While having an aesthetically-pleasing and functional website is crucial for virtually any website, arguably, it’s even more important for startups.
Startups, being new businesses, cannot initially rely on popularity and reputation to attract prospects and customers. On the other hand, it’s likely that your website will be the very first impression prospective customers will have of your brand.
An attractive, engaging, and fully functional website can encourage visitors to learn more about your startup and, hopefully, make their purchase from you. Yet, if your website is poorly designed, loads low, or is not mobile responsive, they may leave it immediately and turn to your competitors instead.
Fortunately, nowadays, building a professional website is much easier and more affordable than ever, with so many credible and cost-effective website development companies available in the market.
Yet, with so many different options available, choosing the right one to partner with that can cater to your startup’s unique needs (and available budget) can be quite a daunting task.
With that being said, in this article, we will review 7 of the best web development companies available today in 2022. Further below we will also share some actionable tips you can use when weighing between different web development agencies for your startup.
Let us begin right away.
Top 7 Website Development Companies for Startups in 2022
1.Nine Peaks Media
Nine Peaks Media is a full-service digital marketing agency based in Toronto, Canada, working with clients worldwide, with website development being one of its core services.
Nine Peaks isn’t only focused on delivering a well-designed, functional website for startups, SaaS, and tech companies but also on ensuring these websites rank on the first page of Google to ensure a steady flux of organic traffic to the website.
Above all, no matter how well-designed and professional-looking a website is, it won’t bring value to your startup unless you can attract a sizable amount of visitors.
On the other hand, remember that startups can’t rely on their reputation (at least initially) to generate traffic.
This is where having a web development company that is also capable of implementing SEO to ensure sustainable organic traffic can be very important.
A2Design is a full-cycle web (and also mobile application) development company specializing in the development and maintenance of startup websites.
A2Design offers a strategic approach to startup website development. Before committing to a partnership with A2design, they will schedule a meeting (for free) with you to discover your project, and they will then give you a comprehensive proposal covering an action plan for your project, technical architecture suggestions, and roadmap.
They will explain all details related to your website development, and you can then decide whether to go ahead with the proposal or not.
Also, being a full-cycle agency, they will continue supporting your website maintenance after the launch date.
WeKnowSEO, as the name suggests, is another agency that offers SEO services as a core part of its web development strategy.
However, if you decide to partner with WeKnowSEO, you’ll get an all-in-one service package, including but not limited to:
- A fully-functional, SEO-ready website
- Tidying up assets being used by other websites/media
- Mobile-friendly and/or mobile responsiveness.
- Analytics for visitors and conversion tracking
WeKnowSEO can help you in developing a web development strategy for virtually any type of website: a standard business website, a custom-tailored website for a specific niche/industry, a portfolio website, eCommerce, and so on. All websites developed by WeKnowSEO will also be optimized for mobile devices.
Being a full-service marketing agency, if you decide to use WeKnowSEO’s web development service, you’ll also be eligible to get discounts on WeKnowSEO’s internet marketing services.
GrayCyan is a great choice for a web development agency, especially for startups who already have existing websites on WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, and other popular web builder platforms.
This is because GrayCyan specializes in website migration, and they can also help startups migrate and update their websites both in terms of design and functionality.
However, if you’d like to build a brand new website from scratch, GrayCyan is also a cost-effective choice.
GrayCyan also offers SEO optimization services, and they specifically believe that WordPress-based websites have advantages when it comes to SEO.
It offers a wide variety of friendly, non-binding monthly packages, making it a great choice for startups of all sizes and budgets.
Lounge Lizard has been one of the most well-known web development agencies for more than two decades, having been around since 1998.
It’s also a full-service agency, providing all-in-one services including but not limited to:
- Brand strategy
- Custom high-end and/or highly technical website
- SEO services
- Digital marketing across multiple channels
- Sales/conversion rate optimization
Based in New York, Lounge Lizard isn’t the most affordable web development agency available, let alone on this list. However, Lounge Lizard’s price is actually justified, considering it has worked with big clients like Disney, Vox, Marvel, and others.
If you are a startup that’d like to emphasize quality and especially looking to build an aesthetically-pleasing website, Lounge Lizard will be worth every penny.
Bop Design is a web development company, and full-service marketing agency focused on the B2B industry. In fact, Bop Design dubbed itself as “The B2B Agency” on its website.
Bop Design has expertise and experience to help you in various marketing projects: web design and web development for your startup, content marketing, social media marketing, branding, and so on.
If you are a B2B startup looking for a web development agency that can also help in building brand awareness and maintaining a positive online reputation, Bop Design can be a great partner for your startup in achieving its goals.
