Why settle…work with the best!
Questions to Ask:
Background: Does the development company breath design? Does the company have expert designers and developers on their team? What is their background like, do they have an education in design and development or similar, i.e. IT, Marketing, Computer Science? The company may know how to design a printed brochure, but do they understand how to make the graphics from a brochure website look good on the web too? What I mean by this, an inexperienced development team may make the content as part of a graphic on the home page. This will affect how it’ll appear on mobile devices and more importantly, your visibility on search engines. This brings up my next point….
Mobile friendly: Does the website appear well or at all on platforms, i.e. iPhone, Android, iPad? The website may be mobile friendly, but are the elements resizing to fit on a iPhone and iPad the way it should be? Do they seem familiar with the latest trends and / or knowledgeable?
References: Do your research and check out references. Do they have a steady stream of clients? In an ideal market, there may be a specific niche the company will target. Avoid the developers who have learned these specialized skills in the last week, month, or crammed it all into one night, at all cost.
Be specific about the launch date.
Make sure the vendor that you choose to work with makes it clear about what is needed from you at the beginning, middle, and end of the project so that things run smoothly and in time for launch date. If you have a keynote presentation the next day, then it is time to make that baby live! It is possible to consider a Phase II. Make it all clear up front with the development company.
And yet, another email…pick up the phone already!
Email can be a good way to get your point across as quickly as possible, especially when you want to include several people. In other cases, however, we shouldn’t rely on it as our primary way to communicate. Sometimes it’s a hassle to write emails back and forth for better clarification. Why not just pick up the phone and call?
On time. On budget.
Determine with your development company how you can be assured your website will be completed on time and on budget. Scope creep is all too common when the requirements are not yet determined at the start of a project. Be sure you find a company who asks the right questions up-front. Does the company have a process and what does that look like? How often do they communicate, every few days, once a week? Do they hold me accountable to get all of the digital materials to them up-front? What are their expectations of me? Do they have a specific project management tool they use to assure the project stays on track? When you have a question, how quickly does the project manager respond?
Does the website speak for itself?
You may like the look and feel of the website, but is it making you money? Too often, many websites that are based off a theme or personalized website does not necessarily have the right design or functionality to make someone want to pick up the phone and call. Make sure you hire someone with a marketing background and/or skill set.
There’s, this, that….and the other thing
There’s simply too many mistakes on your website post launch. Maybe you have boxes overlapping boxes or there’s a line or character out of its place. Before you launch, please test, test, and test again. Make sure the design is error free in all major web browsers, along with all platforms. Make sure your developer offers technical support after your website has been launched too. There may be just a few minor tweaks left to do.