Developing or redeveloping your website is a big effort. With the right information, you can take your organization’s web presence to the next level with confidence. Here are some considerations to help you prepare for hiring the right web firm.
The first place to begin is by defining what you need before you communicate with any web firm. You will want an accurate bid, from every company, but it’s contingent upon quite a few things. Read on.
The assets you possess, or need to create, will be a significant consideration in the cost of your new site. So to get an accurate bid, you will need to define your needs – for content, design, images, graphics, branding, SEO, development, and more. If you don’t know what you need, then you will need to find out if the web firm conducts formal discovery. This is a big requirement up front. You can also request website analysis. Some are paid, while others are free. You also need to define your goals for a new site – what do you want it to do? A good web firm can help with this too.
Best practices for efficient and effective design and development
It’s most practical to find one company/contractor who can meet all of your needs under one roof. If you have to outsource bits and pieces, it can become more expensive, and you will need to make sure the independent contractor works well with your selected firm.
Evaluate recent website 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 all be different. Take notes. If the firm ticks all the boxes on services you need, it’s time for a more granular review of their site 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 clearly related to the subject? Has SEO been applied to the site (ask them, as you may not be able to identify it.)
Site Construction. 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? Do their sites load fast upon first render? 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 in the right place and lead you through the experience.
As a result of this exercise, you should have a good sense of quality control and attention to detail.
A few questions you can ask
- Is strategic planning part of the planning process? What does that look like?
- Content planning and development – Who is creating content? Is SEO included?
- Who will provide visual and audio assets? How will they be sized and compressed?
- Do they provide branding, if that’s needed?
- What about security and hosting? Who will manage this? Are you buying your own or using the development team’s hosting ongoing for monthly management?
- Ask them about their methodologies, processes and timelines.
Will email and contact forms need to be created?
Your business deserves to shine. Take the time to find the right web firm to prevent gaps and give you a superlative result. Have questions? Feel free to reach out.