In this digital era, a company’s website becomes its front door and its first impression for many potential clients. As a result, you don’t want to entrust this critical effort to just anyone.
Sometimes it seems like everyone and their sister is a web developer. My favorite recent client conversation was with someone who was considering entrusting their website redesign to a high school student. I asked if they would let a Boy Scout with a First Aid merit badge do their next surgery. There are those businesses that take the development of this core platform that lightly.
The purpose of this post is to give you some questions to use with your potential web design firms. Remember that the goal of the project is to line up the following three aspects:
- What you think you are buying
- What the designer thinks they are selling
- What the designer builds
By doing good planning, you will be able align the first two parts. By having sound followup and evaluation, you will be able to align the second and third parts.
Setup of Website Development
- Describe the Discovery process you go through to understand the goals of your client and their needs of their target audiences.
- How do you develop your estimate for a project, and will we get to see a line item cost estimate?
- What are your biggest concerns/past challenges in being successful in this phase?
Experience With Website Development
- Please show me your portfolio, including examples of work that would be representative of companies like ours. Describe the challenges and successes of these sites.
- Do you have a documented, repeatable process to plan and build websites that you can share with me?
- If you decide not do websites anymore, you leave your firm, or your firm goes out of business, who will support my website?
- Is the website portable and who can host the website?
- Is the software customizable?
- Is the website scalable, and what is involved in making changes and additions to the website?
- Walk me through how your preferred platform deals with the challenges we need to manage with this project.
Ongoing Website Support
- What sort of training will you be able to provide initially and for new staff who come onto the website for us?
- How do you handle ongoing support needs from us? Please describe responsiveness and effort to minimize costs to us.