- Lance Johnson 01.21.2016
Whether you run a small pizza delivering service, or are on the brink of patenting a ground shattering discovery, a well designed, respectable website is what helps you climb the corporate ladder. However, with the plethora of web development agencies swarming the markets, how do you tell a good one from a bad? Think of your web development firm as your main marketing partner. The website they design for you would have an integral role in realizing the goals of your company. Whether you are thinking of gleaning a new website, or revamping an existing one, the hiring decision you make would go a long way in dictating the success of your business.
However, before you enter in to an agreement with an agency, employ a thorough hiring process to select the most viable one. While an enticing proposal would grasp your eye, interviewing and asking the right questions would lend you an insight to ease the decision making process. Once you do your due diligence, you would be more certain of which agency you want to entrust the most important element of your marketing strategy to. Here are 8 questions which you should ask to get an idea on the thought process, methodology, and capability of a web development agency.
Experience speaks louder than words and the same goes for the web development agency you could potentially be making a long term commitment with. If the firm operates in a completely different forte, the learning curve for the redesign partner would be too steep and costly. The firm that you are analyzing should be able to show you similar projects they had previously worked on, pertaining to your niche, and should be proficient in the technology you are seeking. This gives you an idea of how capable they are and what you can expect in terms of delivery.
While “web designing” and “web development” are the inevitable answers to this mundane query, there is more than what meets the eye. Since a website is your most valuable marketing asset, selecting an agency that has a firm grasp of marketing and generating leads, would work greatly in your favor. In addition to gleaning a website, you would require the services of videographers, photographers, copywriters, content strategists, and marketing strategists to make the most of your site. It is essential that the firm provides you with at least some of these services, instead of leaving you to leverage third party vendors, which can add to the scheduling and cost challenges, and complexity.
It may be hard to believe but almost 50% web searches are conducted over mobile devices and 61% people develop a greater affinity for brands which have a responsive website. Google has also been favoring sites that were built responsively across multiple devices, with a sole purpose of mobile optimization. If the web development firm has never developed a responsive website before, it should ring an alarm. In the contemporary era, ruled by mobile devices, not having a responsive website is preposterous and any web development firm that fails to comply should be your last choice.
The SEO strategies chosen for your website could make or break your business. While SEO practice was a highly technical expertise back in the day, today it is more about choosing the pertinent keywords, or creating value added content that your customers search for online. However, keep in mind that both are equally important and need to be implemented to rank higher in the organic search results. Ask for the firm’s approach to SEO techniques and how they would ensure that your site incorporates top-notch content, as well as the right technical optimization.
Many websites masquerading as custom sites are actually pre-designed templates that have been copied and tweaked for a client. If you want to build a strong brand image and rely most on your online presence, you should ask for a custom website, designed from scratch. A custom design entails that every tiniest element and detail of the layout has been designed by the firm and the code “hand written” by the developer. If you are paying more for a “completely custom built website, it is imperative that you ask this question. However, if you are running tight on a budget, a customized template may work just fine for you. Discuss each option with the firm and glean a price quote for both.
Testing a website for any drawbacks or glitches is the most crucial process before the launch. It is indispensable that your website runs smoothly on different browsers, e.g. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet explorer, and also across multiple devices and screen resolutions. Ask the firm if they conduct a thorough cross platform and cross browser checking on the website after the development process is completed. It is equally important that your firm ticks off all the measures pertaining to internal quality assurance to ensure that all the bases have been covered.
Each web development firm has its unique internal process that guides their projects. Technically a web development project consists of 4 stages; research/strategy, designing, site development, evaluate and launch. Ask the firm about their project management processes, if they have a timeline for each stage, if the firm would send you a project report for each stage, the manner in which you wish to receive the reports, who would be involved in the project, and if some project management system is used to manage tasks. Knowing the internal processes of a firm, their implementation, and how they would affect your project, would ultimately help you reach a decision.
Each firm has a different pricing policy, so understanding what is included in the price quote and what’s not, is vital. You want to know what you are getting for your money, any additional costs that would incur along the way, services that are “not on the house”, and how the firm would handle the billing for elements that fall beyond your budget. Nobody likes surprises when it comes to money.