If you’re training for a marathon, one of the most important things you’ll need is a reliable pair of running shoes. There are a number of factors you will consider before purchasing the perfect pair. Sure price is important, but other things like brand, comfort and style are all things you will take into consideration. Plus, you’ll want a pair that will last long term and fit you perfectly.

Much like a pair of running shoes, not all web development partners will be the perfect fit for you and your company. When searching for the ideal web development partner, think about which company is most likely to help your organization achieve your business goals and grow your business. This process may seem a bit overwhelming at first, so we’ve outlined seven things to consider when searching for a web development partner that is right for you.

1. Responsiveness

Communication can make or break just about any project. It is therefore crucial that your web development partner understands your needs, wants and requirements for the project from the start. Typically, a company’s level of responsiveness in handling your initial inquiries is an early indication of how they operate their business. Qualified developers will be able to suggest the best course of action for your project and regularly ask questions to gain a clear vision of your requirements. To get to know the firm’s communication practices, ask them specifically. Will you have weekly meetings? Follow ups? Monthly strategy and reporting sessions? Learning the communications workflow and setting expectations between you and them will help with your decision making process.

2. Trusted Partner

Put the ‘us’ in trust by choosing a web development partner you find a connection with. If it’s the right fit, you’ll feel comfortable with the company and the conversations will be intuitive and engaging. Your web development partner should act as a trusted guide to consult and assist you in choosing the best plan for your business. There’s a difference between a company that simply asks, “what do you want” and one that seeks to understand the problems that you are trying to solve. It’s important that they are open with you about what they think is best for your business based on their expertise.

3. Comprehensive Services

If you want to avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen, consider a web development partner that offers comprehensive services. A company that has the ability to handle all aspects of your project, from the initial planning and strategy, to the design, development, testing, launch and marketing if needed, will be able to construct a comprehensive strategy for your website through all of the different development phases. It is typically easier to build a strong relationship and communicate with a single company rather than working with multiple vendors who may not understand how their part fits into the overall strategy.

4. Technical Skills and Expertise 

A good web development company should have skilled and certified designers and developers. You can get a sense of this by gathering information about their experience in working with the latest technologies in fields similar to yours. To guarantee maintainability, the developers should always be aware of the latest advances in technology and be well versed in them. One of the areas of expertise that is often overlooked is discovery and design. Skill sets in these areas allow web developers to help guide clients to the right solution based on a shared understanding of their business goals and challenges. Technical skills are important, but so is expertise in gaining an understanding for the audience the site will serve.

5. Credentials and testimonials 

When evaluating how reliable and credible a web development company is, it’s a good idea to look at their track record. A good web development company will showcase client testimonials or case studies on their website. This will provide you with important insights about their qualifications and expertise. If a company doesn’t display prior work online, ask for references from clients who had similar projects. Also check out their social media accounts and look for recommendations and reviews.

6. After Sales Support 

A good web development partner will vow to be with you after the honeymoon phase of the launch. It’s easy for businesses to solely focus on what is being created rather than what is coming next. However, it is crucial to think beyond the launch of your website in the rare chance that something might go wrong after delivery. Make sure your web development partner offers reliable support, maintenance, updates, upgrades and troubleshooting services for a reasonable amount of time after sales.

7. Budget 

It’s a good idea to keep your mind on the money as budget is an important factor of the business plan. Try to find a reasonable balance between software quality and cost. Certain companies may overprice their services to appear more credible. Don’t forget to look for hidden costs in a contract such as additional fees for document management, additional maintenance and in-person training.

Whether you’re a new business or striving to take your website to the next level, consider the most important qualities of a strategic partner and what type of organization is most likely to meet and exceed your business goals. There are many companies that specialize in web development, but not all of them care about your success and growth. Finding the one that “feels right” is essential to long-term success.