Choosing a Web Development Company: Six Questions to Ask
With the majority of businesses relying on online channels to drive significant amounts of revenue, and in some cases all revenue, the importance of a company’s website is undeniable. Therefore, selecting a web development company is an integral decision for any organisation, large or small.
Choosing the ideal web development partner is no simple feat. The entrusted company will be tasked with building the public face of your business online and will be responsible for capturing the company’s brand through the design of the website. Further to this, you may need to work with the web development company over a long period of time for the delivery of services such as support, maintenance, search engine optimisation and expansion of the site.
With that said, you need to ensure that the company you choose to carry out your web development has the required profile and characteristics to become a fruitful, long term partner that adds value to your business. To help, we have devised a list of 5 key questions to ask before choosing to engage with a web development company:
1. Do you have examples of similar projects that you’ve completed?
In most cases this is a no-brainer. If you require an eCommerce store, it makes sense to engage with a web development company that has built them and done so successfully. Not only can you then ask questions about what has worked and what hasn’t, but you can also get greater insight into what results you can expect from your site and the performance of others in your space.
Furthermore, you will be able to get a feel for the design style and design diversity of the company, and match that up to your business’ style. This will help you decide whether the company will be a good fit for your needs.
2. Do you have references or testimonials from past clients?
For some it’s not the be all and end all, but we firmly believe that social proof is the most powerful form of reinforcing value. If a web development company is able to confidently provide references, case studies or testimonials from established clients that are happy with the services they received, then you have that extra piece of mind.
If the clients are in a similar industry to yours or the project is of a similar nature then even better. There will be parallels between their projects and yours and you can have even more confidence that you will be in safe hands. Beware of fake testimonials and references though, and if you’re ever suspicious ask your potential new web development partner if it is okay for you to contact their referees.
3. Am I able to pop into your office to meet your team?
This is somewhat of a trick question, designed to reveal if a web development company’s team is in-house or outsourced. It might not be a deal breaker for you, but it’s definitely good to know, especially if security is a concern to your organisation.
Many web development companies outsource various parts of a project, sometimes offshore to countries such as India or The Philippines. In-house or outsourced, if your website has serious goals it is essential that it is handled by a team of specialists. The thing to consider here is whether the web development company has the expertise and capacity to handle your project and deliver it to the best possible standards. If they are outsourcing parts of the project, find out how reputable the organisations they are dealing with are, how data is handled and how the project will be managed.
4. Will I be able to make changes later?
Pretty much every website changes over time, whether it’s adding new products or services, changing colours or adding additional features and new pages. Web development companies differ in their approaches to ongoing website changes, therefore it is important to understand what options are offered by your potential new development partner. Some firms charge flat hourly rates for these changes and some offer monthly maintenance packages that include reasonable changes, whilst others set up content management systems (CMS) like WordPress which allow quick and easy updates to the website.
At Cell Software we are flexible in our approach to web development, and work with clients to decide which approach is best for them, whether it is using a CMS system or opting for a bespoke maintenance solution. To learn more about our web development solutions click here.
5. Will the website be compatible with all devices?
With the majority of web traffic coming from mobile devices, it is essential that any website is built to be displayed on mobile. Separate mobile sites or more cost-effective mobile-friendly, responsive designs have become a must as they accommodate all users. In-fact, on top of the user-experience benefits, search engines such as Google now favour these websites in search results, which is great for SEO.
The breadth and depth of experience the web development company has creating multi-device websites is of the utmost importance. Developing websites on mobile is a whole different ball game to desktop, and your potential partner should be able to provide demonstrable experience of successfully delivering these sites and proving their compatibility across multiple device, browser and operating system combinations.
If your potential web development partner is able to answer these questions in a way that you are happy with, along with any other questions that are important to you and your business, then they may be the right company for you.
Obviously, web development is a very complex process that requires much thought and the same principle applies to choosing a web development company to work with. Our advice is to take your time, do as much research as possible and ask questions. Speaking of questions, if you have any for us, feel free to get in touch, we’d be happy to help!