What to keep in mind.
Vital things to keep in mind for choosing the right web developer or website design company.
After scouring the web and finding the three websites that you really love the look of (and the three you gag at the sight of) as examples of what you do and don’t want, and you’ve boiled your website-creating candidate pool down to a handful. But how to choose the best one? The questions to ask yourself at this point are:
- Does the web design company or individual have experience working with websites with similar functionality to mine?
- Does the web developer often create a clean and intuitive navigation?
- Has the company published their referees? Are the websites in the company / developer’s portfolio still using the design?
- Is branding work required? If so, is the development company experienced with branding?
- Is marketing, SEO or conversion rate work required, if so, is the web company or individual able to fulfill this?
- Does the designer/developer offer testimonials or referrals that are easy to get in touch with?
Once this has been established, it’s time to engage the candidates and see what they can offer you. A two-part interview – first email followed by a phone call to firms that seem to be a good fit – is the quickest way to narrow down your list. For your first email contact, list out your requirements from the list above, together with a brief outline of your site.
Very briefly outline your site’s development timeframe, scope and budget.
- Average budget range of site development projects (You’re seeking a firm that works in the same budget range – if it’s higher, they may not give your organization enough attention; if it’s lower, they may not bring the desired experience to your project)
- Expertise in integrating other online tools (social media, email, databases)
- Client mix – you want the development firm to show some interest and experience in working with related businesses.
- Related sites (in scope or topic) developed in the last couple of years (You’ll want to review these sites to assess if the firm has dealt with similar challenges to those faced by your organization)
- What differentiates the firm from the many others out there
- Do they have a defined process that will ensure that your project will be completed on time and on budget
- Services offered.
Things to be careful of
Beware of the “cost advantage” The reason why so many companies are outsourcing their website design companies to web developers in other countries is that they are affordable. A website development company in a developing country will always offer a cost advantage. But, you must make sure that the company also puts prime importance on quality. In short, don’t choose a company that offers rock bottom prices when it comes to design services. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Take into consideration the maintenance aspect. The expertise, experience and the affordability is all well and good, but after the site is up and running, there is the maintenance to consider.
See which of the website development companies offers end-to-end maintenance services, preferably as a part of a package.
Don’t be fooled by the assurances of any company that says their site will be maintenance free. Something or the other will go wrong sooner or later. So you absolutely must choose a company offering maintenance services.