So, your business or personal project evolved to a point where it needs a website. Let’s face it, your first website will not be great, and it shouldn’t be. The consensus seems to be that if you are happy with what you launch, you’ve launched too late.
Assuming your business will keep evolving in unexpected ways, being able to constantly update your website effortlessly is an advantage. Cue the Web Dev team (or that amazing freelancer you found on upwork.com).
The number one reason projects break down is because there is a miscommunication between the developer and you. You want a developer who’s great at keeping you up to date on your project, and that brings us to the first of several questions you should ask yourself before making a decision.
What are my needs?
Arguably, the first step towards good communication with your future developer or agency is having a clear idea of what your business (or general project) is all about. Before you start browsing through your local directory of web design agencies and contractors, you need to clearly outline your needs.
Important factors to consider when choosing a Web Dev team are whether you’re aiming for an extensive re-design, a refresh, or a totally new build that requires complex, custom work and tech integrations. From e-commerce to social media and email integrations, custom forms, geolocation content filtering, and custom layouts — all these details should be presented to whomever you introduce your project.
Both freelancers and agencies will have different capabilities, and it’s completely possible to contract out complex work as well as simpler projects. That said, the ability to have one or two points of contact and all the web design and development pieces managed in one place might make it easier on you to partner with an agency.
What’s my deadline?
While the overall timeline is extremely important, what’s also critical is the chosen agency or contractor’s availability to work with you. Web development and design processes are time-consuming what with all the content gathering, reviews, approvals, and meetings. The time allotted by both parties to all these tasks is crucial.
Many Web developers are more interested in supplying all the bells and whistles than in providing a functional solution to your business problems. It’s understandably natural to want a nice-looking website but looks aren’t everything. In business, you want every competitive advantage possible, and having a website built with a search-engine friendly foundation (SEO) is key. Make sure that your Web Dev team has good business, design, and development competency.
Neither you nor your Dev team should try to reinvent the wheel on non-competitive advantage elements. Even if the developer says it will only take an hour. This one premise usually costs you more deadlines and delays than any other. There is nothing wrong with using commonly available code for non-essential pieces.
Is branding important to me? (hint: it should be.)
If you’re in the market for a Web Dev team or contractor, chances are you’ve acknowledged the importance of online presence. If that’s the case, you should also know that branding and online presence cannot exist separately.
A conceptualization of your brand should be the first thing you are aware of when developing your online presence. Your website is the primary platform that potential clients and customers will visit when doing research on your company. It’s essential that it mirrors your brand identity for consistency purposes. Consistency is always key.
It’s useful to know which services your Web Dev team (or the resourceful freelancer you found on fiverr.com) can provide. Should you go with a freelance developer who is an equally experienced designer, or do you need to outsource design as well? Can you contract a designer and developer who have previous experience working together, to streamline the process and communication? And don’t forget to consider SEO! No web design project should be complete without an SEO audit and proper technical optimization before launch. Are you getting all the “bang for your buck” or should you look for an agency?
Partnering with an agency that offers multiple services — web design, development, SEO, and content strategy — can reduce the need to find a gifted freelance developer and bring all the necessary skills together, but it can also be very expensive. All this, of course, is conditioned by your budget.
What’s my budget?
Everyone always has a number in mind when starting the planning process. Keeping in mind that the initial blueprint for the website will most likely have things added and changed throughout the process, you will have to be flexible with your budget. How flexible, is up to you.
Many entrepreneurs still view their websites as a one-time expense and a sunk cost. That’s a mistake. Websites are a marketing tool for most businesses and should be considered an investment to help generate revenue and growth.
Naturally, different businesses attribute different importance to online presence and invest accordingly. It is up to you to assess how big a role your internet presence has in your business infrastructure.
A simple way to do this is to do a Google search on your competitors. Look at their websites, social media features, and online ads. If you see they’re investing online, it’s a good indication you need to be doing the same.
You would benefit from choosing a transparent Web Dev team or contractor that won’t try pushing unnecessary services, features or fees. Be up front with them if there’s a specific budget that you can’t go over and expect nothing less in return when they quote you.
Also, don’t neglect the fact that sites need to be updated, therefore it would be wise of you to choose a partnership with someone that fits your needs in the long run. Of course, you can always switch agencies or contractor in the future, but the benefits of making the right choice now would outweigh the hassle of going through the “hunt” process again.
It will save you money and time to outline your needs accurately and factor in a long-term approach to your online presence. Branding is important and your website’s design has a huge impact on it.
Keep in mind that, depending on the complexity of your project, a single, competent developer can accommodate all your needs with a lesser budget compared to an agency.
You can always contact us if you still have some questions that need answering. We’ll be more than happy to help.