The IT market is highly competitive in today’s digital era and changing in a blink of an eye. If a brand wants to win and keep customers, it must be unique. As a first step in standing out, you need a professional and interactive web app – and, most likely, a web development company to do it for you.
But incredibly, many businesses still neglect the value of an efficient business web app that is fast, easy to use, secure, and mobile-friendly as well, hoping that a cheap and quickly done product will work just as well. That can impact how your business performs, though – 42% of people will leave a website because of poor functionality, and 38.5% are put off by outdated design. The best way to ensure your web app or website has all the elements mentioned above is to hire professional web development services that know the latest trends in web development and how to add them to your web app.
We already mentioned in our previous article what you should look for when researching web development agencies, so you have probably already done some research. Now, it’s time to pick the right web development company for your needs.
Where should you look for a web development company?
Now that you know what you are looking for, it’s time to dive into the actual research phase. Where should you look for your future partners? You can either ask your clients, business partners, digital marketing agencies, and friends for references or start searching for them on the net. But when you enter “web development company” in the browser, you will get 4 880 000 000 results, woah.
That’s why it’s worth it to start looking for your future expert web developers by checking various online listings like Clutch, GoodFirms, or DesignRush. On those sites, you can find development companies from all over the world, together with plenty of information about them – hourly prices, main areas of specialization (e.g. mobile apps, design services, custom web applications’ examples, number of employees, business challenges, cutting-edge technologies description, graphic design examples, successful projects’ list, and so on.
What’s more important is that on those sites, you can see the web development company team’s portfolio and read reviews from past clients – you can even reach out to them for references. Also, you can read the summary of each project they completed and compare them with your expectations – that should make it much easier to find a web development partner that has done something similar to what you need.
If you’d like to learn more about some of our previous projects, you can check them out on Clutch.
What factors should you consider when talking with a web development company?
Once you have a shortlist of web development companies you think match your requirements the most, and you would want to work with, it’s time to schedule a “kickoff” meeting for your app development services. A kickoff meeting is the first meeting with the web development team you will have, during which you discuss with them all the details of your project. Why is it important?
- It allows you to meet the developers in person and get to know them better
- Ensures that everyone understands the main objectives of the project
- Helps with clarifying all critical parts of the project
- Gives the development team a chance to share their suggestions or ideas
- Assesses the amount of time and budget necessary for the project
- Allows you to discuss the post-launch support requirements you have.
But if you want the initial contact and meetings to go well and find a software development company you can work with for years to come, you need to know first what questions to ask to your shortlist of app development companies. We listed below 9 points you should discuss during the meeting with your future custom web development partner. Those can ensure a smoother experience while working with the development team and, as a result, give you a better product at the end.
They should listen closely to and understand the specifics of your business
When hiring a web development business, ask questions to make sure they understand your specific business needs. For example, do they have the technology and skills needed to make your website application development service work the way you want it to? Or maybe they have any suggestions on what to change in the project to better fit your objectives? The more their custom website design services and experience align with your goals, the better.
It would be best to ask them about their ideas for the design as well. If they already worked on a similar project as yours, then they should know exactly how to make your web app stand out while keeping the branding on point.
Ask for references and work samples
This seems like an obvious step, but many people skip it. You shouldn’t just rely on their portfolio and reviews, no matter how good they are. By looking at just those, you cannot tell if the projects were delivered on time and under budget or what problems might have arisen during the project.
For instance, the results might look stellar, but the whole development process might have been anything but that. Companies with exemplary portfolios should be able to provide you with at least two or three references from satisfied enterprise clients or other proofs or long-term business relationships.
It is also a good idea to reach out to their previous clients and ask them to share their experience with the project management, turnaround time, responsiveness, or any troubles they have while building their own website or web app. That will make it easier for you to predict how the project might go for you – and for what problems you eventually need to be prepared.
How long will it take them to develop a web app?
If you give the development team a list of your requirements and expectations, then they should be able to tell you an estimated timeline by which the web app will be completed, tested, and launched. You need to remember that the more complex your web app is, the longer it will take for the development company to build and test it to ensure that it works. But if the expert team you are speaking with can’t give you an approximate date by which the custom software development project will be completed, then you should get suspicious, as it might mean they have difficulties with keeping the work on schedule.
Similarly, when such a development agency gives you a very early date by which the web app will be ready, you should double-check do they have the means to develop a web app in such a short time – or you risk having to move the launch date several times due to lack of meeting your project requirements. You need to also think about your budget here – the cost of the web app will inevitably increase if your project takes longer than anticipated.
How will a web development company communicate with your team?
When both sides communicate smoothly, every project goes smoother. That’s why you should talk with your expert team about their preferred communication channels and style, as well as how you would like to communicate with them. To gauge their communication style, you can ask them the following questions:
- What is their preferred communication channel – phone, e-mail, video calls?
