70-80% of consumers research a business online before becoming its customers. If you want to make a positive first impression, check out our list of the top performing web development companies and find your perfect partner. Ranked based on a custom-tailored evaluation process, there are agencies for businesses of every niche and size. You will also find a detailed guide to help you make the final choice.
We devised a unique methodology to evaluate the agencies objectively and provide you with an accurate picture of their quality. We approached the companies from multiple angles, assessing their technical skills, coding prowess, past experience, and project management style, as well as other key factors like user satisfaction, transparency, and communication.
The evaluation process is done manually because we believe algorithms cannot provide meaningful context. The following section breaks down every step of the process in detail.
Our journey starts with a website visit. We genuinely believe that an apt web development company should have a responsive website that is easy to navigate and well formatted. In other words, we try to determine whether the agency can do for themselves what they are trying to sell to clients. Although this is not a decisive factor, it’s still noteworthy.
Once we’ve scouted the agency’s site, it’s time to look at their portfolio. The collection of their past work gives us information about how long are they on the market, what’s their experience in the field, and how many projects they have executed. Although a new kid on the block can perform as well as already established companies, it’s best to have your work with trusted professionals.
Going a step further, we take a look at the case studies. They should also detail the development process of the agency from brief to completion, so we can get a better idea of what clients can expect. As biased as cases studies might seem, they demonstrate the agency’s capabilities and expertise. Of course, if case studies aren’t readily available, it doesn’t mean the company isn’t worth their salt.
Web design is the basis upon which web developers, well, develop. True, you can get your website designed elsewhere, but it’s much better to have it done by the same team. Why? Because there will be no problems with the functional aspects of it when bringing the design to life by coding.
Your website is your bridge to potential customers, and you want it to be as visible and well-thought-of as possible. You can always outsource and hire a dedicated SEO agency or choose a full-service digital marketing expert. However, a top web development agency will provide basic search engine optimization and inbound marketing, as well as quality content as part of their strategy.
To ensure your company will be provided with more business opportunities, we check what’s the agency’s take on SEO and other inbound marketing strategies. Again, we discover such things by going through their past work and customer reviews. If necessary, we conduct interviews with the project managers using our dedicated section with questions about inbound marketing strategy.
For your site to be visible and accessible, it needs to be hosted on a server. One of the most important things to consider about web development providers is whether they handle web hosting. The ideal provider should be able to sort this for you. To find out whether the agencies provide hosting we check the service list of each one of them.
Some web development companies won’t provide this service but will recommend a partner agency that will handle this. In such cases, we conduct interviews to find out what kind of hosting the agency’s partner company provides, what security measures do they take, and how do they handle CMS updates.
It only makes sense that you want a fully functional website instead of an online design with zero useful features. The website development companies we have on our list are ones that can build a website from scratch – from design to database connectivity. We look for the capabilities of the company by going through their case studies and portfolios.
The full-stack developers listed here are known to maintain the highest standards of excellence, find the most effective solutions, and provide strong technical leadership. Moreover, they have a proven track record of delivering innovation and creativity through unique coding.
As a rule of thumb, a full-stack developer excels in:
Online stores have significantly different requirements rather than informative websites. We have curated a list of dedicated ecommerce developers but also made sure that the web development firms on this list have experience in the ecommerce field and are able to connect various databases for stocking, delivery, customer info, and so on.
There is an overwhelming number of platforms to choose from, yet there are several open-source ones we specifically look for to find out if the agency is a good fit for ecommerce website development such as WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop, and X Cart.
Your website must look and behave the same on both desktop and handheld devices and, by checking the portfolios of the agencies, we made sure that all of the above-listed web developers deliver mobile-optimized websites.
The past projects that the web development firm has completed give us insight into their expertise and quality, how successful it is when it comes to serving their clients, how many mobile responsive sites have they developed in the past as well as how they did so.
What happens if you want to make changes to the plan and what about support after the site is live? We test the support of the agencies and check user reviews on the web to see how responsive they are. The best web dev agency should take a collaborative approach to address any problems that might arise during and after the process of making a website.
