The State of Website Development in Pittsburgh, 2016 Edition

In 2007 I was well into my career as a freelance web developer in Pittsburgh. The city was far from the bastion of green living and pure awesomeness that it is today, and most people still thought we were living in a cloud of steel mill exhaust. Luckily, a few of us realized we had something beautiful on our hands.

I did a little research regarding my competitors back then, and the results were terribly sad, quite frankly.

Of the top 7 Google results for web design pittsburgh pa back then, only myself and one other designer / developer back then were actually coding to web standards. Everyone else was using outdated technology that would, quite frankly, make all of my competitors today cringe, I’m sure.

Here we are, nearly ten years later, and not a single one of those companies still exist. Except for me. ūüėõ

I thought long and hard about writing this post, because quite frankly, I hate calling people out. There are a lot of good designers out there living in Pittsburgh today. There are a few great developers. There are very few individuals who are both, but where a single guy can’t always do the job, agencies and larger budgets have filled in the gaps. But I think this is important. It’s important to point fingers and call out names, because this isn’t a middle school game of dodge ball. This is millions of dollars and the actual lives and fortunes and futures of people who are trusting these companies, including myself, to make or break them in many ways.

So, without (much) further ado, here is a list of the actual freelancers or companies that come up when you do a search for web design pittsburgh pa, and how they perform.

It’s bleak news.

I have ranked all of these companies on three things:

  1. Their Pagespeed score. This is a ranking Google assigns every web page it crawls to determine how well it is coded and how quickly it is served up from the server. Basically, it’s a grade for how well a web page has been developed.
  2. HTML validity. Whether or not a page’s code is actually written correctly. Pure and simply, any web developer’s home page should be absolutely and completely without error. There is only one site on this list that makes that cut.
  3. Average search result placement. I included this for potential website purchasers. You want a website that will score high, and your web designer’s site certainly should.

Picon Web Design & Marketing

71 Desktop Speed
84 Mobile Speed
86 HTML errors
62 HTML warnings
#1 SEO Rank

Blue Archer

62 Desktop Speed
71 Mobile Speed
12 HTML errors
1 HTML warning
#2 SEO Rank


99 Desktop Speed
95 Mobile Speed
0 HTML errors
0 HTML warnings
#3 SEO Rank


61 Desktop Speed
31 Mobile Speed
4 HTML errors
0 HTML warnings
#4 SEO Rank

Pittsburgh Web Designs

52 Desktop Speed
58 Mobile Speed
161 HTML errors
11 HTML warnings
#5 SEO Rank


90 Desktop Speed
94 Mobile Speed
0 HTML errors
4 HTML warnings
#6 SEO Rank


53 Desktop Speed
70 Mobile Speed
9 HTML errors
2 HTML warnings
#7 SEO Rank

Higher Images

63 Desktop Speed
77 Mobile Speed
4 HTML errors
0 HTML warnings
#8 SEO Rank

What does all of this mean? Well, firstly, I’ll state that several of these companies are doing good work. They create beautiful designs. They create, some of them, wonderful content for themselves and their content. And compared to 2007, things are definitely looking up.

But I want to call all of this attention out specifically because, if we’re not all doing everything we can to make the web perfect, what are we doing? There are so many trash sites out there that are easily created via drag and drop tools, uninterested rookies and abandoneers that those of us who are claiming to be professionals should be a step above all of that.

We need to be the weight that tips the quality of the web a little more in favor of what it should be, rather than just what keeps the check flowing.

Up Next: New Look and a Little Change in Focus for ClickNathan!