We all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and that nothing rhymes with orange (except for a hill in Wales named Blorenge). Comparing apples to oranges, and doctors to mountains, is about the same as comparing a web development company to an advertising agency. Advanta had our Office Manager, Charlie, create a list of questions for you to consider when choosing the right company to design and develop your website, and here’s what she had to say:

Do they have a marketing department?

Most web development companies and do-it-yourself programs, like Wix and The Grid, can make your website pretty – and that’s it. There’s no substance. Think Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods before she gets into Harvard Law School in Legally Blonde. You want more from your website than just eye-catching designs, because you need something that actually works. Having designers, developers, and marketers in-house ensures that you’ll not only have a beautifully designed site, but more importantly, it will function correctly.

Do they know responsive design?

Designing your website responsively for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices isn’t just a fad, it’s the best way to design websites these days Even Google says so. If the agency or program you’re thinking about hiring doesn’t suggest or offer a website that is able to be viewed on all devices, then they’re probably not right for you. As mobile and tablet usage continues to grow, you need to be sure your company’s website is optimized for all devices.

Why are they so cheap?

Your website is the face of your company when you can’t be there, and it’s not an area where you can afford to cut corners. If a web development company says they can build you a custom website for $2,000, what they’re really saying is that they can drop your text and logo into a $99 pre-designed theme from WordPress that 12,000 other websites are using. If you want a website that’s going to stand out and work specifically for your business, you have to be willing to invest in it in the beginning for a long-term solution. Great websites can convert visitors into leads for business development, a bad website can result in high bounce rates and poor return on investment.

Do they have the ability to recommend what’s best for you?

When choosing a web design company, you should treat it like a mutually beneficial partnership. If the company you’ve chosen is a “yes-man”, and isn’t willing to tell you when something is a bad idea, explain why, and offer an alternative, you shouldn’t stake the future of your website on them. Let’s face it – you’re not a web developer. So you probably haven’t kept up to speed on the changes and trends in technology, web standards, cross-browser considerations, accessibility standards, eCommerce and security standards, and usability/user experience best practices – and that’s ok! But that means the web development company you choose should be keeping up with these, and should be your trusted guide before, during, and after your site launches. Beware of the firms that ask you to list what you want and just quote it, without thinking of you, specifically.

Do they offer comprehensive services?

When you choose a web development company, you have to be confident that they have the ability to handle your entire project – from the initial strategy and planning, to design, development, testing, and marketing – and that they will be able to help formulate a strategy for your website, seeing it through all the phases of its lifecycle. It’ll also be easier on you, because you’ll have a single company to call, instead of multiple vendors who may or may not understand how their “piece” fits into the overall goal, and might not work well with the others. If you’re looking to refresh, rebuild, or start your website from scratch, choosing the right web development company can make or break the finished product. Contact Advanta today, and let us talk you through our process of developing your branding from visual branding to designing, developing responsively, and enhancing your website through SEO. How do you like them apples?