Hiring a Jamstack Agency: How to Find the One?
Assuming that you are already convinced about using Jamstack for your next project – be it a simple business static website, a new version of your online store, or a complex portal – the next step should be choosing the right Jamstack agency to develop it. And that’s what this article is about – to prepare you to make a well-informed, confident and simply good choice.
Assuming that you are already convinced about using Jamstack for your next project – be it a simple business static website, a new version of your online store, or a complex portal – the next step should be choosing the right Jamstack agency to develop it. And that's what this article is about – to prepare you to make a well-informed, confident and simply good choice.
What will you learn from this blog post?
The benefits of hiring a specialized agency
Why choosing the right agency is a challenge
How to recognize a good software house
The step-by-step process for choosing an agency
Benefits of Hiring a Specialized Jamstack Agency
Working with an experienced agency that has completed several Jamstack projects in the past significantly raises the chances of achieving the desired outcome. This is due to the many advantages that such an agency brings to the table.
Among them are:
Broad team of specialists
For a moment, let’s put the Jamstack development aside and imagine that you are building a house. Would you rather trust a company that’s been on the market for a while or a company that has never built a single home? Surely, you would choose the first one because of their relevant experience.
The reasons for that are the same as in the case of choosing an agency. The relevant experience that they have equates to the ability to advise and smoothly lead the project from start to finish. They know what they are doing (i.e. how to prepare a scope of work to meet requirements, budget and deadlines at the same time) because it’s not their first rodeo.
Additionally, hiring an agency that is specialized in Jamstack projects is generally a better idea than hiring an agency with no such experience. This is because Jamstack methodology is totally different, there are separate tools and frameworks, and more work with APIs is needed than in cases regarding monolithic architecture.
Sure, an agency that is skilled and experienced in monolithic projects – but not Jamstack – will probably be able to build Jamstack websites, but it will take them much longer and their cost and time estimations may not be accurate.
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In an ideal situation, the agency you want to work with would have some experience in your industry, i.e. a portfolio of completed projects for companies similar to yours.
Industry experience could also mean in-depth expertise in particular types of projects, like building performant online stores or multi-language corporate websites.
In both situations, the experienced agency will know things such as industry standards and customers expectations, how the UX/UI design should look like, which tools and frameworks to use, and what may and may not be done from a technical perspective.
Going further, industry expertise helps such an agency to match tools and solutions to the specificity of a particular industry. For example, a fashion eCommerce store and the website of a copywriting agency require different solutions to achieve their respective goals. A skilled agency knows how to choose these solutions.
Knowing the Industry's Specificity
Industry expertise helps an agency to match tools and solutions to the specificity of a particular industry. For example, a fashion eCommerce store and a website of a copywriting agency require different solutions to achieve goals. A skilled agency knows how to choose these solutions.
Broad team of specialists
A specialized agency can easily assemble a team of various specialists depending on the requirements and size of the particular project. It’s also entirely up to them to tell you who you need and why such people are needed to complete the project successfully.
In general, regardless of the project, you will need at least a project manager, UI/UX designer(s), front-end and back-end developers, and a quality assurance engineer. A decent agency will have the resources to fill every necessary role with specialists that have relevant skills and experience.
Additionally, a good agency might be flexible in terms of building a team. For example, if you have some in-house specialists like a brilliant project manager or skilled front-end developers, an experienced agency will make good use of their skills and experience.
An agency can deliver any project on time thanks to their experience, resources, and skills. Because of this, you will save time and money, but you will also have an opportunity to gather feedback from the first clients or end users as fast as possible, and make the necessary changes accordingly.
This also means that you can start getting the return on your investment in Jamstack faster, instead of waiting long months to see a profit.
While business is not entirely predictable, the Jamstack development process might be, if you choose the right agency. Predictability means that the outcome of the project will meet requirements, planned budget, and desired deadline at the same time. In other words, if you won’t change the scope of work during the project, it will be delivered on time without much hassle.
However, unpredictable things (like changes in scope of work) may happen and a good agency will let you know how they deal with such things before the start of the project.