Having been around since 1989, ScienceSoft is a US-based company specializing in full-cycle web development services with services ranging from standard web design, UX and UI designs, end-to-end web and mobile app development, CMS, and more.
Despite being an established web development company, ScienceSoft offers a pretty competitive price, making it quite ideal for startups that often struggle with a limited budget early on.
Also, ScienceSoft has a dedicated team to help them follow and monitor the latest web design trends both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. This is to ensure all website developed by ScienceSoft stays competitive in the current market.
A cost-effective solution, promising both aesthetically pleasing and functionally-sound websites for your startups.
What to Look for in a Web Development Company?
While your startup’s needs in a web development company will be unique depending on many different factors, there are three prerequisite factors to look for:
Reviewing the web development company’s portfolio can give your startup a pretty good bird’s eye view of its capabilities and level of expertise.
It’s important, however, to not solely focus on aesthetics when evaluating the websites showcased in the portfolio but also on functionality and UX (User Experience.) Even the most beautiful website won’t bring your startup much value if your visitors can’t navigate the menu easily or if the website is lagging all the time.
When evaluating prospective agencies’ portfolios, you should consider:
- Whether they closely follow the latest web development trends, both in terms of design and technology implementations
- The varieties of their design approaches (if any.) Check whether the agency is using the same structure, navigation menu, images, etc.
- Not an absolute dealbreaker, but check whether any of their websites have won any awards or accolades.
- Check whether their websites are mobile-friendly and load fast. Test on as many devices as possible.
Reviewing portfolios will give you valuable insights into a web development agency’s capabilities, industry experience, creativity, and more.
This one is pretty explanatory. You’d want to work with a web development company with enough experience in web design and also preferably enough experience with other clients in your industry/niche.
When evaluating a prospective agency’s experience, you’d want to look for several things:
- Are they an established company or still in the startup phase?
- How long have they been in the web development field?
- Do they have experience in:
- Developing websites for your industry/niche?
- Developing websites that are similar to what you are looking for? Websites that have produced results you’re also expecting?
- Developing websites with functionalities and features you’re going to need on your website?
It’s also a good idea to check the average size of clients the web development company has worked with. If, for example, they typically serve clients that are bigger than your startup, they might underestimate you as a client (even unintentionally), and you may feel ignored in the process.
On the other hand, if you would be the largest client they have worked with, they might not have much experience working at your scale and might not be able to deliver your needs.
Evaluate your options carefully when it comes to experience.
Whether the web development agency has a suitable agency culture that aligns with yours is a very important factor when considering different agencies. Remember that you may need to spend a lot of time with them throughout the project.
While it’s relatively difficult to assess agency culture, you should be able to observe some elements of their working style when evaluating a web development company, for example, by:
- Monitoring their social media activities and interactions. If their social media feeds are active and there are a sizable number of interactions from satisfied clients or previous clients, it’s a good sign.
- Reviewing their team/management pages. You can learn about their team members and working style.
- Checking whether they have been recently involved in their local community.
To more accurately evaluate agency culture, schedule to physically meet your potential agencies. During these meetings, assess whether they are a good fit for your company and personality. Weigh whether they listen to your ideas and whether they are excited about working with you.
How To Choose The Best Web Development Company for Your Business
Even with the top 7 web development companies reviews we’ve covered above, we understood choosing the right partner for your website development can still be a daunting task.
This is why we’ve prepared some actionable tips to help you choose your perfect web design agency according to your startup’s unique needs.
Let us begin:
1. Define your objectives and requirements for achieving these objectives
Before even starting to look for web development companies, it’s very important to first know the purpose of building this website in the first place.
Your website should assist your startup in achieving its goals and not just something pretty you can showcase online. Treat your website as an important business tool: your digital storefront and a core marketing channel.
While the purposes and objectives of having a website can vary, here are examples you can consider:
- Build awareness and amplify your brand’s reach
- Generate qualified leads for your startup
- Integrate with other marketing channels (i.e., email marketing, social media marketing) and support each other
- Allow users to purchase your product/service on the website (eCommerce,) including collecting donations and subscription-based payments for startups with recurring payment business models.
- Allow users to fill out forms on your site for many different purposes (i.e., surveys, newsletter sign-up, join a free trial, etc.)
Once you’ve identified your objective(s), then you can identify the requirements and must-have features you’ll need from the website to help you achieve this objective. For example:
- If you want to drive more sales to the website, then eCommerce functionality is obviously a must-have
- SSL certificate (HTTPS protocol) is a must-have for practically any website nowadays
- If you are in the healthcare industry, you’ll need the website to be HIPAA-compliant
- If you plan to regularly publish content, then you’ll need an SEO-friendly blog section
And so on.
