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As we move through the spring-esque month of April, we will continue discussing the major factors and aspects you should look for when choosing a web development company, including great customer support, creativity, affordability and a diverse client portfolio.
How many times have we heard stories about people who hired web firms to design and develop their websites only to get substandard end results or even watch these “developers” run off with their money? Way too many.
Or what about the entrepreneur who “hired” his nephew/friend/daughter to design the site for no charge, yielding…let’s just say “disastrous” results, leaving the small business owner in an awkward position for giving constructive criticism? Yes, we’ve seen that scenario all too often, as well.
As a marketing agency that works with small businesses all the time, Multiverse Media Group goes back and forth between feeling heartbroken and really angry on behalf of clients that have previously endured this madness. In fact, it’s a big part of why we do what we do.
The first thing you should make sure a professional web development agency boasts is that it’s a real, tangible business – that doesn’t necessarily mean that they operate out of a huge office with lots of overhead, it means that you should probably avoid hiring family members, friends, and “that guy you know from church” as your web developer.
You need to forge a business relationship with your web team for many reasons, including negotiating comfort, honest and critical feedback and being straightforward should there ever come a time when you’re not happy with the firm’s work.
1. Affordability: Know Your Bottom Line and Cost vs. Value
The first step to work out is what you want your website and Internet marketing to achieve; you need to carefully consider your goals and how you are going to measure success. For example: If your website concentrates on mainly e-commerce, your focus is going to be on return-on-investment (ROI), conversion of sales and building and maintaining your customer base.
If you’re launching a new company – and congrats if you are! – and are seeking brand awareness, you will simply be providing information and background about your services/products; so, in this case, good visibility and a clear focus is needed. When you know what you need to accomplish your goals, you will be able to determine if a specific agency fits the bill.
Now, moving beyond this, cost is definitely a deal maker or breaker when it comes to hiring a web development company…the proverbial elephant in the room. As with everything else you purchase throughout this thing called life, the phrase “you get what you pay for” really does resonate with truth in the world of web design and development; if you begin to cut costs solely for saving a dollar now, you may not reap as much value in the long run when it comes to delivering the results you planned for…which we discussed above.
Ask the agency you’re considering if they can provide clear evidence of the value delivered through tangible results. Remember: It’s about VALUE, not COST; if an agency can provide a website or service that brings ROI, then cost isn’t a deal breaker.
2. Diverse Client Portfolio: Identifying a Solid Track Record
Get beyond the mere number of years an agency has been in business – a lot of new agencies have some stellar ideas and new methodologies to consider. What you’re looking for here is how well the agency understands your industry and if they have effectively delivered a similar solution to their other clients.
Ask the agency representatives for performance data, client testimonials and a case study or two that demonstrates their approach and how they measure results.
It is also here that you’ll take a closer look at the company’s client portfolio. What has the firm done for other companies? Do you like their past work?
Looking at the projects that your web design and development firm has already done will give you a good idea of what they are capable of doing for YOU.
Some designers go for a minimalistic look while others opt for in-your-face, bright-and-bold in terms of creative approach…and some designers do BOTH of these well. Talk about the style of your business and ask the firm to show you what they believe fits your vision – hopefully your vision aligns with theirs!
4. Customer Service
It is vital to consider the customer service skills of the web design company you are considering. Why? Well, if you’re paying good money to have a website designed, you are going to want to ensure you’re dealing with a web development company that will listen to what you want and make themselves readily available to you, the client.
If you’re considering a particular website design company that has a reputation for poor customer service feedback, it is more advisable to keep looking and choose a firm that is more client-oriented.
Choices in web design agencies, firms and companies? They’re endless. By considering the factors we’ve mentioned here, you can help ensure that the agency you select to take on this important task does so in a professional, reasonably-priced manner.
Further, as the client you should determine that the web design company boasts an adequate amount of experience and will present a product that is exactly what you are looking for.