Best web development company websites

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Updated: 5/3/2020

Web design reviews

As part of our market research, I wanted to find and review the best web development company websites. The goal was for us to ensure we are competing with the best and perhaps get some ideas for improvements. While doing the research I thought it may be useful for others if I document the process so here we are.

The first step was to find the top agencies and I did this by searching Google for "Website design agency <location>" and looking at the top organic results. Google is an expert at figuring out relevant authorities so I am going to take their word for it that these agencies are the best in their location. I am just going to cover a few of the biggest population cities in the UK for now as that's where we are based. If you want to feature in a website review in an upcoming blog post get in touch.

Website Ranking factors

Page Speed

One of the most important factors to consider when reviewing any website is page speed. The reason for this is simple if a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load then users will either not wait around or consider it a bad experience so I have run google page insights on all agency websites. Checkout Seoclarity for an in-depth article on why page speed matters.

In fairness to all websites (including our own) the performance tool was only ran once for each client as scores can vary on each run.

Design

I ran a small survey with 10 participants to score the website designs out of 5 stars, then I averaged out the results to the nearest whole number. It is worth bearing in mind that an agency website might be tailored to a certain niche or audience so may work better for other groups of people. it's kind of hard to judge a design based on a small survey but I feel like the results are accurate.

Issues

I took a quick look through each site and made notes on any issues I found when browsing. I then gave a rating out of 5 (5 meaning no obvious issues). If you notice any issues with our site let us know and we will adjust our rating until we have a fix.

Results

Agency Name Location Screenshot Desktop Speed Mobile Speed Design Score Stability
Creative Brand Design London creative brand design mobile screenshot Creative Brand Design page insights desktop score screenshot Creative Brand Design page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star star star
Shape Manchester shape mobile screenshot Shape page insights desktop score screenshot Shape page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star star
Alt Agency Birmingham alt agency mobile screenshot Alt Agency page insights desktop score screenshot Alt Agency page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star
Evoluted Sheffield Evoluted mobile screenshot Shape page insights desktop score screenshot Shape page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star star star
Grizzly Bristol Grizzly mobile screenshot Grizzly page insights desktop score screenshot Grizzly page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star
Maratopia Leeds Maratopia mobile screenshot Maratopia page insights desktop score screenshot Maratopia page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star
Think Zap Glasgow Think Zap mobile screenshot Think Zap page insights desktop score screenshot Think Zap page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star star
Blue Frontier UK Blue Frontier mobile screenshot Shape page insights desktop score screenshot Shape page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star
Outible Liverpool Outible mobile screenshot Outible page insights desktop score screenshot Grizzly page insights mobile score screenshot star star star star star star star star star

Website features and issues

This section goes into further detail about what each website does well, the issues and possible improvements.



Creative Brand Design - London

Best website features
  • COVID notice at the top of the page lets clients know they are still available for work
  • Great design, colour scheme and fonts work well
  • Ajax contact form
  • Individual pages for completed work with in-depth details of implementation
  • Google partner and GDPR compliance
  • Awesome "Project Planner" with clear outlining of functionality
Issues
  • Text colour clashes on portfolio page (white background with white text)
  • Cannot see the outline of form fields on the contact form so it could be confusing where to click
  • Small presence on social media

See Website



Shape - Manchester

Best website features
  • Big social media presence
  • Video testimonials
  • Very professional looking team pictures
  • Solid FAQ page
  • Simple contact page with good client-side validation
  • Lots of 5 star Google reviews
Issues
  • The phone link has an incorrect phone number (resolved tick)
  • Horizontal scroll issue (Resolution width 1280+)

See Website



Alt Agency - Birmingham

Best website features
  • Live chat
  • COVID notice at the top of the page lets clients know they are still available for work
  • Interesting blog posts
  • Interesting completed projects
Issues
  • Feedback from the survey mentions the colour scheme
  • The contact form sends a request before validation so if a user does not enter anything there will be a full page reload before the validation error is shown. Ideally, the validation should happen in real-time and the form should use ajax so the user does not have a full page reload
  • An interactive map on the contact page might be useful for visitors who want directions to visit the office

See Website



Evoluted - Sheffield

Best website features
  • Best page speed on desktop devices
  • The colour scheme had great feedback from the survey
  • Good video content on the home screen
  • Real-time validation on the contact form
  • Nice maps directions feature and parking info
  • I could not find any obvious issue with their web site

See Website



Grizzly - Bristol

Best website features
  • Live chat
  • Cool Parallax image effect and component animations
  • Great explanation of each service
  • Share buttons on blogs for social media
Issues
  • When using a VPN on a mobile device a Captcha screen is displayed which is impossible to pass
  • The loading spinner takes a long time, performance should be worked on for mobile
  • The phone number and email address links did not work (tested on iPhone 11)
  • Navbar is Jumpy on mobile

See Website



Maratopia - Leeds

Best website features
  • The marketing guide downloads
  • Free digital advice
Issues
  • The text of the latest posts section of the footer is hard to read due to the colour contrast
  • The marketing page downloads form has padding issues with text and the image text does not fit in the cropped image circle
  • Generic error message on contact form does not specify which filed was wrong and all previously filled form fields are lost
  • Several JS console errors
  • The worst score for mobile performance

See Website



Think Zap - Glasgow

Best website features
  • Really simple but effective design
  • The Drum recommended and Google Partner
  • AJAX contact form
Issues
  • The contact form requires a request to validate
  • No real pictures of the team
  • Worst page speed on desktop devices

See Website



Blue Frontier - UK

Best website features
  • Partners with both Google and Microsoft
  • ISO standards
  • Awards
  • Cool component switching Team members images
Issues
  • Mobile performance could be improved
  • Home page banner moving around awkwardly on mobile

See Website



Best website by ranking factors

Trophy Best mobile page speed: Outible

Trophy Best desktop page speed: Creative Brand Agency / Evoluted

Trophy Best design: Creative Brand Agency

Trophy Most stable: Evoluted

Trophy Best content: Shape

Conclusion

All of the websites reviewed were great in their own right but if I were to choose a personal favourite I would go for either Evoluted or the Creative Brand Design website. There were no serious issues on either. Evoluted has awesome desktop performance and The CBD agency website scored highest in the web design survey.

Reviewing all of the best web development company websites has been a time-consuming task but we have learnt a lot along the way which will help us continue the constant improvements to our agency website. We would love to hear some feedback from the web design community on our website so if anyone is up to the task then be sure to tag us in your post.

Legal

This blog post contains the honest opinion of the author regarding all websites reviewed. Screenshots are legal under the Criticism and review copyright exceptions. All website issues stated are live on said websites at the time of writing and have been recorded for evidence, these are available upon request. Feel free to get in touch if an issue is resolved or performance is improved and we will update the blog post accordingly.

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