In short, you should choose a web development agency based on your needs and your objectives, not the other way around.
2. Decide on Your Budget and Timeline
Next, based on these objectives and requirements, define your budget and timeline. Define the upper limit of your budget so you can filter out potential agencies based on whether they are within your price range.
Also, decide on your timeline.
For example, if your website is urgent and you definitely need the website to be live within a month or earlier (i.e., to showcase to potential investors), then you’ll need a web development company that is available and is capable of fulfilling this timeline requirement.
4. Check online reviews and testimonies
When reviewing different web development agencies, the first thing you should do is to check out their portfolio and list of previous clients. However, you should also read online reviews and (if any) testimonials from previous clients of the web development companies you are considering.
You can start by searching for online reviews on Google, as well as on reviews sites like Yelp. Many agencies also showcase testimonials on their own websites.
These online reviews and testimonials are a good way to assess how satisfied these previous clients are with the developed websites. Also, check whether these reviewers mentioned the level of customer service they received and if they mentioned any specific employee/team member by name.
However, if the prospective agency’s website is the only place you can find reviews on them, then you should be reasonably suspicious. If possible, contact the previous clients they’ve listed to confirm their claims.
3. Evaluate social media and online presence
You’re going to give this web design agency the responsibility of establishing your online presence, so it would only make sense to evaluate how they manage theirs.
Does their website look well-designed and fully functional? Evaluate whether they have the right balance in approach between aesthetics and functionality, and note things you liked and didn’t like from the website.
Also, check the web development company’s social presence, especially on the five major social networks: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Instagram and Pinterest are especially great places if you are trying to get a feel of the agency’s design approaches.
Their social media profiles can also be a great indication of how credible and trustworthy the web development company is. Assess whether their profiles are complete with
5. Carefully evaluate portfolio and project results
Most credible web development companies will make their portfolio available on their website, so make sure to take a look and check if you like their previous work.
A credible web development company will build bespoke websites according to the client’s requirements. So, you should look for variety in their designs when evaluating the portfolio. If every website they’ve created is similar to each other, you’ll get a similar website, too (which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences.)
Also, check whether the web development agency published figures and statistics to show how the websites they’ve developed have helped their clients’ businesses in a tangible way (i.e., generated more leads, drove more eCommerce sales, etc.) If they do publish these facts and numbers, it’s a good sign.
6. Ask family, colleagues, and other businesses for recommendations
When looking for an ideal web development company for your startup, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from friends and family, as well as business partners and vendors.
Also, if you stumbled upon websites that you like on the internet, check whether the web development company is credited on the website (typically in the footer of the site.)
You can also talk to other startups and businesses in the area and ask for recommendations.
7. Evaluate workflow and timeline
How fast will you need your website to be launched?
Ultimately, you have to set a clear deadline for the website development project and try to find a web development agency that can realistically meet this deadline.
Be aware, however, of agencies that promise delivery times that are too good to be true.
Even if you’ll only need a simple website or a redesign, the fastest you can hope for is around two or three weeks. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to take approval, revisions, and unforeseen circumstances into account.
Also, ask the agency about how their workflow/process will be. A credible agency will be transparent with its process and will be honest about the expectations for your project. Don’t forget to also assess the agency’s current workload. If they are currently too busy, consider delaying the kick-off of the project until they are a bit more available or choose another agency.
8. Don’t be afraid to get in touch
Once you’ve conducted some research, you should be able to create a shortlist of the ideal candidates you’d like to interview personally. Keep the list short, no more than five agencies, and give these on the list a call or email.
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting in touch with these agencies personally. You’ll be able to get clearer insights into several factors you’d otherwise miss from mere online research:
- Whether it’s comfortable to work with the web development company (whether they have the right “vibe.”) It’s difficult to evaluate unless you actually chat with a representative
- How’s their customer service? Are they friendly and helpful enough?
- Do they seem like people you could actually work with?
If everything checks during the first phone call or email correspondence, you can schedule a visit to their company to know them better (or a virtual meeting/video conference.) Use this opportunity to discuss your needs and expectations and narrow down your shortlist if you can.
In this article, we’ve covered and reviewed 7 of the best web development companies for startups.
Each of them has its own specialties and advantages over the others, so you should carefully research your options and decide on the best possible partner for your startup.
Above, we have also shared some actionable tips to help you choose the right web development company for your business. Above anything else, it’s important to remember that your startup is unique, so evaluate your needs and your budget before deciding on a partnership.