How to choose the right website development firm

Choosing the best company to design your website can be tricky. How do you know you're picking the best partner for your website development project? Start by looking at three key website development variables to make the best decision:

Quality: Quality of design and quality of the programming behind the scenes are important things to consider. If you are in an industry where it's important to look cutting edge or use the latest in technology, quality of design and development are going to be your top priority.

Speed: How fast do you need the project finished? The shorter your time frame, the more costly your project is likely to be. If you can afford to let the developer pick the schedule that is most cost efficient, that's great. If not, be prepared to pay a higher price.

Cost: While the first two factors certainly influence this final consideration, there's no getting around the budget issue when it comes time to select a web development firm. If you want the highest quality and fastest development time, it's going to cost more money. If a tight budget is the determining factor for your project, you will need to make some decisions about the quality and speed.



In a perfect world you'd want the highest quality website in the shortest amount of time and for the least amount of money. The world isn't perfect though and you can rarely get all three of those things to line up that way. Once you layout your criteria for those variables you need to prioritize them. All three are critical components of the project and if you have put in some thought ahead of time, they will guide you to a solid finished result.



Once you've prioritized what you need from your website project, 

how do you pick the right web design company?


Five tips for selecting the right website development firm.

Note we didn't say the "best website development firm" because that means different things to different people. What's important is that you pick the right website design group for your project.

1. Prepare ahead of time: You'll want to interview web design companies to find out how they do their work and how they can help you. Spend some time looking at their websites and reviewing the project portfolio. When it comes time for the meeting, take a few steps to make it the most productive:
  • know your budget (If you are not sure how much to allocate for online marketing? Check out our article: How much will a good website cost?),
  • look at other sites both in your industry and outside of it to find some favorites and elements that you'd like to see on your site, and
  • outline your goals and priorities for the website. 
These facts won’t just help you have a more successful project, they’ll help you find the best developer to meet your needs.

Photo credit: RambergMediaImages, CC 2.0
2. Agency vs small business vs freelancer. All are qualified, which one is the best match for your needs? For those on a tight budget, a freelancer will likely be the best option. Sometimes freelancers are a little less experienced or have fewer resources on which to draw for a project but they are also more flexible, sometimes bring a fresh perspective and are almost always cheaper.

What about web design firms like TBH Creative? Small businesses are going to be more specialized in the work they do. They often bring a creative, carefully considered approach to a project because they have to be smart with their resources in order to be successful. A small design firm may not be as quick or flashy as an agency but their quality is definitely comparable.

At the top end of the budget spectrum you have an advertising or full marketing agency. They are often quirky, exciting, creative... and expensive. Many agencies will present themselves as having all services under the same roof - and some of them do - but be aware, some of them also partner with smaller design firms for the web portion of the project. Ultimately, if you need help with the big marketing picture and your website project is just one piece of a larger brand initiative, an agency is likely the right fit for you.

All levels of web design groups are viable choices - the question you have to ask is which is the best fit for your needs and your budget? (Remember those three key variables at the beginning? Now is when they help guide your research.)

3. Look at the big picture: What do you need for your website project? Is it a redesign? Brand-new site? Do you need applications developed? Do you need help with content? Don't just go after a design group that gives you the best design - make sure they have the resources to complete your full project and work well together.

4. Go beyond the launch: You're probably pretty focused on getting your new website created. You might even have a launch target in mind and that feels like the finish line. However, when you're looking for the best web development company you need to think about what happens after launch. How will your site be updated? Are there plans to use web analytics to review and continually improve your site? A good web design company should be your partner both during and after the initial project. The best web design company for you is one that outlines next steps and helps you take them.




5. The value of experience: No matter which type of website development partner you choose, you want to choose one that has experience. Experience in your industry is nice but experience working on a variety of projects is key.
  • Have they worked on a web project with similar features as yours?
  • Have they worked on projects with the same level of complexity?
  • If you are already tied to a developer or content writer, what type of experience does the web design group have working with others? 

More articles on making the best decision when looking for a website developer:


We'd like to think that TBH Creative is the best website development firm for your project. We have over 10 years of experience and have built a strong reputation for building creative, results-driven websites. Many of our initial projects have turned into long term clients because we help them stay on top of trends, monitor website performance and plan for the future. Learn more about our guiding principles.

TBH Creative is an Indianapolis-based website development group. Our dedicated team specializes in strategic planning, inspired website design and strong applications. If you go through the thought exercises outlined above and find the answer is TBH Creative - we'd love to talk to you and learn more about your project.
Barb

About the author | Barb Ruess

Barb was a project manager and content editor at TBH Creative from 2006-2017. She used her skills to manage development projects, organize websites, and create and edit content. She blogged about content writing, search engine optimization, and offer tips for a successful website project.

View more posts by Barb

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