Checking the customer reviews and testimonials is among the most important steps when choosing the best web development companies, with the latter being more important to us. Anyone can put up a portfolio of beautiful designs, but we need client satisfaction for more precise insight into their performance that will confirm whether the company delivers all that they promised.
Web development isn’t the most affordable thing in the world so it’s necessary to hire a company that will serve cost-effectively. To ensure this, we cross-tabulate the prices of top web development agencies and see if they are worth the price based on market prices and quality of services they are providing.
If you’re going for an onshore company, ask if you can meet them. Meeting their team or, at least, representatives means a lot, and it might influence your decision in choosing their agency as the best web development company for you.
Project management plays a huge role in the development process and can vary from agency to agency. Virtually every firm has developed their own process. Knowing what their process is, how they implement it, and how they manage projects will help you understand whether the agency is the right fit for you.
How a project is managed can have a significant impact on its success. The two most popular methodologies are Waterfall a.k.a the “traditional” approach and Agile – a specific type of Rapid Application Development often implemented using Scrum.
In the Waterfall methodology, the process of development is streamlined, passing phases one by one. The transition from one stage to another happens only after the previous one is completed. This methodology follows a strict structure of work, which is why it’s the better choice for short projects.
Agile is a team-based, time-focused approach to development that enables creating a project incrementally, dividing it into phases called “sprints.” Each sprint has set deliverables and defined the duration. Agile allows changes and adaptations at any step and relies much on customer involvement especially during the review process through the daily build and end-of-sprint demos.
In the process of web developing, you can’t afford to run the risk of mismanagement. That’s why your web development team should use tools like Asana, Basecamp, or Trello to take care of all project-related communication. Each of these tools is designed to help you track project statuses, understand where your money is being spent, set milestones and meet deadlines effectively.
Planning the website is an essential step because it represents the basic outline of the site. This process involves creating a wireframe and sitemap to give the developer insight into what the site will look like and how the pages will interact with each other.
The top web developers will ensure they are building the right website by conducting research which would involve positioning and targeting the market. Furthermore, they would take special note of your goals and your unique brand identity as essential components of a successful website.
The software architecture is the scheme on which the efficiency of the system depends. Good software architecture should be strong yet easy to maintain. Also, it should be flexible and usable in the long-term, as well as adaptable to changing requirements. Most importantly, the software framework needs to be communicated properly, which leads us to the next point.
UML is a visual language used to communicate detailed information about software architecture efficiently. The UML diagrams are deemed to be an integral part of web development that is easily recognized and understood. They help in evaluating performance, tracking, and security. UML diagrams are highly flexible – the modeling elements and interactions in a UML diagram can be easily customized to suit the specific domain or technologies used.
The best web development company will provide documents created during the planning phase. These documents define the site architecture and identify the essential creative and technical requirements. Mainly, they provide insight into how the business brand is to be applied to the website, what is the overall online strategy, what framework will be used, how will marketing be integrated, what are the site features, and more.
Commenting the code is essential to note as it helps in extending the project in the future. They should describe and explain complicated code those who might be working on it in the future. Also, comments can help you remove sections of the code during site testing and debugging while also leaving them available for later use.
Studies indicate that 40%-60% of all hickups found in software projects can be traced back to mistakes made while gathering requirements. Use Cases integrate these requirements into a package that describes the interaction of the user with the system. This is where users and domain experts play an important role. Other stakeholders also have valuable input – they can easily understand the Use Cases and eliminate misunderstandings about the functionality of the system.
Version control systems enable you to keep track of the changes made to the code. They help streamline the development process while keeping the history of changes within the code. GitHub and Bitbucket are among the most used version control systems.
In the tech sphere, skills become obsolete quickly. That’s why you need to choose the best web development agency which has an adept team that is able to embrace new technology trends and loves learning.