Predictable in Unpredictability
Predictability means that the outcome of the project will meet requirements, planned budget, and desired deadline at the same time. However, unpredictable things (like changes in scope of work) may happen and a good agency will let you know how they deal with such things before the start of the project.
You may have an in-house development team already but they may not have the time or Jamstack skills to deliver the project the way you want. A skilled agency may partially support your team or take full responsibility for the project, thanks to their technical expertise.
The most important of these skills, however, are:
The ability to choose, recommend and interconnect most suitable technical solutions, such as frameworks, reusable APIs, static site generators, content delivery networks etc.
Practical knowledge of most popular Jamstack frameworks, such as React.js, Node.js and Vue.js
Competencies in creating Progressive Web Applications (PWA) and SaaS-based digital products
The development of several successful methods of work and project management, as well as friendly yet efficient ways of kicking off projects
Chances are that you have experienced a missed deadline more than once during various projects in the past. When it happens, it has a huge negative impact on your business and it means lost time and money. Of course, many different circumstances may occur during the development process, such as changes in the scope of work. However, an experienced agency will be prepared for that.
Why Might Choosing the Right Agency be a Challenge?
It would be nice to choose a Jamstack software house like a movie on a Saturday night – by browsing the Internet, checking the descriptions, and choosing the one you like the most. However, the proper selection process is a bit more complicated and you are risking much more than a few bucks for tickets.
Some of the reasons that may make the selection process hard include:
A lack of (technical) knowledge on your part – if you don’t know Jamstack well or if you haven’t had a chance to work with any digital agency yet (or both!), you may not know what to look for or the red flags to avoid
A lack of clear verification process – you may find a list of Jamstack agencies by using Google but, without a step-by-step, battle-tested process, you will probably fail at choosing the right one
A lack of defined outcomes that you want to achieve – if you don’t know your goal, how can you choose the agency that will help you achieve it?
While it may be overwhelming, the selection process should be at least a bit easier if you know how to recognize a good agency offering Jamstack web development services.
How to Recognize a High Performing Agency?
The main objective of the list you will find below is to show you what you should look for and expect from a good agency. You may treat it as a checklist. The more points you tick, the bigger the chances are that you’re making a good choice.
A good agency:
Has in-depth experience and expertise – simply put, you can be sure they will come up with the best solution. You can verify both without actually talking to the agency by taking a look at their list of completed projects and clients’ testimonials
Has a vision – they think outside the box to deliver the desired results and they also think long-term (i.e. what their client might need in the future). This way, the solution they will propose should be future-proof
Has a dynamic, goal-oriented approach to getting a project completed – circumstances may change, but their attitude won’t, as a good agency is goal-oriented with a laser focus to complete the project, so they adapt
Has enough resources – resources mean everything that’s needed to complete the project, such as experience, specialists, time, processes, briefs, tools and more
Has defined and verified processes in place – the agency should know things like what to do, how long it will take and what resources they need, all of which are organized in a logical order
Requires minimal onboarding and supervision – working with a good agency should feel like you have been working with them for ages, as they blend into the company naturally and without much attention from your team. Also, you don’t have to micromanage them or supervise them
Matches your company’s culture and geographical location – both these things aren’t technical-related but play a huge role in the smooth cooperation between both sides
By this point, you’ve learned about the profits of hiring a specialized agency, why choosing one is such a challenge, and even how to recognize a good agency. Now it’s time to proceed to the actual process of choosing.
The Step-by-step Process for Choosing a Software House
Following the process that we present below is supposed to help you make a good decision about the agency you will work with.
Step 1: Clearly set your business goal(s)
Start with setting up a clear and specific business goal (or goals) that you want to achieve with your new website, online store or application. This is a crucial step for a few reasons:
The agency needs to know what you want to achieve, so they can determine whether they can help you and how
It’s a great way to measure a website’s or online store’s success
It will impact decisions regarding Ui/UX design or the technologies that will be used in the planning stage of the development process
Business expansion and scaling – it could mean setting up new selling channels, or building a multi-language and multi-currency website or online store
Capturing leads – it could mean filled out contact forms, email sign-ups, or phone calls
Converting visitors – it could mean online purchases or subscriptions
Easier content management – it could mean a possibility to easily add and edit content given to non-technical people (we recommend headless CMS solution highly!)
