4 Steps to Choosing a Web Development Agency UK-Based
Are you a lead generation executive or a project manager of an agency based in London or any part of the UK?
Do you need an eCommerce website or a company information website that looks professional but you lack the material, time, design expertise, development knowledge, and skills to build a stellar site on your own? Are you comfortable dealing with a Briton only but do not want to bear the burden of employing someone to build it in-house?
Then, engaging with a web development agency UK-based that employs the latest web design trends with impeccable website design and management services credentials would naturally be at the top of your mind.
However, given the fact that no company is successful today with a spiritless website, the task of scouting from among the list of web development companies in the United Kingdom and finally choosing the appropriate web design company to develop your website is as important as any you will make toward the future of your business.
In this article, I am going to give you 4 simple, straightforward steps to select a UK-based web development agency to engage with.
This post goes into detail, so here is a quick index for you to dive around if you like:
Ready? Let us jumpstart.
The Relevance of web development agency UK-based engagement
But hold on, before I give you the criteria, you have to understand the significance of patronizing with a local web development agency.
The Broussard, LA-based marketing solutions firm Kalaco Solutions LLC, avers:
“Hiring a local business means that you will get better service and higher quality work because they are concerned about their reputation.”
So, if you engage with a local web development team, you have the advantage of:
Stimulating the local economy– If you have a local business and engage with another local business, that puts money in the pockets of people in your community- so they, in return will be able to buy your products and services. While it is true that it might cost less to outsource services but you are hurting the local economy and you are actually paying a price in other ways in terms of reduced patronage to the products and services that you are selling.
Effortless communication — When working with the company from the same country or locality, it is easy to arrange face-to-face or online meetings and conferences which results in a better understanding of the engagement requirements. Further, any issues and concerns with the website can be resolved in real-time.
Synchronization — If you decide to work with a local website development team you would be having no problem with the project timelines because of a similar time zone.
Cultural similarities — If you plan to develop an online shop or a website for the local target audience, local web developers already know the needs and wants of your future customers and website users. Moreover, local professionals make the best business partners because they have a better understanding of your business and are invested in helping your company to succeed.
Legal issues — It is more convenient to work with the web development team from your location since you are both citizens of the United Kingdom. Therefore, in case the project goes wrong, it is simpler to solve legal issues.
Now then on to the flesh of this article- let us get into the steps to picking a local web development company!
4 Steps to Choosing a Web Development Agency UK-Based
Step 1: Decide on website build-up and budget.
Several web development agencies specialize in custom-built websites. Relative thereto, they build your website from scratch.
The situation is akin to building a brand new house. The architect designs the house based on the requirements of the owner. The civil engineer reviews the design if it meets building code requirements and if it is structurally sound. The electrical engineer prepares the electrical and wiring plan. The water sanitary engineer prepares the water and sewerage plan. The task can be carried out by the master plumber who adds gas lines if required. The contractors take charge of building the house through the various hired workers like carpenters, mason and roofers, painters and drywallers, plumbers, electricians, interior designers, and landscapers. The contractor pays professional fees and labor costs. The owner pays the contractor.
The same is true with a custom-built website. Since the site development process is complicated, it requires significant time and budget.
More often than not, full-service agencies take charge of building custom-built websites. Such companies have several departments like design, development, management, and quality assurance providing in the process a large variety of services ranging from website development, mobile applications, and other digital solutions.
As the customer receives an all-in-one solution, it goes without saying that hiring a full-service team is expensive. If you are connected with big companies and developed brands, custom-built websites is suited for you as you
Some web development agencies engage in template-based websites. In relation thereof, they develop your website from pre-designed templates.
It is similar to building a pre-fabricated house. The owner approaches directly to the shop. The shop owner himself, or through a representative, presents the various prefabricated house designs with built-in house parts like flooring, walling, roofing, and others per design. The owner has to choose the entire prefabricated house design and its component parts. The shop owner or vendor then provides a manual on pre-fabricated house installation with the owner building the house on his or her own or through hired installers.
The situation is identical with template-based websites.
A web template is a set of web pages created using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a programming language that serves as the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can stand on its own but it is much better if it could be assisted by the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which is another programming language used to define the text styles, table sizes, borders, layout, spacing and other aspects of web pages. It can also be assisted by scripting languages like the Java Script.
