As a business owner, you know how important your digital presence is to the success of your business. Consumers are moving their researching, shopping, and purchasing increasingly online. Thus, your online presence is vital to bringing in prospects and converting them to paying customers. But creating and developing a website all on your own is challenging, even if it’s possible these days. Hence, this is why many businesses like yours hire a web development agency to get an expert guide through the process.
Knowing what you need to look for when you’re hiring an agency is key to finding the right one for your business, as well as knowing what services you can expect. And, this is why we created a guide to help with research on web development and web development agencies. We want to help business owners like you enter the process armed with the most essential knowledge.
What is a Web Development Agency?
A web development agency helps businesses create a website that attracts visitors and helps turn them into customers. While this sounds simple, there are many steps that go into website design and development to make business websites as effective as possible.
This is because it’s no longer enough to just have a simple but functional website, or one that is merely a showcase for your business. Consumers increasingly demand an online experience that is seamless to use, beautifully designed, and updated to navigate. Plus, in a highly competitive landscape, your website needs to be effective at converting customers as well as attracting them.
A top-notch web development agency will provide expert help for all of those tasks.
What Services does a Web Development Agency Offer?
The services offered by web development firms will vary by the company, of course. Agencies run the gamut from providing just the basics of a business web site to a full-service offering.
All of them, however, will build you a custom website that promotes your business. A top web design company will also include the following services to optimize your online presence:
Telling the story of your business is an essential but often overlooked part of creating a website. You need to tell visitors to your site, who might be hearing about your company for the first time, what your company does and why you’re the best option for them to choose. The reason is always: because you can solve their problem.
There are many ways to develop a compelling narrative for your brand. But whatever method you choose, this step should always come first so your whole site is built around this story to maximize its impact.
At Content First Marketing, for example, we use the StoryBrand method to create a brandscript for our clients before we create any part of their website. This brief document contains the story of how your business is the guide that helps the hero – your customer – on their journey.
Web Design and Layout
Next comes the core of the user experience – your website design and layout. This goes beyond just aesthetics, though having a website that looks great is certainly important. The design and layout of your site should be easy and intuitive for users to navigate no matter their level of internet expertise.
A top web development agency will have a UI/UX designer on staff to ensure your customers and prospects have an optimal experience on your website. You don’t want anyone getting lost on the way to purchase your products or services, or to schedule an appointment with you to learn more. And a great web design helps with that.
Writing Web Content for Web Development
Now it’s time to fill in all the blank spaces with compelling copywriting. This is much more than just putting words and descriptions on your pages.
Great writing for websites means writing to drive your customer or prospect to take an action like:
- downloading a lead magnet
- scheduling an appointment
- making a purchase
And since website visitors don’t like to read blocks of content on your web page, it’s essential for your website content to be highly effective while using as few words as possible. This is no small task, which is why many business owners use full-service web development agencies that offer copywriting services as well.
Content First Marketing has a staff of expertly trained copywriters who create well-written, action-oriented website content that makes up the foundation of your website.
Competitor and Keyword Analysis
Imagine one of your potential customers is conducting an internet search to find a product that you offer. They then compare your website to a competitor’s. So, what impression would they come away with?
This is what competitor analysis is all about. What does the competition have on their website that you lack and could benefit from? Or, what do they lack that shows a gap your website can fill?
Top web developers will conduct a competitor analysis to answer these questions for your business so your website can be as effective as possible.
For example, if you run a taco shop and want to know why you’re not getting much site traffic right now, your web design company will analyze your competitors’ websites to see what you’re missing. Maybe you could add an updated community events calendar so customers can find you out around town. Or maybe just share your best recipes and taco tips on a fun blog.
Keyword analysis is also very important to your website’s success. Knowing what keywords your website should rank for in order to attract plenty of visitors through SEO enables your website content writers to incorporate those into the proper pages. That local taco shop, for example, would probably want to ensure there are plenty of keywords that talk about “tacos in [City]”. This way, people who are searching for tacos in their location are able to find them easily, driving traffic to their site and to their physical location.
Performing keyword research on your own as a business owner is tricky.
First, you need:
- access to paid keyword research tools
- deep SEO knowledge to find the right keywords that you can actually rank for
- the know-how to incorporate those keywords seamlessly into your website content
And this is where the expertise and expansive toolkits of a web development agency can make your investment in their services more than worth the cost.
Website Speed and Performance
One often under-looked area of website design is your website’s speed and performance. People are very impatient online these days. As such, they generally won’t wait more than three seconds for a website to load before they close it out and visit a competitor’s site instead. Having slow website speeds is also a negative ranking factor for Google and other search engines. It’s because they want to deliver their search visitors to sites that provide a great user experience.
Your content management system, or CMS, plays a big role in your site speed and performance. Often, small businesses who are just starting out opt to go with a cheap hosting plan. However, their site performance suffers as they bring in more visitors. While it’s a good thing to grow your business, you need a website that can handle the growth.
A website design company can develop customized websites that are fully optimized for speed and free of bugs or errors that impede website performance. And they’ll choose a CMS and site design that are built to deliver speed and performance, not just great looks. This is all pretty technical behind-the-scenes stuff, and can get confusing for the novice website builder, so bringing in the experts is a great call.
At Content First Marketing, every website we build for our clients is designed to look great, load fast, and perform perfectly every time. We know all the most up-to-date tips and tricks to get the most out of your site performance.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Your website isn’t just meant to sit online and look pretty. The ultimate reason you’ve spent the time and money to create one is to convert your visitors into customers. And this is one of the biggest complaints we see at Content First Marketing from new clients: their old website just isn’t getting enough people to take action, even if they have plenty of site traffic.
In our years of experience in digital marketing, we’ve found this is because most business websites ignore conversion rate optimization. They just put up a site, add a “Buy Now” button, and hope users click on it. But a great web development agency will use industry best practices to optimize your site to convert as many customers as possible.
This optimization is a complex mix of compelling copywriting, website layout, and a deep understanding of customer needs. Plus, it involves a fair amount of testing and tweaking to find the best way to get your customers to the checkout page, or schedule an appointment. As a business owner, you probably don’t have time to do all of this yourself. But ignoring conversion rate optimization means your website will never be as effective as it could be.
Hiring the right website development agency, like Content First Marketing, means all this optimization is taken care of for you. You’ll reap the benefit of having a website designed specifically to drive action, getting you results for your business that you can actually measure.
We Are an Expert Web Development Agency
Looking for more personalized help from a web development agency for your site and your digital marketing strategy right now?
Schedule a free business review here to find out how we help businesses grow. You can use these insights for inspiration, and let us do the marketing for you.