Joomla might be the second most popular CMS out there, but finding capable and experienced teams who can work on it may be tricky at times. To help you get the best Joomla web development partner, we have ranked the top agencies based on a custom evaluation methodology. The rankings given below are followed by a brief explanation of the comprehensive steps we used to put this list together. To help you find the agency that’s just right for your needs, we’ve also shared a few critical questions you should ask before finalizing a contract with your chosen vendor.
Knowing what factors we looked at when compiling this list will help you get a clearer picture of how detailed our vetting process is. More importantly, it could help you with your own screening process. As you’ll see below, we examine every relevant aspect of web development, like the developer’s level of experience, its portfolio, client feedback, the project management style, and its pricing model. This keeps our rankings as objective as possible and saves you time and effort when looking to hire Joomla developers.
The first step in our evaluation is visiting the agency’s website. There are several useful pieces of information we can obtain here:
We try to develop an understanding of an agency’s overall portfolio of services by evaluating what each agency claims it can do and what its clients’ experiences have been. Specifically, we look at what types of services these agencies provide, as well as how proficient they are in them.
All Joomla developers have different levels of expertise with the CMS. These different levels of experience can be divided among the following:
You can consider this the most basic level. These developers build sites using ready-made solutions like templates and extensions, although some of them might be able to make minor design changes.
These are not necessarily designers themselves. However, by being proficient in HTML and CSS, they can create a Joomla template from a design source file.
These are a bit more advanced than template skinners. They can create completely customized designs themselves and then bring them to life.
This is where you want your Joomla web developer to fall. These developers are the most technically advanced and will likely to have knowledge in all of the above areas. They can code their own extensions, meaning they’re proficient in solving advanced problems that don’t have ready-made solutions.
When looking for Joomla specialists worthy of our list, we give priority to those companies that can offer a full-service experience that encompasses the following:
This is the most basic requirement for a Joomla web development company. Since installing Joomla is slightly more complex than most other programs, an agency must be able to handle the process smoothly and manage any issues. Apart from the time-consuming nature of a manual installation (in case the hosting site doesn’t allow one-click installation), another challenge in this process is configuring the plugins and modules that provide Joomla’s extra functionalities.
Joomla provides an extremely wide range of options for creating different types of content. Beyond the typical web developers, a Joomla developer must be able to provide the creation of a multi-page website using text, images, and hyperlinks t
The next step in Joomla web design is selecting a template from the Joomla gallery and installing it using the Extension Manager. These additional steps might include changing the template’s default colors to suit the client’s branding.
Despite the hundreds of template choices available, a client may want something more unique. Agencies that keep up with the latest web design trends and can provide professional custom template design services—with a choice of flexible layouts and module positions and full responsiveness for different devices—score high in our rankings.
Often, a client will already have a design they need added to their website. An important aspect of web design is the ability to convert expert designs created using PSD or Photoshop Documents into Joomla templates. Any Joomla web developer should be able to carry out this conversion in an affordable manner without reducing the quality of the client’s images, text, or designs.
An extension is a software package that extends the Joomla installation in some way. A small selection of extensions is included with the default Joomla installation, but many more are available from the Joomla Extensions Directory. A Joomla web developer should not only be able to use any of these thousands of extensions, but also have the ability to develop custom extensions if the already existing ones don’t serve the client’s needs.
Modules are designed to present information on the website. For instance, you might want a small block on the main page with an offer, a tip, a newsflash, or even a PayPal button, and this purpose is served by using a module. While there are many existing modules for Joomla, we see if developing custom modules is one of the services provided when you hire your Joomla developer.
Components also extend a website’s functionality, but they’re are a lot more complex and can only be displayed in the main area of a page. Again, while there are a number of third-party components available for common functions, we check if an agency has the expertise required to handle the extensive coding required to develop custom Joomla components.
A plugin is a type of Joomla extension that provides functions associated with trigger events. For example, a plugin lets you display a link on your webpage allowing viewers to share your content on social media platforms. The best Joomla web developer should be able to create custom plugins if the existing options don’t satisfy the clients’ needs completely.
