Welcome to the Friday Five’s series, where I ask selected Tweeps a question to answer in five parts. This week’s question:
What five questions should you ask when interviewing for a new website design/development vendor?
This week’s answers come from:
- Jon Buscall Jon Buscall is head of Jontus Media, a digital marketing and content creation agency in Stockholm, Sweden. He blogs at JontusMedia.com/blog and is @jonbuscall on Twitter.
- Scott Quillin is part of the New England Multimedia duo. They create websites, videos, and harness the power of social media for businesses. They can be found at http://newenglandmultimedia.com/ and on Twitter, as @NEmultimedia.
Here are these expert’s tips:
1. What’s the most successful site you’ve designed / developed?
– because you want to know they have a good track record.
2. Do your designs look as good on a smart phone?
– because mobile is here to stay
3. Does the price include training me to actually use the site?
– because you want to understand how to use the site yourself and not keep paying your development vendor to update the slightest tweak
4. Does the cost include the PDS files?
— you want the PhotoShop (or equivalent) originals in case you need to tweak the wording of your banner or buttons without having to go back to your designer
5. Can you put everything in writing?
– because you want to know exactly what you’re going to get. Designers / Developers who don’t give you a clear, written overview of the project, outlining the process and deliverables, isn’t to be trusted.
1. Can you send me your portfolio, business references and a sample contract?
Before you hire a web company, you need to verify that you like the work they’ve done for other people. It doesn’t have to look the same or even have the same features or functionality you’re looking for. But you need to confirm that they do quality work.
You also need to talk with the people the firm has created websites for. Be sure to ask how the web firm handled problems, deadlines, stress…anything that can give you insight into the company behind the marketing.
Finally, seeing a sample contract allows you to see how detailed their contracts are. Do they cover intellectual property rights? How detailed is their development process? How do they handle payments, payment schedules, refunds, change orders, etc.?
Seeing these things up-front can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
2. What is the best way to get a quote or estimate for my project?
Some web firms schedule a phone consultation to go over the details of your project. Other companies might have a long web form that you’ll need to fill out. Either way, be prepared to answer questions about your project. Know what you want before you call. If you’re unsure and need some guidance, be sure to say that up-front so the web company can help you solidify your goals and share options that you might not have considered.
3. Do you offer support and training?
The last thing you want to do is have a great website built and not be able to keep the content fresh. If you can use Microsoft Word, you should be able to login to your website and easily post blogs, add new content and update your pages yourself.It’s important to hire a web firm that not only builds your website on a content management system (which allows you to update your website), but also provides training and support to help you when you get stuck.
4. What do you do to help your clients with Search Engine Optimization? Can you show me examples of SEO work you have done?
A web company should talk with you about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You don’t want to spend time and money building a website if no one will be able to find it online when searching for a company like yours. Make sure the web company you hire provides basic SEO (such as permalinks and keywords). Not all web companies do SEO but if they don’t, you need to know that up-front so you can budget for this vital aspect of your future online success.
5. Do you provide web hosting? If so, how much does that cost per month?Are there any other on-going monthly fees I need to consider moving forward?
It’s really important to not only know what your website will cost to complete, but what on-going fees you’ll need to budget for, such as web hosting, domain registration, support, consultation, maintenance, etc.
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