Hiring a web developer is one of the most important decisions you will make when creating a website. Consequently, it is important to do your due diligence and ask meaningful questions when evaluating candidates.
First, consider this advice:
Understand your needs. Before you start looking for a web development company, you need to understand your needs. What type of site are you trying to build and what will its purpose be? Who is the target audience you are trying to serve? What metrics would indicate that the website is successful, in your opinion?
Once you fully understand the context of your project, you will be in a much better position to choose the right partner.
Review previous work. When evaluating candidates, always take a look at the work they have done in the past. Every web development company must have a portfolio available for public review; here you can see and interact with the state of the website built in the past.
Are you satisfied with the look and feel of the websites? Or are there some red flags to watch out for?
Focus on alignment and communication. The design process will go much smoother and you will end up with a much better finished product if you are aligned with your web development partner in terms of values and communication. Do they have similar priorities and a similar vision?
Consider the costs and logistical hurdles. Can the web development company create a website at an affordable price or do they charge much more than their competitors? Are they capable of taking on new projects at the moment or are they overloaded with projects?
Plan for the future. If all goes well, this could be a partner you work with for many years. Consequently, you must make future-focused plans. How can you scale with this agency? How can they work together to achieve more?
When you have the final candidates, you can start asking some important questions about how the web development company operates and if they are a perfect fit with your brand.
How big is the team? What are the specialties of the people on the team? How much experience do they have? The more you know about the people who are actually doing the work on the project, the more confident you can feel that the project will get done effectively.
Web development is a given, but you should ask any potential web developer what other services the company offers. For example, do they have in-house designers who can design your website? When the website launches, do they offer web hosting or security? In the future, can they help you with marketing and advertising?
It’s tempting to want to cut costs and pay as little as possible for a developer, but this is often a mistake. If you want a website that looks amazing and works like it’s supposed to, it’s often worth spending a little more for higher quality work. Still, you should know the cost that goes into it.
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Responsive design is the modern standard, serving almost every device and viewing experience imaginable. Responsive websites may reflexively change different elements to provide a more comfortable viewing experience, depending on the device accessing the content. This feature can be coded into your website relatively easily, and your website should be designed with responsiveness in mind, so it looks beautiful and intuitive on all devices.
Worst case, is there any recourse for you if you don’t like the design? Can you start over with a different approach?
Always take the time to review the portfolio of a web development agency. It’s also helpful to ask your web developer questions about their past projects so you can understand how the company has operated in the past.
Don’t underestimate the power of your website content. It plays a role in not only making a first impression with your audience and persuading them to take action, but also making your website visible and acting as marketing. In many cases, clients provide agencies with established content, but your agency may also offer content writing services. If you take the latter route, be sure to check out examples of websites where they’ve written content in the past to get an idea of their skill and familiarity with web content writing.
This is one of the most important questions to ask your web developer candidates. Is this a flexible website that you can access at any time and customize as you see fit? Or will you have to go through the agency every time you want to make a change?
Google Analytics and other tools can give you reliable access to all the metrics you need. For example, you can measure the traffic going to your site and determine where it’s coming from. It can inform you about the behavior on the site of each user. It can even help you determine website accessibility and pinpoint technical issues with your website. But it is important to ask your potential web developer about this. Will you be connected from the start? Or is there any other way to measure the performance of your site?
At this point, you should have all the information you need to make a final decision. You should feel confident that you understand the nature of this web development agency and how they work. If you feel comfortable with the agency, you are ready to move on. What is required from you and your team to get this agency started?
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