Imagine if your business didn’t have a website. Crazy, right? The internet is the first place people go to find solutions to their needs or problems, how nuts would it be if they couldn’t see your business on there?
Now think about having a wrong website. People may be able to find you, but they break the rule and judge a book by its cover, opting to go with your competition because your website projects a poor image about the quality of your business.
A dysfunctional website happens to businesses all the time, which is why choosing the right web development company is crucial in helping your business to succeed. So how do you do that? We’ve identified five essential factors that you should consider before handing the all-important task of creating and managing your website to an external party.
1. The portfolio and ongoing partnership
It seems somewhat obvious, but seeing the collection of the web design team you are considering is essential. You want to confirm the following points:
Does their design style match the aesthetic of your business?
Are they able to provide a customizable service?
Do they use modern programming languages?
What sort of access and control will they give you to your site?
Will they be able to manage your site on an ongoing basis?
Visit the sites they have created and put yourself in the seat of the consumer. How does the website work across a range of devices like mobiles and tablets?
The small details of their work are what sets them apart from their competitors. It is also important to remember that “design” is not just how something looks; it’s also how it works. Are their websites easy to use and navigate?
The ideal situation is that the development company you choose will become your partner, one that will add value to your business. You’ll want to have a good understanding of how their team will work in conjunction with yours. Excellent communication is vital, as you will likely be speaking with them daily, especially while things are being set up.
2. Time commitment and working style
As we mentioned in the last point, this company will be an extension of your team, so you want to make sure they will fit in and provide you the time needed to do things right. When it comes to website updates, there is often a quick turnaround time required. You only have yourself to blame if the expectations on this turnaround aren’t laid out and made clear from the beginning.
You’ll want to consider how much time will be required to not only set-up your website, but also manage it on an ongoing basis. This management sets the expectation right from the beginning along with realistic key performance indicators (KPIs). Both organizations will need to agree on this from the start with both entities assessing and understanding the various needs and requirements. There will always be a necessary need for room to move, but having some milestones in place not only keeps your tasks on track but ensures the provider is doing what they said they would do.
Elements like minimalistic versus bold design can often be an indication of working style. Is the company capable of agile development? How will they interpret your requests and how open to collaboration with you, the client, are they? (The answer should be – very).
You may be thinking this should have been point number one. It can be tough, if not impossible, to say how much web design and management should cost, it all comes down to the levels of quality you expect, as well as your budget. After all, you can make a website for free if you want?
However, looking at the design of a website is not a great indicator of how much it costs. The design is one slice of a much bigger pie. It is also very subjective; you need to decide:
What elements of web design and management are worth your money?
What ongoing services are you willing to pay?
What results matter?
What don’t you know, that you are willing to pay someone to explain, suggest or implement?
The value of designers and developers goes much further than just their design abilities. You want someone with a vast range of experiences, critical technical skills, and preferably some product knowledge as well. Also keep in mind that if you choose someone for their expertise, get your money’s worth by actually listening to them and taking their feedback or advice on board.
You will be working on your budget, and you will benefit from some initial research about exactly what you should expect to get for the price you are willing to spend. Some easily comparable fees can include things like hosting, an extra charge that can vary widely. Don’t take the cheaper option as it may affect things like site uptime. Ongoing support prices will also vary, but it comes down to what level of support that is included in a company’s hosting plans.
4. Compatibility and website specifics
Make no mistake about it, a web development company is a technological partner, and the goal here is longevity. This partnership is great. If you have an existing website that you are looking for someone to take over and revamp. Moving a site between providers can be an expensive and time-consuming task.
It is vital to differentiate the differences between the content of a website and its functionality. What do you want the site to do for your visitors and what are the goals of your business? Knowing these things will dictate which company is best for you based on their abilities.
You will need to consider things like widgets and e-commerce which can often complicate the requirements and drive the costs much higher. An e-commerce solution, in particular, will require a developer with this exact experience. You need it to be scalable, moving with the hopeful growth of your business and coupled with the right support for any glitches that may pop up along the way.
The primary goals of your website should be:
The ability to instantly build trust
Education and information
Conversion of visitors into leads
It is also essential to understand the content management system how it is being used as this will affect the everyday management of your site as well as how difficult re-designs may be at a later date.
5. Included services
Web development and management are about a lot more than just getting a website up and running. You will want to know if things like SEO, information architecture, and content strategy are included in what the company offers. All of these additions may affect the price, but whether or not they have the ability to provide the service is something you may need to know for down the track.
You may also be surprised to find how many design agencies will not include these things in their website design packages!
In some cases, you may be better finding an SEO company that can work in conjunction with whoever is building your website. It would be best if you always did this during the site design process.
Keeping this in mind as part of your strategy is vital because what good is a fantastic looking website if no one can find it? Could we even argue it is more important than site design? Instead of getting bogged down in that debate though, let’s say they go hand-in-hand and are worthy of the same planning time.
To save yourself some headaches, try and keep all of these tasks under the same roof. This idea not only makes things more cost-effective, but it also increases efficiency. The fewer chefs in the kitchen, the better.
Skip the DIY
We really cannot stress how vital it is to get all of the above correct. So many businesses will create their website to save some dollars only actually to hurt themselves in the long run. Your site is one of the most potent and effective ways to bring in new business.
If you can find a company who places a significant value on innovation, that is an excellent indicator that they will challenge themselves, and you. Websites should evolve continually just as the tastes of your customer base will. You should continuously assess the content and functionality by seeing what is working well and what isn’t of your website to ensure it is the best version of itself.
If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities; it’s that simple. Customers need to identify specific things about you and your business before they decide to give you their money. No website at all is better than a bad one. Invest in a company that can help you attract more business online and start thinking of your site as the marketing tool it is.
Alana Berge is working for Perpetual- Best Website Development Company. She writes content on WordPress, Web Design, Development, Internet, Social Networks, SEO, etc. Apart from this, she has helped several startups to grow their business online!!!
Written by Morris Edwards