Not All Websites are Created Equal

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Alright, so you want a website that looks great, does what you want it to do and of course—converts visitors into customers—right? So, who do you get to help with the web design? How much will development of the website cost? Should you choose the web development company with the lowest prices? Maybe you are on a strict time constraint and find the idea of choosing the web development company that can deliver the final product in the fastest manner appealing. No matter what your situation, it’s important that you know one thing—NOT ALL WEBSITES ARE CREATED EQUAL!

It Looks Good, So It Doesn’t Matter What Web Development Company Built It—Right?

While visual appeal is necessary in web development and website design, there are some additional factors to consider. It’s sort of like buying shoes—while you definitely want the pair of shoes that look the best, you would not choose them based on look alone. You would also need to consider the type of shoe, the fit of the shoe, and any additional design factors. You wouldn’t wear those hot stiletto heals to run a marathon—and you wouldn’t want a visually appealing website that couldn’t also perform the functions that you desire for your visitors and your business.

Visual appeal is important in web development but there are also a few factors that are equally important and top the list:

  • Browser Support is a Must! A website that does not look the same in every internet browser can be a web development nightmare for a novice designer. When you hire a web development company, it’s important to hire an experienced designer who knows the importance of making the website equally accessible through all internet browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc).
  • Search Engine Legible and Friendly Code. Many novice web development companies will use WYSIWYG editors for website design and the result is code that is bloated, difficult for search engines to read, and does not rank well in the search engines. If your website will rely primarily on search engine results for traffic (like most websites do) then the code must be search-engine-friendly. (the average person will never see this code so it has nothing to do with visual appeal!)
  • Coding the Site for Ease of Future Maintenance. Every website requires future maintenance and changes that should be relatively easy to make if the original format of the website was created properly. Whether you decide to change the text styles throughout your site, wish to change the background colors or decide on a complete site redesign, it’s important that your initial web development company created a website that was coded in an easy to update and an easy understand manner.

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Development Company

Once you have determined that you need a website designed and you are ready to hire a web development company, you should consider the following factors before making a final decision:

  • The Portfolio: Choose a web development company whose portfolio can show you exactly what the finished product looks like and how it performs in the search engines. Check the websites in the web development company’s portfolio to determine if they look the same in various browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox. Pay attention to the load time of the websites, the user friendliness (Can you do what is intended on the site? Can you find what you are looking for? How hard is it to navigate the site?), and also how professional and visually appealing the websites are.
  • Word of Mouth. Although many web development companies will discourage you from calling their past clients, a good web development company will have at least a few clients whom they have previously worked with that are open and willing to speak with future clients (such as yourself) about their experiences with the web development company. Choose a web development company who has references that are real people who you can call and speak with (but keep it very brief and convenient for the previous client).

The choice that you make when trying to find the best web development company for the job can be the difference between the success or the failure of your website. For more information, see the recent Advantage Media post– Tips for Choosing the Best Web Development Company

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