So your business is based in the London area and you are looking for a company or freelancer to take care of your web design project. Competition is fierce, especially in our capital. At this stage there will be many questions crossing your mind. Should I be looking for a web developer based in London? What are the benefits of working with a local developer or agency? What should you look out for when searching web developers in London?
It is true that website development can be carried out anywhere, remotely and local doesn’t necessarily mean better. That being said, it really does depend on the size of your project and budget you have available. Are you really going to trust paying someone thousands of pounds for a service when you have never met them? Complicated projects require strategic planning and especially during the initial development, collaboration is essential. The agency needs to “get” the client and the client needs to be able to work with the agency. Working remotely means you do not have this rapport. To make matters worse, if there is a misunderstanding or miscommunication, it is a lot more difficult to get the project back on track if there are no face to face meetings.
For a smaller project (say a 5-10 page content managed responsive website) this should not pose too many issues but consider a multilingual responsive eCommerce solution. How will both parties react when it comes to light that the development is not progressing as it should? The result, delays for the client impacting on lost revenues and time wasted by the development agency creating something that the client doesn’t want, again resulting in lost revenue. Who will cover this? Disaster – a potential breakdown in relationship if neither party admits any liability.
Now that we have established that working with a local agency is more desirable for larger and complicated projects, what should you look out for when searching web developers in London?
Understanding your requirements, target audience and project goals are key to any successful web development project. Initial meetings are essential to build a good working relationship and project understanding.
Mobile First Responsive Web Design
Building a responsive website is essential now as mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage. This is something which is now irreversible so there are no excuses for your design agency not to create a responsive design. Better agencies will understand the importance of creating a website that will work for your business and will insist on doing things correctly. They will take a mobile first approach to your project.
Your chosen development agency do not need to be experts or qualified in Inbound Marketing but they need to have an understanding of the importance inbound marketing plays in having a successful online business. After all your shiny new website is not going to suddenly open a floodgate of potential clients and leads. Your website needs to attract these leads and rank in the search engines. Search engine optimisation is a strategy which should be used in your online marketing so working with an agency that understands the importance and basics of Inbound Marketing is so important.
Using the latest technology and standards is ever so important in developing a successful web design project. Every development agency will have their preferred technology and there is nothing wrong with that however the right agency will use the technology that best suits your requirements. For example, would it be better to use an open source platform such as WordPress which will give you flexibility, reduced development costs and benefits of using an open source platform, or using a custom platform developed by your agency that will not allow you the freedom to shop around for future development work should your relationship not last.
Return on Investment
Nobody like to get a raw deal or pay over the odds for something. Whilst it is true you get for what you pay for and creating a successful website does take more time and resources than just getting a template site together, the figures need to stack up. A reputable and successful agency will realise this and will work on a solution that will allow you to make a return on your investment. If you have a specific budget in mind, should it be unrealistic an agency worth their weight in gold would be honest and upfront and never compromise on quality and resources used on your project, otherwise you may end up paying less for the project but it will never give you a return on your investment and will be lost amongst the countless waves of websites out in cyberspace.
The more complicated your project the easier things can go wrong if the right planning is not carried out. Whilst planning a project can take place on the phone, by email or video conferencing there is nothing suitable to replace a face to face meeting. Larger projects will require more feedback and further scheduled meetings, project reports and updates. Our advice, if you can find a suitable London based agency that gets what you are about, what you want to achieve and how you want to get there, go local!
Check out our website project tools below