Choosing the back-end technology depends on the technical capability of the web development team. From Node JS to PHP to Ruby – there are many different languages available to web developers, and each of them has different characteristics, ecosystems, and support which will influence the decision-making process. A great web developer will make the backend user-friendly and functional for your customers and for your team.
A framework will make the web development process more effective because it provides pre-written solutions for features and functions commonly used on sites. Chances are, the web app development company you choose has a framework or platform they use the most. Your job is to make sure that the framework is one that other web developers will be able to work should you need to change the web dev partner.
Another critical thing to consider before partnering up with a web development agency is how popular are the technologies they use. This is very important because you want to assure other web development experts can find easily the technologies used in case you want to change your agency in the future.
Security is one of the most important things in the process of website creation. Your web dev provider should provide security and maintenance of the plugins and CMS to ensure the site’s optimal performance. We make sure to evaluate the web developers against our criteria for cyber security providers before listing them here.
Still, before closing a deal, make sure that they will inform you what's their take on securing web apps and APIs. Moreover, consider whether they have experienced DDOS attacks and if they implement CDN. Finally, ask them if they test Use Cases to discover vulnerabilities, and whether they use automated tools like Black Box Scanner to identify weaknesses or they conduct a manual search.
More technologies-related things to consider before hiring a web development partner:
Every other programmer can develop a website – an efficient code is what differentiates great website developers from programmers. They should be able to ensure maximum work with minimum code.
A professional web development firm would provide server-side scripting optimization for better performance of the website. Also, consider what kind of performance metrics can they promise on your website. Speed and reliability should be among them.
SEO, for instance, is a quite technical thing which programmers should understand to give marketing edge for the website. You need to ask them whether they develop with SEO in mind. This means the use of canonical tags, no duplicate pages, easy ways to update content, descriptions, and meta titles. Web development companies are expected to be able to take care of content highlighting to make it more readable and improve time on site which, in turn, will help in improving search rankings and conversions.
More things to consider:
It is vitally important to know who will be working on your website, how you can get in touch with them, and how frequently do they report on updates. It’s always better to choose one of the web development agencies with nearshore teams over agencies that outsource their work because, that way, you can be in close contact with the person whose hands are on your website. Also, it’s advisable that you meet in person the team working on your site so you can exchange ideas and thoughts first-hand.
Before hiring the agency, you need to make clear for yourself what type of website you want. A web app, a CMS, a simple custom-made website with content, an ecommerce website, or a business website with landing pages that can convert well – all these website types differentiate in many ways including content and functionality, which is why you need to decide what are you going for before hiring the agency. This information will help them get a clear picture of your expectations and will start working towards the set goal immediately.
Web development prices vary greatly depending on the project and the company you opt for. Naturally, custom website development will cost you more than website templates. You will get the most accurate information after consulting with the company of your choosing. Web developers will be able to set a budget frame only after they see the requirements and understand all the details about your site, they.
This, too, depends on the complexity of the site in question, as well as the features and functionalities you want to be added. Most developers have a clear process in place and will be able to give you a rough estimate of how long it will take to get the website up and running. You should keep in mind that the whole process might take a while, but it’s important not to rush it - you wouldn’t want to launch a half-finished website, would you?
Web design and web development are two different aspects of the website building process. Each of them requires a unique set of skills. Web design refers to the aesthetics and usability of a website while web development has a goal to bring the web design to life and make a fully functional website. However, you can easily find a web design company that also provides web development services and vice versa.
Considering the growing number of mobile device users, it’s fair to state that having a mobile-responsive site isn’t a requirement - it’s a must. Mobile responsiveness will not only ensure that your users have a great experience, but it will also increase the visibility of your site on search engines. Luckily, you can find a bunch of great mobile and web development companies on our list.
Choosing the coding language should be discussed with the chosen agency. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach - it depends on the features and functionalities you want your site to have.
WordPress and Drupal are the most common platforms of choice; however, some web development companies will work with other ones or build a custom one for you. The choice of the CMS depends on the complexity of the website and how easy you want to add or edit content.