7 Jan 2010

How to choose a web development agency

I recently got back in touch with a long lost friend who happens to be doing an MBA in Scotland. Chatting over Skype, we discussed our research and he was quite surprised to learn that my research was on blogging. Apparently, he's quite interested in setting up his own website and we talked about web designer Edinburgh. There are a few companies there but he was unsure what he should look for when choosing a web development agency.

This gave me the idea for this post. Some points to consider while choosing a company to design your website.

1. Track Record of the agency
See their previous projects and designs. A good agency will list a few examples on their site. Nothing worse than a web development company that goes bankrupt and suddenly you find your website has disappeared overnight.

2. Rates
I have also learnt from experience that costly doesn't necessarily mean good designs. Check the various packages.

Many web designers want to show off their skills (and also increase their rates) by filling up the pages with amazing graphics and fantastic Flash animations. Keep in mind that they design using the latest computers (usually Macs) with massive screens and enhanced graphics. I always have to remind people that not everybody has superfast broadband connections or even the latest fastest machines.

3. Flexibility
The Company should be willing to listen to your ideas and concepts. Don’t let them push their ready-made templates unless of course you are on a tight budget. I strongly believe that each website should be customised.

4. SEO
You might have the best looking website but that doesn’t mean that you will have visitors flooding your site. Make sure the company is able to implement some basic SEO techniques for your site and help get your site listed on major search engines. For example, if you are a web development company based in Edinburgh, your site should be at least in the first page of Google  for the keywords “web design Edinburgh”.

5. Extra features
See whether they can help with ability to accept payments (in case you are selling something on the site) – not just using credit cards but also using other payment options, especially Paypal. And also look at the possibility of integrating with a blog to make the site more interactive.

Advanced features include enhancing each user's experience by customizing Web pages to individual customers preferences. This is possible by using interactive web sites requiring customers to log in resulting in personalised web pages once they log in.

These are a few points to consider before choosing a web development company.

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