If you’re like most business owners, you understand that a beautiful, easy-to-use business website is critical to ongoing sales, financial success and customer satisfaction. Now that we all spend more time working and playing online, nearly half of prospective clients will explore a company’s website before even thinking about making a purchase. If you have a physical bricks-and-mortar store, a whopping 76% of customers check out your online presence before visiting in person.
Despite these impressive figures, nearly a third of small businesses don’t have a website. And many of those that did invest in a site lose customers because their page is poorly designed, with slow loading speeds, awkward layouts, confusing navigation, or poor-quality images and text. If your business website isn’t up to snuff, studies show that your visitors will simply take off for a smoother, more satisfying user experience.
Solution? Work with the best of the best in web design and development. It’s simple: if you hire talented experts, you’re setting your business up for success with a high-quality site you can count on. Unless you know your way around the tech space, however, selecting a web design and development agency can be daunting. Not to worry! Our team of experts are here to share insider tips for hiring a web design and development team to help you narrow down your choices so that you’re guaranteed a superior product, every time.
The Best Web Design and Development Team Has Experts
When shopping around for an agency, the biggest priority is whether they have the know-how to deliver everything you’re looking for. An A-team of techies will offer guidance, sound advice, and original solutions that you may not have thought of.
Here’s how to tell whether you’re working with the real deal:
Explore their portfolio
If the agency’s portfolio is not on their website (red flag!), ask them for a list of previous projects. As you go through their work, keep an eye out for the following:
- Does this team have a solid amount of expertise? The right agency will have seasoned design and development masters who have been around the block a few times and know exactly what it takes to make a high-quality website that people love to use.
- Do their build projects jive with the look and feel you’re going for? If most of their work leans conservative and understated while you want something that screams contemporary, maybe it’s not the best fit.
- Do you like their work? Simple as this sounds, whether you genuinely enjoy their work is a huge tipoff. Even if everything looks good on paper, if you’re not feeling the team’s projects, there’s a good chance you won’t appreciate what they create for you, either.
Scrutinize the websites they built
While examining the prospective team’s portfolio is important, there’s no substitute for visiting a few of the websites they created for their clients. After all, it’s tempting to include only the best projects in a web design and development portfolio. Take the time to check out the projects the agency doesn’t showcase on its website, and ask yourself these questions:
- Are the calls to action bold and clear?
- Are the colors, fonts, and typography complementary and consistent with the business brand?
- Is the brand presence strong and engaging across all pages?
- Is the site easy to navigate, with an intelligent, logical layout and hierarchy?
- Does it load quickly?
- Are the images interesting, fresh, and consistent with the brand?
- Does the website look great on all devices and browsers?
- Is it mobile friendly?
- Does it look like all the other sites they’ve built? Consistency is one thing. Lack of creativity is another.
Consider the team’s strengths
A solid group of developers is great. A solid group of designers is also great. A successful website, however, calls for a web design and development agency that has both master developers and inspired designers who know how to work together seamlessly. A tight-knit team is key. The last thing you want is a gorgeous design that you love which goes nowhere because, once it gets to the development stage, it turns out to be totally impractical.
These snags can be easily avoided when there’s collaborative communication between team members with diverse skills because designers will have an understanding of how their ideas affect coding, and vice versa.
The Best Web Design and Development Team Will Be the Right Fit
You know how, sometimes, things just feel right? That sense in your gut that you’re making the best decision for your business is dependent on a lot of different factors all lining up with your goals and values. Here’s how to suss out whether a web design and development agency will be the right fit for your business needs:
Start with their site
This might sound like a no-brainer, but our advice is to look carefully at the website of your prospective web design and development team. Is it well-designed? Is the tone reliable and professional? Grab your smartphone or other mobile device and pull up the site—does everything still look well-placed and balanced?
Consider their culture
Culture can be a fuzzy concept, but if your business culture clashes with that of your chosen web design and development team, beware. For instance, if they have a casual approach to work, communicating with high-fives and holding meetings in hoodies, while the mood in your office calls for suits and hushed voices, you risk miscommunication about what a quality business site should look like. What strikes them as friendly might strike your clients as unprofessional.
On the other hand, if you want to connect your brand with hip Gen-Zers who value uniqueness, then it’s smart to pass on the huge company that’s been around for ages, churning out reliable (but predictable) websites.
Read their testimonials and case studies
If you’re happy with their site, projects, and culture, take some time to consider what their previous clients had to say. Read their reviews, ask for references, and pay attention to the case studies on the agency’s site.
Think about the level of support you will need
After your website is live, do you have the tech-savvy to make updates or post new images? This is especially important if you have an e-commerce website, where you’ll frequently switch out and update products. If you don’t want to worry about site maintenance, then make sure your chosen team offers ongoing support services to help you maintain your site long after it’s been launched.
Make sure they’re great to work with
No matter how many impressive accomplishments an agency can show, if their team is challenging to work with, then you’ll have an uphill battle. Your chosen web design and development team will almost become an extension of your own business, so take the time to make sure you’ll be working with folks who are both talented and good to work with, and who will be patient and willing to explain the ropes to you so that you’re always in the loop.
The Best Web Design and Development Team Has Stellar Communication Skills
If you’ve ever sent a business-related email and waited days for a two-word reply, you know what we’re talking about when we say that timely, effective communication makes a world of difference to business success. A top-notch design and development company treats customers like they’re deeply valued—because they are.
Here are the communication tendencies to look for:
- They listen. You have an idea, a goal, or a principle that you want reflected in your site, and the best development and design team will listen closely to what you’re trying to get across. It will be obvious that they’re paying careful attention to what you’re saying because they want to get it right. If a development team dismisses or regularly misunderstands your objectives, look elsewhere.
- They’re transparent. If you can’t fully trust your chosen agency to be open and honest with you, move on. Period. When you’re working with a reliable team, you won’t have to worry about random fees, unrealistic promises, or obscure processes. Everything is laid out on the table from the get-go.
- They’re enthusiastic. From the first meeting, the best web design and development team will be excited about your website plans and the prospect of working with you. If they act disengaged or abrupt, take a hard pass.
- They understand your business needs. Businesses are not all created equal, and you shouldn’t settle for an agency that doesn’t get your unique aims and needs. If they have a cookie-cutter approach to their clients, it’s safe to assume you’re just a number.
- They respect your budget and timeline. An expert team won’t make you feel pressured to spend more than you planned to, will always be realistic about budgets, and they’ll deliver on their promises, never setting a deadline they can’t meet.
- They’re responsive. When you call your web design and development team, a human calls you back. When you send an email, they reply promptly and warmly. If there’s a chatbox on their page, the info it provides is useful. The right team will always take the time to answer your questions in ways that are both helpful and easy to follow because they understand that not everyone is familiar with tech jargon.
Ready to Talk Web Design and Development? Let Us Help
If you’re considering building or improving your business website, you already know how important it is to have a well-designed site that your customers love to use. Buddy Web Design and Development has worked with dozens of businesses and brands across multiple industries, delivering smart, aesthetically appealing websites every time. We believe in the quality of our work, and we tackle each unique project with enthusiasm and skill. If you’re ready to discuss your business website goals, please explore our work or fill out our form here.