Joomla has a number of powerful ecommerce extensions for creating online stores on your website. Given the increasing popularity of online sales, many companies want an ecommerce component on their website. These can be provided by extensions like VirtueMart, HikaShop, Mijoshop, DigiCom, and j2Store. We assessed the ecommerce development specialists checking their ability to develop, or at least utilize, these extensions.
Top-quality Joomla web development goes well beyond just helping get the page’s visible elements online. Some best practices to secure a Joomla website include activating the site’s SSL certification, securing the administrator login, taking a regular backup, using the latest version of reliable extensions, enabling Search Engine Friendly, deleting unwanted developers’ extensions, and keeping correct file and folder permissions.
We also look more favorably at the Joomla web development agencies that can offer you important services beyond website development. While offering them doesn’t necessarily make one agency better than another, it’s always helpful for a client if its entire online presence is developed and maintained under one roof. Thus, here are a few extra services to consider:
This requires the Joomla web development agency to design a website that considers your customers, your competition, your branding, and the specific problems your website is trying to solve. Perfect design is as much an art as it is a technical endeavor, and it requires a cross-functional team of design and software specialists. On our list, you will find Joomla specialists that have been evaluated against our custom criteria for choosing the best web design companies.
Another critical factor is the agency’s ability to migrate content and data from one website, possibly based on another CMS, to a new CMS (Joomla) and database. This may not apply to all clients, but there are many who want to switch from one CMS to another. If the agency has this capability, it saves a significant amount of time in the website development process, as well as the cost of hiring a separate Joomla freelancer or agency for the migration.
These are some basic services that any website owner would require over an extended period of time. You could train in-house resources to manage these aspects, and it helps if the developer provides this training. Nevertheless, it reflects even better on the agency if it can commit to these services in its contract.
Content is an integral part of any website, and many clients end up hiring another agency or freelancer to create it. The top Joomla web development agencies will have their in-house teams take over this responsibility to simplify things for their clients.
Your website isn’t much use if it doesn’t attract traffic by ranking well in search engine results. Most top-quality agencies boast experienced SEO marketing teams that not only produce an effective website but also work with the client to fine-tune the features that drive consistent high-volume traffic to the site.
Of course, digital marketing is not limited to SEO. The best Joomla agencies are truly full-service in their capabilities, with expertise in all aspects that full-service digital marketing firms offer including PPC, social media, content, email, and more.
Is the agency agile? What tools does it use for project management? In the traditional waterfall model of project management, the process is sequential, going through clear-cut phases of requirement analysis, design, implementation, testing, and maintenance. This process means you wait a long time before you can check whether the final product works the way you want.
You’ll now see that most companies providing Joomla web design services have adopted the agile model. This method allows for close user involvement, greater transparency, iterative planning, cross-functional execution, and continuous feedback. Clients on the receiving end of the agile model are likely to see greater customer satisfaction, improved project control, reduced risks, better product quality, and a faster ROI.
There are ways to see if an agency follows the agile model. We check how well the team accepts changes during the development process and how open they are to client involvement. How much access does the agency give its clients? What does it use for bug tracking?
Does the Joomla web developer bill by the hour or by project? While either system is fine, an agency should be perfectly clear about its pricing model. Additionally, we check if the company’s rates follow industry standards. And finally, if the agency offers long-term support, it should offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for retained hours.
Last but not least, here are a few aspects we suggest keeping in mind once you’ve decided to hire a Joomla developer:
There you have it. A comprehensive guide that we are sure will help you zero in on the best partner for your needs. Joomla is a versatile CMS that can build a high-performing website—but being slightly more complex than WordPress, it requires a bit of expertise. With the help of the pointers we shared in this article, you should be able to find the perfect Joomla web development firm—an agency that doesn’t just excel in the technical aspects of Joomla but also scores well in terms of cultural fit, agile project management, and value for money.