Hiring the best website development firm to achieve your marketing goals
Website development and redevelopment is a big job. There are many moving parts that all have to be properly connected. To have total confidence in your website project, defining what you you want your site to do is a great starting point.
The first thing you need to know about this article – it’s intended for folks who intend to hire a website development agency. You build a car from scratch without ever building one before or understanding how all the parts fit together? Website development done right requires the following
Specialization in the development, installation and management of any number of content management systems
Technologies for functionality and
Branding and design expertise
Content and user experience expertise
design This is because there a bunch of disciplines required for professional website development, so we don’t recommend building-yourselfwe are basing this article on hiring a team unless you have expertise in creating and managing all aspects of a
Deciding what you need – the basics:
What do you want your site to do? A brochure site might show products and services whereas an e-commerce site is useful if you want to sell products.
Ask your prospective web firm for ideas, if you need more clarity about what it can do for your business, and don’t be afraid to be specific about your needs. How the firm responds will tell you a lot about their level of care for you as a client, and their level of expertise.
It’s most practical and efficient to find a company that can meet all of your needs under one roof since all the required resources are connected. If you have to outsource portions of your project, it can become more expensive, and you will need to make sure the independent contractor works well with your selected firm.
Some questions about your website to consider for yourself, and ask your prospective web team:
- Communication. Do you have a communication strategy? This determines what information you assert and in what order.
- Interaction. When a visitor interacts with your website, what types of actions would you like them to take? Email opt-n, phone call, form fill, fill a shopping cart? Ask the web team about the solutions they provide that will allow visitors to seamlessly interact with your site.
- Content. Do you have a content strategy? If you don’t, ask the web team if they write web copy
- Design. Do you have a design strategy? If you don’t, ask the web team if they have professional designers on staff.
- Integrations. What are you planning to connect to your site? Will you need social media and email marketing tools, a pop-up sign-up form, e-commerce tools, or merchant services? These are important considerations.
- Content Management. Be sure to understand what content management system (abbreviated CMS) you will be using. If you don’t know, ask the web team about this.
- Out-of-the-box or custom code? Will your website build include an out-of-the-box theme or custom code? Custom code is rarer. If your project requires it, ask the web team about their experience and expertise with it.
Use these prompts to learn about the web firm’s approach to doing business:
- Process and Planning. If this all feels like too much, ask the web team to show you their process from – planning to completion. If they don’t have one – run away fast!
- Ask for a website analysis. Some are paid while others are free. The web team will assess the form and function of your site. The information they provide will tell you a lot about their level of expertise and professionalism.
- What is the length of time for an average build? Ask for estimates if (a) they create all the assets, or (b) you create all the assets (content, design, logo, user experience, technology logins).
- Site construction process. How do they handle development and staging? Will you be able to see the site as it’s being built once it reaches certain stage gates?
- Get examples of sites the web firm has built. Pay close attention to details. In website work, detail is everything.
Evaluate recent site builds
Let’s consider that last bullet in more detail. If the firm ticks all the boxes on services you need, it’s time for a more granular review of their site builds. Always ask for a recent list of sites to review, preferably that are both created and maintained by the same company.
- Notice what do they do well? Take notes.
- Ask about each site and the client’s goals for that site – they will likely all be different. Take notes on this too.
Here are some things to look out for as you assess their recent builds:
- Formatting. Do the words line up nicely in modules and feel contiguous throughout the pages? Do content blocks lead you from one point to the next without distraction?
- Content. Is the content professionally written and engaging? Do you feel like the information presented solves problems, answers questions, and directs you into more action? Are the keywords on point and related to the subject? Has SEO been applied to the site (ask them, as you may not be able to identify it)
- Site Construction. Do their sites load fast upon the first rendering? Are all the links working? Are forms working? Does it appear thoughtfully designed and lead your eye down the page?
- Branding & Design. Are the fonts, colors, and other style choices used consistently across the website? Are images properly sized? Do all the colors work together and feel connected? Are the fonts easy to read? Does the logo match the vibe? These are indicators of a company’s design ethic.
- User Experience. If the user experience is lacking, the site may not feel like it’s finished, and yet you may not understand why. Good UX will move your eye to the right place and lead you smoothly through the experience.
As a result of this exercise, you should have a good sense of your prospective firm’s quality control and attention to detail.
A few more questions you can ask
- Is strategic planning part of the planning process? What does that look like?
- Who is creating content? Is SEO included in the content process?
- Who will provide visual and audio assets? How will they be sized and compressed before being uploaded to the site?
- If branding is needed, do they provide it?
- Who will manage security and hosting? Are you buying your own or using the development team’s hosting for ongoing monthly management?
- Ask them about their methodologies, processes, and timelines.
- Ask for a professional proposal to include all the particulars of your investment, including stages to completion.
Your business deserves to shine. Take the time to find the right web firm that will treat your project professionally, prevent gaps, and give you a superlative result. Have questions? Feel free to reach out.
The RvPro.net website before redevelopment in 2018
The new brand and WordPress website, now called Pro RV Repair, below in 2019. The client wanted bright colors, and each color to represent a different division. The goal is to attract and retain RV’ers, boaters, and watercraft users who need maintenance or repair.