with your website as it grows.
Regardless of the platform, make sure you find a good web development company that will set you up with a CMS that can satisfy your business needs.
Why Marcel Digital Is the Right Web Development Company for Your Business
While we certainly don’t claim to be the only great web developers out there, we’ve successfully built hundreds of websites and stand behind our work. Some of the top reasons we would make a great partner are:
- Transparency: We are open, honest, and transparent with everything we do. We can customize our services to meet your needs, and you never have to worry about paying for something you do not require.
- Scalability: We understand that your needs can change over time. That is why we can always scale our services as needed.
- Experience: We have an unparalleled level of experience in the field, and this is signified by credentials, certifications, and references we’d be happy to share with you.
- Comprehensive Service: We strive to take care of all of your needs. We can help you with digital marketing, project management, search engine optimization, and more.
There is certainly a lot to consider when choosing the right web development solution. If you are looking for an experienced partner to help you elevate your online presence and generate more traffic, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us to start a conversation.