Utilizing the appropriate Content Management System (CMS), anybody can input his or her text, images, and videos on these pre-designed web pages creating, in the process, a website.
Using a do-it-yourself manual, you can set up your own website without any assistance from designers and developers and share anything you like to the entire world. Some developers, however, use a web-based template in building the site of their clients by buying popular template designs and pair it with WordPress CMS, which can be downloaded for free. This web development approach is preferred by would-be site owners having a limited budget and short timeline.
This is a relatively new web development solution employed by some web development agencies that is slowly becoming popular. Towards this end, they develop your website still from pre-designed templates but with customization features.
It is comparable to building a pre-fabricated house but with added features and applies to a new house construction or repair of the existing building. The owner approaches a contractor. The contractor asks the owner about his or her house requirements. The contractor contacts his or her pool of archite, civil engineers, electrical engineers, sanitary engineers, or master plumbers who work as a team to prepare the plans, programs, and designs utilizing various individual components from prefabricated house designs. Contractor presents the plan and design to owner and hires skilled workers to build the house under the close supervision of the architect and civil engineer who knows the means to dismantle the various pre-fabricated house designs and use its component parts to build a new house with unique features separate and distinct from any pre-fabricated house design. The contractor pays the professional fee and labor cost. The house owner pays to the contractor.
In the case of hybrid solutions, expert web developers pick the desirable features of website templates available on the web and slowly build the website following with the customer requirements.
The web development cost is affordable as the web development agency is just maintaining a skeleton staff structure in the office with the bulk of the tasks being outsourced. Many businesses in the United Kingdom prefer this mode as they are dealing with a British agency operator and contractor as opposed to hiring unknown web development professionals on their own.
Quality is becoming more important than price to most consumers. Image courtesy of firstinsight.com
Step 2: Investigate the website design and management services track record.
First things first, you have to deal with the experience.
Quoting from Julius Caesar, the master, consul and dictator of Rome in his war commentaries of the Civil War De Bello Civile:
“Ut est rerum omnium magister usus, roughly translated to English as Experience is the teacher of all things or more generally and popularly Experience is the best teacher”.
Check out the work portfolio of the company.
Evaluating the experience of a web design and development team is the most important activity that you, as the future website owner, should do in the first place. Knowing the specialization of your prospect web development team will help you to understand whether this agency can fulfill your requirement toward the upcoming project.
The full-service web development team
In case you opt to engage with a full-service web development team, you need to go through a very tedious, time-consuming process but of course with the promised price of high-quality output.
First and foremost, you need to know the dedicated teams of top web developers, web designers as well as search engine optimization, content development, and digital marketing experts that the web development agency currently has.
Subsequently, you meet the team or the project management unit or dedicated team assigned to you.
But wait, heed first the nugget of wisdom on negotiation from Peter Barron Stark, world-acclaimed consultant, coach, speaker, and author:
“Think like a dolphin. The dolphin is the only mammal who can swim in a sea of sharks or in a sea of carp. Dolphins are able to adapt their strategies and behaviors to their counterparts. Remember, even when negotiating with a shark, you have an option- you can walk away!”
Meticulously ask questions on the web development projects they were, and are currently, doing purposely to determine if they can be trusted as an agency that designs and develops high quality websites in the United Kingdom.
From the web development team:
First and foremost, ask the team leader if he or she is a top web developer himself or herself;
Inquire on the eCommerce development projects they have had undertaken including the eCommerce websites, also known as eCommerce sites or eCommerce web, that they previously developed and the eCommerce website or eCommerce site they are presently making
Look into the app development companies that they networked before and the app development company they currently work with including the android apps they are using;
Ask if their capability is equal to or better than the established software development company or agency based in London like the Hedgehog Lab and the DCL Software Limited as well as the England-based Shout Digital;
Make queries on the WordPress development projects they engaged with including the WordPress developers involved.
While talking with the web design team:
Investigate on the web design projects and the website designs they have accomplished and the graphic design specialist, logo designers and London web design experts they are currently engaging with;
Dig deeper into the design branding initiatives they are undergoing and the web design solutions they are offering;
Probe on the web design agencies or web design companies that they collaborated with in the past including the web design agency or web design company that they network with at the present like the Crewe-based CSI Media.
