How to choose a Jamstack agency in 2023
Looking for the right Jamstack agency is much easier said than done. When you start researching, you may find dozens of agencies, but not all of them will suit your business. Some may have a completely different organizational culture to your own company, and others may be in a time zone that doesn’t work for you.
When you decide on your next project –be it a simple static website or a more complex site with dynamic elements– a Jamstack agency like Ikius can help you take the following steps. We can help you plan, create, and implement a Jamstack site.
With that said, choosing the right agency can be tricky, and you want to select the best one, but how do you ensure you’re making the right decision? This article gives you a step-by-step guide on choosing the best agency for your next project.
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First things first, what is Jamstack, and why should you care?
According to Jamstack.org, Jamstack is
An architectural approach that decouples the web experience layer from data and business logic, improving flexibility, scalability, performance, and maintainability.
Jamstack removes the need for business logic to dictate the web experience.
It enables a composable architecture for the web where custom logic and 3rd party services are consumed through APIs.
But what does that mean?
In business terms, in the Jamstack web development ecosystem, you can select the technologies and frameworks that best suit your needs.
Unlike traditional, WordPress-built websites and web applications that rely on a monolithic architecture, there is no obligation to use a single CMS or content platform tied to a particular backend or database. Instead, you can work with your preferred frontend framework or a Jamstack CMS.
Here's how a typical Jamstack implementation looks:
Step 1: Set your business goals, features, and needs
Before looking at agencies, you have to be certain of what you're trying to achieve. The way to do this is by looking at your business goals, the features you want, and what you need to achieve both.
If you're uncertain how a modern web development architecture like Jamstack can help you achieve your goals, a quick call with an agency can help you understand the Jamstack architecture and how it can help your business grow.
Brainstorm the goals you want your site to achieve: This can include scaling, adding multilingual capacities, or raising the security of your site. Whatever it is, make sure it is clear and specific, as this helps an agency understand how they can help you.
Note any features or functionalities you want to have: If unsure, create a list of websites with similar functionalities, tools, and platforms you want to integrate.
Clarify your goal(s) and desired features: Write down what you need to achieve both. This includes a timeline or specific technologies you want to use.
Step 2: Investigate different Jamstack agencies
You have your goals and budget list and are ready to look at agencies. The easiest way to do this is by visiting an agency’s website.
The site will contain tons of helpful information, but looks can be misleading. You should focus on some specific things when choosing a Jamstack agency.
Where are they located?There are agencies located throughout the globe. Make sure to find out an agency's time zone and decide if the time difference will be too much of a problem.
How does their portfolio look like? Ideally, you’ll work with an agency with experience in your industry and niche. This agency should have several completed projects that are similar to yours. But that is not always possible or necessary. The essential items on their portfolio are Jamstack experience and various projects completed. This ensures the agency has a qualified team with relevant industry experience.
Step 3: Choose a Jamstack agency
Let’s take a step back and imagine you're building a house. You have two construction companies to choose from. The first has built over a hundred homes in your area. The second has only built apartment complexes.
Clearly, you would select the first one as their experience best matches your needs.
The same happens with the Jamstack architecture before. You need the right agency if you're dead set on getting a Jamstack website.
Especially now that It is quickly becoming the new de facto architecture for the web, and many young agencies are jumping on the bandwagon, increasing the number of options and diluting the level of experience in the field.
That’s why you would want to choose one agency over another.
When you build a Jamstack site, choosing a Jamstack agency like Ikius ensures that you have an experienced partner with the relevant knowledge, experience, and ability to lead your project smoothly from beginning to end.
How to spot a solid Jamstack agency
By now, you probably know that hiring the right agency will ensure you get the best possible site, but what are the markings of a top agency? Well, the best Jamstack agency should have:
Industry experience: Look for agencies who have been into Jamstack web development since its inception. A veteran agency has the knowledge and the connections to help you build a Jamstack website following the best practices. At Ikius, we've worked with most of the top Jamstack CMSs and associated tools. Our experience weilding Jamstack tooling gives us an edge as we can build truly modular digital experiences.
Specialist knowledge: The right Jamstack agency doesn’t just know Jamstack and its related technologies. We understand these technologies and have the skills to leverage them properly. In the Jamstack ecosystem, the ability to choose and use technologies like Next.js, reusable API, static site generators, knowledge of popular frontend frameworks like React.js, Node.js, and Vue.js; and competency with Progressive Web Applications (PWA) and composable architecture.
Solid timelines: While many things can change during a project, we deliver on time. This means that the project will meet all agreed requirements spanning from budget to deadlines. In other words, your site will be delivered without any issues if the project isn’t changed much throughout the process.
Sidenote: The perils of choosing just any agency
It's tempting to go solo, but without help from a partner or a team of in-house developers, chances are you won't get far. Then you'll settle with a WordPress site and, after a while, things will go south again. This is one of the dangers of not choosing a Jamstack agency, but there are more pitfalls. You may fall for an agency without the muscle to get you to where you want to be.
Lack of Jamstack expertise: Jamstack has a different methodology than monolithic architecture. While a skilled agency may build a Jamstack site, they will be slower and will cost you more. Plus, without sufficient knowledge of Jamstack, a non-Jamstack agency may implement the solution incorrectly, causing you to spend more effort fixing it.
Improper task and time prioritization: A Jamstack agency should understand how much time a project will take and can prioritize. We know that Jamstack is different from traditional architecture. It has different tools and frameworks. Without enough knowledge of these tools and frameworks, you could jeopardize your website’s health or even fail altogether.
Step 4: Get your questions ready
If you find an agency you like, it’s time to assemble a list of questions and contact them. This helps you make the final decision on if an agency is skillful or not. You should include both general and technical questions on this list of questions.
General questions help you understand what you can expect from the agency while working with them. You’ll want to ask about their approach to quality assurance, past collaborations, and team. Here are a few examples to get you started:
What was your longest project?
Do you take part in community activities?
Can you share your developers’ profiles?
Technical questions help you trust that the agency knows what they’re doing. To the non-technical-minded, these questions seem daunting.
Here are a couple of examples:
How to ensure website quality?
Can you explain how the Jamstack methodology affects SEO and UX? How does that affect my particular project?
Step 5: Verify all the information and reach out to the agency’s past clients
Once you’ve got an answer to every question you had in mind, it’s time to verify that everything the agency has said holds true. Reaching out to the agency’s past clients is important because that gives you an unbiased opinion of the agency's work.
Alternatively, look for client case studies, reviews, and testimonials on the agency’s and peer-reviewed review websites.
Ikius: Next-gen digital experiences, with a Nordic touch
Finding the best Jamstack agency looks like a hard task, but it doesn’t have to be. Ikius is a Nordic agency that specializes in Jamstack development. Our boutique approach ensures that all our clients close attention throughout the implementation process, from start to finish.
We partner with you to deliver enterprise-grade da challenging products that scale with you.
If you’re looking for a Jamstack partner or you’re curious about how Jamstack technology can improve your digital footprint, contact us, and let’s chat.
Let's talk about your next Jamstack project
Ikius can help you implement and manage your Jamstack project or application. We can build something from scratch or work with your devs to lend them an extra hand during implementation.