In 2017, it’s basically impossible to have a business and be crazy successful without having a crazy successful website that works for you. It’s easy to pass off your website as not that important when you’re wrapped up in the day to day whirlwind of running a business. Now, with the way customers turn to the online world to learn about companies and make purchase decisions, you can’t let yourself fall behind by having a website that’s lacking.
A lot of people are just too busy or don’t have the technical skills to build their own website. If that’s the case for your business, your best bet is to look into hiring a development firm to help improve your website to pull in new customers for you. Before you hire a firm, it’s important to take some time to interview them to make sure that you’re hiring the right firm for you. Here are some question that you should be asking during this process.
Do they have experience in my industry?
You’ll need to know if the firm has experience working with clients like you in the past. If they do have this experience, they’ll already have some idea of what the standard is for your industry and what’s being done, so they’ll be able to ensure your website speaks to your customers. Having a website that works in your industry will work best for driving website traffic and creating new customers.
If they don’t have any experience in your industry, you’ll need to ask what kind of research process is going to go into your design. They should be ready to do research into competitors and similar businesses as yours so that they can come up with great ideas for your website.
What’s the timeline?
Ask your prospective development firm what their expected timeline is. Understand how long projects like yours usually take, and what steps it involves - from initial stages of the creative process all the way to finishing the design and launching the website.
If they’re able to tell you a proposed timeline, you should also ask what kind of approval is required from you and what a work back plan looks like. If you know this, you definitely won’t be the cause of slowing them down.
What’s expected of you?
Just like you need to know what you need to approve, you also need to know how hands on the development firm wants you to be. Understand what they will need from you as they progress through making your website, and make sure that lines up with how much time you can give them.
You’ll likely need to compile as much material as you can for the firm before they get started - from pictures to logos to content. Decide what level of involvement you want, and find a firm who is willing to let you be as hands on (or off) as your business wants to be.
What happens if there are problems?
This might one of the more crucial questions to ask: what happens when the website launches? When a website launches, there’s often small fixes that need to be made. Ask your potential firm if those fixes will be done by them, or if that isn’t included in the contract. If you don’t ask, you might find yourself without the help when you need it.
You can check out our resource below, which is a checklist for redesigning your website. This can help you gather your ideas so you're ready to start working with a development firm, and help guide you through the process so your website works for you.