When you’re looking for a web development agency, you’re looking for a long-term partner who will be responsible for presenting your business to the world. Because of this, it’s very important to be careful about who you choose.
Data from Northumbria and Sheffield Universities indicate that up to 94% of the first impressions website visitors have are design-related. And design is only scratching the surface—other critical factors, such as load time, also come into play.
When you’re ready to find a web design agency for your business, follow these steps to make sure you choose the best agency for your business.
1. Run a Google Search
To begin discovering agencies, try running a few Google searches. This isn’t just because Google is the simplest and most obvious way to find things—it’s because a good web development agency should have a good grasp of search engine optimization, or SEO. Those that do will appear close to the top of relevant Google search results. In other words, if they’re good at their job, they’ll probably be discoverable in search.
Of course, there are bound to be exceptions to this rule. Just because a website design agency doesn’t show up on page one doesn’t always mean they’re not good. But it’s a good idea to check, even if you’re pretty sure you’ve settled on one to work with already.
2. Find Out About Load Time
After ease of use, load times are the most critical factor in how users feel about a particular website.
If a webpage takes a reasonable 2.4 seconds to load, there will probably be a bounce rate of 12.8% (in other words, just over 12% of visitors will leave the site). However, by increasing load time to 3.3 seconds—less than one second longer—there will probably be a shocking 20% bounce rate.
If you can, visit websites this agency has developed, and see how long they take to load. (Obviously, if you don’t have high-speed internet, you may not get an accurate measurement, so take that into account.) You can also get in touch with the agency and ask what their load times are.
3. Learn About Available Features
Look around the web development agency’s website for a page showcasing their offered features. These will probably include custom headers, images, banners, maps, and more.
Find out how they offer these features—do they all come in a single one-size-fits-all package? Or is their work more client-focused, with packages created around the exact features your business needs, and no more?
Web development agencies that offer more custom-tailored services tend to be more expensive, but the cost can easily be worth it in the long run.
4. Check for Responsive Design
Responsive (or mobile-friendly) design is an essential part of modern web design. Google has said that over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product through a search conducted from their phone. So it’s very important that the agency you choose can develop websites that look just as good on mobile devices as they do on desktop screens.
5. Get in Touch
Finally, a good agency should be easy to get in touch with. You should be able to talk to a sales rep easily. Besides learning about their features and pricing directly from another person, this will be your first chance to get a feel for how they treat their customers.
If there are long hold times and the representatives are rude or clueless, that’s a bad sign—if their sales department is bad, just imagine what their customer service must be like.
Finding an expert web development agency doesn’t have to be stressful, or even especially challenging. Just follow the steps on this list, and you’ll be ready to smash your business’s goals.