From the search engine optimisation SEO expert:
Get information on the SEO companies that they are dealing with, the search engines they are targeting to and the search engine that they are comfortable with.
Out of the content development expert:
Look over their content development portfolio and the content marketing campaigns they are undergoing.
Coming from the digital marketing expert:
Extract data on the digital agency and digital partner they are dealing with;
Inquire them on the social media platform that they are engaged into, the social media marketing and other marketing campaigns they are waging as well as the social media management blueprint they are following;
Ask on the video production, digital design as well as digital strategy they are adhering to;
Verify on the pay per click platform that they are utilizing as well as the PPC management initiatives they are undertaking and;
Check the Public Relations and other company reputation management projects they are handling.
Template-based and hybrid-based development teams
If you do decide to engage with a web development team using template-based or hybrid-based web development solutions, you need not go through the process of personal company vetting as you just resign to the idea that your website structure depends on the website template you buy, in case of template-based, or the template customization you want, in case of hybrid-based.
Observe how fast the company responds to your email.
The responsiveness to email and other communication channels is one among other factors to consider when choosing a web development company. The way agency representatives respond to your correspondence determines their experience to handle with potential consumers. You can give them 24–48 hours to make a reply to your request. If the company is interested in knowing more about your web development project, it is a good indication. Take note that unless the project dedicated team can have a deep understanding of your goals and needs, the agency cannot give you an accurate project cost estimation.
For a break, you listen to the man whom The Wall Street Journal called in 1986 as “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America”
Step 3: Determine the latest website design trends on the company website.
How to test the veracity of the information you got from your visit to your prospective web development company? Browse on their website! Their digital presence is fool-proof evidence of the quality standards of the company you are intending to engage with. The failure of the agency to follow best practices right on their own site is an indication that they cannot also do it on your project.
Use your gut-feel in weighing both the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designs, technically termed UXUI design, of the company website. You gauge your user experience simply on how you feel about the website. How you look and interact with the responsiveness of the icons and buttons, typography and color schemes, spacing and imagery and defines the standard of its UI design;
Compare your UXUI experience with those sites designed by the London-based Imaginary Cloud or Shout Digital;
Be observant if the latest website design trends are evident on the company site;
Pay attention to the website features and the quantity and quality of the content they publish;
Determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the search engine optimisation SEO initiatives by randomly checking on the SERP ranking of its homepage and inner pages;
Check if the portfolio they enumerated during your company visit is shared on their website and evaluate the usability and functionality of their live projects.
Still on the crossroad?
Word of mouth is influential throughout the consumer decision journey.Image courtesy of www.mckinsey.com.
Step 4: Seek client lead generation executive and other customer endorsements.
Nothing beats the story of an executive or a project manager of a company who happens to be a previous client of your prospect company as they have firsthand experience on how they deliver their promise.
First and foremost, ask the company representative if they are willing to share the contact details of their previous clients. Any semblance of hesitance, like citing legal implications on Data Privacy Act or any other reason whatsoever, is already a red flag that they are hiding something;
From their list, exert substantial efforts to extract relevant information on the website development performance of your likely agency. If you happen to talk to executives of agencies especially those having eCommerce websites or eCommerce sites, try to figure out the contribution of improved user experience; enhanced pay per click, PPC management and social media marketing capability and upgraded search engine marketing, digital design and digital strategy features of their present website built by your prospect agency to the annual turnover of their company as compared to their previous website developed by somebody else.
Now, in case you have overlooked, there are 5 main points I covered that I truly want you to take away from this post:
- The advantages of engaging with a local web development company are evident and overwhelming. It is even an act of patriotism!
- Experience is still, and will always be, the best teacher.
- If you have the luxury of time and budget, choosing the custom solutions in the development of your site is the best decision. The quality of the resulting website far outweighs the cost.
- Template-based website solutions are budget-friendly but the website quality is hounded with uncertainty.
- The cost of Hybrid-based website solutions is fairly low but the corresponding standard almost at par with custom-based websites.
If I have my way to select a web development agency UK-based, I love to pick Item №5.
Is my choice as good as yours?