Higher website security – thanks to separating the front-end from the back-end, which reduces the damage of potential attacks (Jamstack makes static websites really secure)
More customization options – it could mean the possibility to test landing page performance and change individual pages accordingly, or create them from scratch without coding
Step 2: Specify your needs
After clarifying a goal (or goals), it’s time to write down what you need (or what you think you need) to achieve them. Your list of needs may contain things like:
Features and functionalities
Integrations with third-party tools
Specific technologies or solutions to be used (do you prefer Wordpress, Headless CMS or other solutions? Do you need a static website, a dynamic website or a mix?)
A technology stack you or your developers (if you have them onboard) choose to go with
In the end, you may need them all, so it’s always good to note down what is absolutely needed and what can be added in the future after your project’s launch. It may save you some money and time.
Don’t worry if you are not sure about your needs – you can use some inspiration from others or consult your specific case with an experienced agency during interview calls or meetings.
A good agency will help you not only with defining and specifying your needs, but also with the goals, too, through the likes of discovery workshops and other means.
Step 3: Check average rates
Now it’s time to check the average rates for development services based on Jamstack architecture. These will be – in most cases – hourly-based and will vary depending on the location of the agency. You may also look for price brackets for specific types of projects.
According to our experience, the average cost of building a Jamstack website is $14,000 with 200 hours of work, which equates to an hourly rate of $70. This is the average cost of a simple, basic Jamstack website.
Be aware that the final cost depends on the scope of work and developers' involvement.
Average hourly rates for Jamstack web development services
Defining your budget may be difficult – especially if it’s your first web development project or if you have no experience regarding outsourcing or working with an external agency. However, we can give you some price brackets for different types of projects.
You can expect to pay:
$8,000–14,000 for a simple Jamstack site;
$30,000–50,000 for a headless commerce store;
$70,000–100,000 for a web application.
In some cases, agencies will be able to give you more accurate information about the expected development cost – like a ballpark estimate or even a fixed price – during the initial meeting.
Step 4: Do proper research
This step involves collecting basic information about Jamstack agencies you may be potentially interested in working with.
Visit the agency’s website
Also, check the size of every agency to make sure that they have enough specialists on board to help you with your project. If there isn’t information about their team on the website, you can check LinkedIn.
Another important thing is the location of the agency. Make sure that you will handle any time zone difference (if there is any), as it plays a huge role in proper communication. However, some agencies may adapt to your working hours by switching their developers’ working hours.
Look at technology partnerships
One additional tip – check if the agency works with Jamstack technology partners like Netlify or Vercel, as well as headless CMS like Sanity and Storyblok. If they are, that's proof of their professionalism and competencies because, before becoming such a partner, an agency needs to be verified. Technological partners check their capabilities, resources, experience and portfolio, among other things.
A verified agency gets multiple benefits like:
Earlier access to new product features, complimentary add-ons and other additional resources, like educational materials and technical guides
Additional support from the platform’s staff, which helps with things like the development process
Easier access to the platform's native apps, so a partner agency can upgrade their clients' opportunities faster
Check the portfolio
The ideal situation would be to work with an agency that has experience working with companies in your industry and niche, and has also completed several projects similar to yours. However, that’s not necessary – what’s important is that they have Jamstack experience and a broad portfolio that serves as proof.
Verify reviews and testimonials
Most agencies have case studies on their website in which they describe projects they have been working on in the past. You can also double-check these reviews by visiting independent portals like Clutch.co. You can go even further and call previous clients directly to ask for their opinion about cooperation.
Step 5: Reach out to them
Now it’s time to make a final step. Make a list of agencies you want to contact, reach out to them and set up meetings. Even if the first agency will look like a perfect match, reach out to the other agencies anyway. It will give you a better idea of what you can expect, how much you are supposed to pay and what you will receive in return.
Looking for a Jamstack development agency?
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