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Finding the Right Web Developer for Your Project

     -     Sep 22nd, 2017   -     Web Design   -     0 Comments

Redesigning a firm’s website happens once or twice during a marketing professional’s tenure. It’s often something that happens once and the site is not touched for 5-7 years. By the time another redesign is due many marketing professionals have transitioned to a role outside the company. This reality means that most don’t have a lot of experience to draw upon when starting a website redesign project. This is evident from the various questions we receive when responding to RFP’s or when discussing an upcoming web project. In fact, in most cases prospects will spend a lot of time asking questions about the process, timelines and pricing, but little asking about development approach, philosophy, preferred CMS, search engine optimization integration and how the site will be coded to make it user friendly. In my experience, these are all important questions that should be considered. To help clients, prospects and others more effectively evaluate providers, FlashPoint Marketing has provided a summary of tips below.

Key Issues to Consider When Evaluating Providers

  • Experience – It’s important to understand the amount and level of experience that a company has in designing, coding and launching websites. A general rule of thumb is to work with companies that have five or more years’ experience. It’s also important to work with companies that have experience with accounting firms. If a vendor is familiar with the industry not only does it make the overall process easier, but they should be able to offer insights into industry best practices.
  • Content Management System – It’s essential to know what CMS a web developer uses and why. Once the site is built on a CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) it costs a lot of money to move it to a different platform. So, it’s critical to understand which they use, why and the benefits it can offer to the firm. Remember, you want a website that offers the maximum amount of flexibility possible. Much of this is based on which CMS is selected and how the site is coded. So, spend time asking potential providers about this topic.
  • Project Plan – I can’t tell you how many firms have come to us after engaging a website company asking for help to keep the project moving. Unfortunately, some website developers don’t provide a comprehensive plan with an outline of key deadlines and a launch date. It’s important to understand that the website development process is fluid so deadlines and launch dates could move, especially if an unexpected delay occurs. However, a good web design company should be able to outline a general plan and hold themselves and the client accountable (as much as possible) to meeting established benchmarks.
  • Pricing – This is obviously one of the most important topics to explore. However, it’s essential to gain a clear understanding of what is included in the price and what is not. Often marketers don’t have a clear understanding of what they are getting. I can’t blame them because website companies are often very technical in their proposals and if you don’t know the “lingo” then it’s easy to get confused. So, spend time reviewing each proposal in detail and asking pointed questions. Identifying what the price includes and does not include will help you to compare apples to apples in the process.
  • References – Most everyone asks for references but it seems not all follow up with them. This is an absolute must because it will reveal the most valuable information about a vendor – what it’s like to work with them. While it’s almost guaranteed the reference will not have had a negative experience there is valuable information which can be obtained. Take the time to find out the providers communication style, ability to meet deadlines, availability to answer questions and about the post launch experience. Unfortunately, some companies will ghost you once the site is launched and re-appear to submit a final invoice. Collecting as much information as possible about a provider will help you to make the best decision possible.

In Perspective

Finding the right provider for your project is one of the most important steps to take. Spend the time in the beginning asking as many questions as possible to ensure a best fit. The last thing you want to deal with is a provider who misses the mark. It will make the redesign process needlessly more complex and stressful. If you have questions about developing a website RFP or need assistance evaluating providers, FlashPoint Marketing can help.

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