Picking a web development company can be difficult. And whether you’re trying to promote a personal brand, sell your products, refresh your business’s look and feel, or really anything else, you need a well-designed website to attract visitors and achieve your goals.
But that means a lot of people who need websites really don’t know what to look for in terms of web development. Maybe you know what you like or don’t like, but you don’t know how to get there — or maybe you’re not online much at all, and you just want a web design company to handle everything! The hiring and development process can be difficult and confusing, and that’s why we’re here to help.
If you want a quality website that will give visitors a good first impression, keep them scrolling, and help you reach your goals, make sure any web development company you hire offers you these five must-haves:
1) Videos and other visually appealing content.
Keeping users on your site is all about catching their eye and keeping their attention. Good design and movement, especially when combined, are the best ways to do both of those things. Eyes are naturally drawn to movement, so there should be some sort of moving content on your site to attract users, whether it’s a video or something more subtle.
This is an easy feature to ask about when you’re in the process of hiring a web development company. But as well as asking about their web design services, and making sure they can include video and movement, we also recommend that you ask for examples of their past work. This will help you to see how effectively a web designer can integrate movement into their work, and also help you see what’s possible for you own site!
2) A responsive site.
You know the feeling: you click a link on your phone or tablet for something you want to read, or buy, or learn more about. You wait a few seconds for it to load, only to see a poorly sized site that’s confusing, irritating, and impossible for you to navigate. Nothing will make sure that website visitors leave your site faster than a slow or unresponsive homepage — which in turn means you’ll lose out on sales, leads, and return visitors.
Responsiveness on any device has been an absolute necessity for any new website for years now — since the rise of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. In fact, more than half of website visits now take place on some sort of mobile device! This means that it’s really important to make sure any web designer you hire can guarantee you a responsive website (and one that looks good on any device, not just that it works!). And not just for phones either — your site’s web design should be compatible on smartphones and tablets as well as your desktop.
This is another area where it is helpful to see your developer’s past work and make sure responsiveness really is a feature that they build in to each of their websites.
3) Safety and security.
Web security is not going to be the most fun or exciting feature of your new website, but it is extremely important to discuss with your web development company. Your web designers should be able to create a secure site so you can feel confident that your website will not be subjected to hacking attempts or other unwanted infiltration.
During the hiring process for a web design company, make sure security for you and your users is included in the web development services offered, and ask them how they do it as well. You don’t necessarily need to know the “right” answer here — but if a developer can give you a quick explanation of how they create safe websites and how that security works, it’s a good sign that they’re the real deal.
Plus, like all technology, both hacking and security technology are constantly changing and updating. You need to know that you, your business, and your website visitors will be secure, so don’t skip this definite must-have.
4) Good site navigation
Your web development team should make it easy for your users to find the information they are looking for. After all, that’s sort of the whole point of having a website — right?
It can be really frustrating for users to have to search your site for a long time to find what they need — especially now that we, as users of digital tech, are so used to finding what we need almost instantly. More often than not, a website visitor will just leave and try a new site if they can’t find what they’re looking for within a few seconds. Like an unresponsive website, a site that’s hard to navigate can have a real, negative effect on your bottom line if it’s difficult for users to buy products, sign up, or find what they need.
For some must-haves, like web security, the responsibility falls on the web developer — but not this one. The site navigation is ultimately your decision — you may not know much about the actual coding of the website, but you do know your business, content, and customers best. On your end, think about what parts of your website are the most important and should be most visible and most easily found.
If you’re not sure, ask your web developer and listen to what they have to say. Chances are, they’ll have some good insight on the amount of content you should have, how to make sure the site is user-friendly, and what layouts your users will feel most comfortable with.
5) Communication with your business concerning your web development.
Web development takes a lot of instructions, drafts, content, and edits flowing back and forth. Your web designer will count on you to get them the content, review drafts, and make edits just as much as you count on them to build your site. Miscommunication could mean costly mistakes for your business, so it’s important to make sure you’ll work well together.
The truth is, there are a lot of good web design companies out there. But not every company that can make a great website will work perfectly with you and your team. So in the hiring process, pay attention to how you and your potential website designers communicate. If your communication styles are not compatible, or if the developer doesn’t communicate well with your team, that’s not likely to change throughout the development process.
Plus, make sure you ask about their processes — what would the web developers need from you, and by what deadline? How do they normally send drafts over to clients, and how quickly will they expect edits from you? Every web development company is going to have a different process for completing a project. Part of communicating well is making sure both parties have clear, accurate expectations going into that process. This can help you avoid frustrations and mistakes, and make sure you end up with a website you love and that achieves your business’s goals. After all, you should be excited about your new site from beginning to end!
If you have any questions or would like to speak with our professional web developers, please contact us today.