With hundreds of qualified agencies available on platforms like Agency Spotter, you may be lead to believe that every agency provides a basic understanding of good design/development best practices. Having worked in various capacities among different agencies from larger entities like Havas and G2 to smaller independent shops, I can guarantee that all firms are not created equal.
Never fear, even if you have never written a single line of code and don’t know how to tell the different between a good agency and bad, below are some starting points and questions for clients to ask their future or more importantly their current agency.
Many platforms, including Magento and Shopify provide certifications or a vetting process. This is similiar to having an insurance policy. Ensure the Agency or developer involved in your project is certified.
There are 3 types of certifications for Magento listed here:
The certifications are rigorous exams that test a developers practical knowledge of Magento. Choosing a certified agency is important to ensure you are working with a firm that truly understands Magento.
Shopify has a list of certified partners who are vetted by the company. Shopify partners have demonstrated their experience on the platform. Shopify list all of their partners here
List Pixafy certification for Magento and Shopify
While WooCommerce doesn’t have an official certification, platforms like WordPress Interns ensure that best practices and procedures are followed by both developers and end users to ensure security is top notch.
2. Staging and Production Environments
Every website on the web should always have a staging and production environment. A staging environment ensures that all changes are tested, quality assured, and passed UAT before being pushed to the live site. If your developer or agency is not doing this, it’s time to find a new agency or developer.
3. Team vs Single Developer
This is an important decision. Whether to choose a team or single developer for your project will be determined on how much technical talent you have in house in addition to your budget.
Do you already have a WordPress, Shopify, or Magento front end, backend, and QA developer on staff and just occasionally need extended support? Or do you need a full team?
At Alpha Beta Creatives, our team consist of highly skilled project managers, backend, front end developers and Quality Assurance Engineers.
Wordpress, Shopify, and Magento are all capable platforms with varying levels of complexity and sophistication. Your budget will partly be responsible for the platform that is the right fit. A Magento build will generally cost more than Shopify build, which will generally cost more than a Wordpres build. Just as a Magento certified developer will most likely cost more than a non-certified developer.
5. Strategy Team
How important is having a strategy team for your online business? Is this something the agency provides? This does not refer to which coding structure to use, but rather the other aspects of the web build. Business analysis and analytics, user experience, marketing strategy. Having a single team that is able to handle both web strategy and web development can be critical to your online success.