I'd argue that as far as the general public is concerned, the differences between web design agencies and web development agencies are near nothing. But there is value in knowing the broad differences between the two. And in order to better understand it, let's look take the word agency off of the table and look at the concept of web design and web development independently.
web design vs. web development
A web designer tends to be focused on the look and feel of the website. They're hopefully someone who's taking the users' experience (or UX design) into consideration. A few of the aspects they're considering are button placement, CTAs (call-to-actions), branding consistency, how close the text is to it's other supporting elements, and how the website responds across different devices, i.e., mobile, tablet and desktop. There's a lot that can be said about this, and that list is definitely not exhaustive, but to keep it brief, I'll leave it at that.
Now, the designer and the developer are sometimes the same person. And the experience with both sides of that coin varies from person to person.
In our case, we have a person dedicated to web design / UX design, and another dedicated to the development side of things.
do you need a web design agency or a web development agency?
That really depends on what you need out of your website. Like I said at the beginning of this article, in my opinion, the differences between the two are very slight. And this is because web developers and web designers are working together very closely. The result is businesses provide both to one extent or another.
However, the general rule of thumb is this: if you're leaning towards an eCommerce website with hundreds if not thousands of products, you'll usually be working with an agency that leans towards the web development side of things. This is mainly because of the development demands eCommerce websites require. Smaller to mid-sized companies who focus on building their presence through blogs, portfolios, and local SEO efforts typically agencies who lean towards the web design side of things.
Do you have more questions about this topic or just some questions in general? Feel free to reach out.