Hiring a web developer or designer
Hiring a web development company can be a little tricky. However, it’s something that should be undertaken with the utmost care and due diligence, so as to avoid making a poor selection that may seriously set back your project. You might think that all web development companies are created equal, but that’s not really the case – some specialize in creating informational types of websites, while others are very good at designing and developing sites for e-commerce. Some might specialize in websites for non-profits. Finding the right fit can oftentimes makes hiring a web developer or designer confusing.
You’ll want to be very clear about what your objectives are with a new website, and to make sure you clearly communicate those objectives to prospective development candidates. If you can find a company in your city or town that meets all the qualifications, references, and competitive pricing that you want – GREAT! However, you shouldn’t make sacrifices just for the sake of proximity. A firm on the opposite side of the country may be your best choice.
Modern technology can bring an out of town choice right into your office, with the same kind of immediacy that you might have from a company down the street. The best approach when hiring is to do your due diligence and thoroughly check out any company you may want to hire. You should make a decision based on their true merits, rather than on where they might be geographically located.
Solid team of professionals
Another aspect of due diligence is in determining the competence level of the development company’s staff. For the most part, this can’t be discovered by simply reading the sales pitch on their website. Talk to the company. Find out who is available that will be handling the key roles of your project (Project Manager, Graphic Designer, Programmer, etc.). How long have they been with the company? Can you preview some of their work?
When selecting a web design agency, It’s a good idea to check out their portfolio. Compare their portfolio’s overall style to your own requirements. Most web development organizations will be happy to provide you with a list of companies they’ve worked with. Check out these websites, and call the marketing manager or owner to find out their experience.
Along those same lines, it’s always a good idea to check out Yelp! and/or Google reviews for the potential agency you’re considering. Don’t put 100% weight on reviews, but it should be another piece of the due diligence puzzle.
A checklist of considerations
You can narrow down the choices in finding a web developer, by matching up candidate companies against your own checklist of questions, including the following:
· How responsive are they when you email or call them?
· Do you have any kind of rapport with their company representative?
· How much time did they put into the web proposal they presented you with? Does it look hastily prepared, or more formal and appealing?
· Does their proposal seem like a “cookie cutter” offer, or does it show that they really understand your project?
· Did they provide you with names, email addresses, and phone numbers of references you can call? (Hint: Always do this!)
· Do they offer local training for you and your staff?
· Is their price guaranteed if the scope stays the same? Some companies low ball estimates but then surprise you with more charges halfway through.
· Is a mobile-friendly or responsive version included?
You should also be aware that the job doesn’t really end with the launch of the new website. In fact, at your own organization, that’s where things really begin. You need to know that website training will be available from a development company. If it isn’t, you may be at a loss just trying to change a simple picture on your website you just purchased. As everyone in business knows, Time is Money.
Make sure your web development company can provide at least online training for your staff. Better yet is local training, ideally including in-house education for your own staff. Remote sessions are a workable alternative, but nothing can substitute for a shake your hand, point at the screen, over your shoulder in person education.
Good luck! There are many web development firms and agencies around the country eagerly seeking your business. Finding one that is a match can take some time, but the right relationship will always make for a better and more successful project.
Skyhound Internet is a nationwide provider of website design and development services as well as video production. We provide our clients with detailed estimates of their website projects and certain packages include local training options. We encourage you to perform due diligence on Skyhound or any candidates, as this is the best way to ensure you make the right choice for your company.