- Will there be a dedicated point-of-contact person who will respond to your concerns and feedback?
- How often can you expect to hear from them?
- What are their business models and methodologies (e.g. Agile Methodology)?
Here’s also where you should make your expectations for custom software development clear as well. Whether you prefer frequent and short updates on project progress or more detailed meetings with the team, make sure they know as it may have a positive impact on the whole communication. You should also ask them if they have a project management tool you can use to follow the project’s progress – that will help you meet your business goals, stay on track, bring ideas to life, and get bespoke web apps as a result.
What other services can your web app development provider offer?
Developing a web app isn’t just about writing the code, a custom web design, and putting it all together. Design, UX, user interface, SEO, testing, digital marketing services, hosting, search engine optimization, user experiences research, and later maintenance are all essential for building a successful high-quality web app as well.
So while you are talking with the developers’ team, ask them if they have people responsible for updating and maintaining the web app or website and keeping it optimized for search engines. Having all these services available under one roof will both ensure that the developers’ work will be consistent, and it will also be much more convenient for them to add updates or fix any problems.
Also, you may be on the lookout for application development companies that offer more than web dev – who knows when you’ll need some mobile apps, other development solutions, or even blockchain development? Look holistically.
Analyze your web development company’s development and hosting services
On the outside, a web app might look great. However, the code and algorithms on the inside might be pretty messy. Result? A product that is difficult to update, maintain or troubleshoot. This is another reason you shouldn’t just focus on how the web app in the development team’s portfolio looks but also examine the code inside it.
The website developers should be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end development so that you’ll get a web app that looks good but is also easy to maintain. For this, they should be familiar with web development best practices as well as databases, algorithms, and different coding architectures.
It will also be worth it to ask your software development partner if they can provide you with a virtual or dedicated hosting platform for your web app. That way, you won’t have to worry about having to find a hosting platform yourself – and you’ll be able to handle sudden spikes in traffic easier as well.
The estimated cost of the web app
No matter how tempting their offer may seem, you should stay away from custom software solutions’ providers that give an estimated cost of the web app that is much, much lower than other companies give you. When hiring a web development company, you can expect to get what you pay for.
By paying a very low price for a web app, you might end up with a half-finished site that does not look the way you expected or has so many bugs it’s practically unusable. You need a web app that is well-designed, fast, and user-friendly – and that will cost. That’s especially true if you need a custom web app built from scratch. As the development firm will have to spend more time on their project and may have to come up with a wide range of creative solutions for a development problem, that will naturally increase the cost of the development project.
But you should beware of web development firms that give you a suspiciously high price for their services since this doesn’t always mean they will provide you with a much better product than the rest. While it isn’t common, some companies might try to inflate the cost of the web app by adding services and features you didn’t ask for. That’s why it’s always important to ask during the meeting what is included in the design company’s estimated project cost. When they cannot answer the question or speak in vague terms, you should consider choosing another partner for digital transformation.
Can they make your web app mobile-friendly, too?
Mobile usage is growing rapidly, so you need a mobile-friendly web app that is designed to give the users the best experience possible. In fact, over half of all website traffic comes from people using mobile phones – meaning that more people use their smartphones to access the internet than their laptops. Therefore, you are missing out if you do not have a mobile-responsive web app. What’s more, Google also uses mobile usability as a ranking factor.
That’s why you should ask right at the start whether your web app will be optimized for mobile devices and what ideas the team has for the mobile version of it. Remember, your mobile web app shouldn’t simply be a smaller version of your desktop site – the layout, navigation, buttons, and images all need to be optimized to ensure your users can use it without any issues.
Ask who will own the source code and web app files
The number of companies who are unable to update their web apps after their relationship with the web firm has ended is astounding. This is because they didn’t think to ask the web development partner who will keep Photoshop and Illustrator files, access to code repositories, usernames and passwords associated with site hosting, etc. Therefore, they suddenly discover they cannot access their web app as soon as they switch development partners. If you don’t want this to happen to your business web app as well, then you should ask the team during the meeting who will own the source code after the project is finished. This should be one of the business requirements that business owners recommend.
This is especially important if you think about hiring your own development staff to manage the site or if you expect to switch development companies somewhere in the future. Don’t forget to include this in your contract and ensure the development company you hire is transparent in this regard – this way, you won’t have to start from scratch when hiring a new development partner or a dedicated team in the future, and they will deliver their services to clients – you, in this case.
When you’re looking for a website development company that will work with you for years to come, you’ll need to compare the wide range of services offered, reliability, digital experiences, pricing, design, and a host of other factors. Therefore, it might take a while to find one who has all the qualities you need. However, finding a seasoned and reliable service provider will help your business meet its specific needs and grow further. Make an informed decision, and your business will flourish!