Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Website Development Company

For any business that is looking to grow, a well functioning, easy to use website is a vital marketing tool you cannot live without. Whether you are looking to create a website from scratch or redesign an existing website, choosing a development team to undertake this can be a daunting decision.

To make sure you feel comfortable in your final choice of agency, here are a number of questions you’ll want to get answered before signing anything.

What will be the working relationship between you and the agency?

Depending on your internal resources, you may be looking to work with a company who will be collaborating with you on every aspect of the website build, from holding workshops to discuss the full scope of the new website and regular updates throughout the design and build process. Or you might be looking to handover the project and just want to be kept up to date with progress reports and nudged for approval at the right stages.

Either way, make sure the team you’ll be working with is willing to work in the manner you need to keep the process running smoothly.

What other services do they offer?

As your website is such a vital part of your marketing, you really should be looking at your website design team as your marketing partner. By working with an agency who also offers marketing strategy as well, you can make sure the website is being built with your marketing goals in mind.

Depending on your business needs, it’s also worth checking what other services your website development company can offer. From SEO, copywriting, graphic design to video animation, if you can find an agency that offers all the services you are planning to outsource for your marketing, it usually works out more cost effective to keep these services with one company and keeps all these tactics aligned to your marketing strategy and working towards the same shared goals.

Can they share previous work examples?

When deciding on what your website will look like, it is very easy to get lost in all the design options that can be offered, but by seeing a few designs the agency has built previously, you can start to get an idea of what their style is, how much style variety they can produce etc. Are they using a template that will then be branded for your business? Or is every website bespoke? Depending on your business needs (and budget) it might make more sense for your website to be built from a template that is then rebranded and customised for you, but knowing they can do both is always a plus!

When looking at example websites, be sure to take note of the performance of the website, how easy it is to use, is the navigation clear? If there is anything that seems out of place or not how you’d expect it to be, make sure you ask the questions why its like this - it might be due to a client request.

As well as example websites, see if they have any case studies on their websites that they can share with you. See how they have measured the performance of a website, what results it has achieved for the business or what goals they were looking to hit with its launch. From these you’ll be able to see how well thought out the marketing strategy is behind the websites and get a picture of how the agency measures their success.

What is the project management process?

A website build is traditionally broken down into four steps: research/strategy, design, website development and launch and evaluate. If you are creating a website with simple functionality, this process should be enough.

However, if you are looking for a website that is a bit more complex, a growth-driven design process may be a better fit. This style works to create a launchpad website, with any nice-to-haves planned into be done in sprints post-launch and allow you and your agency to continually optimise your website to grow and adapt to your business and the data gathered once launched.

No matter what process you choose for your website build, it is important to understand how the project will be managed. Who will be your point of contact? Who’s the team that will be designing and building the website? What approval process will you be working to? And how will the tasks for the website build be managed to avoid any unexpected delays or cost?

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you are clear on how you’ll be kept in the loop during the project. Will you need to have regular calls with the team? How often will you receive a status report on its progress etc.

Once the project is then scoped out you can expect to receive a well planned timeline for the key milestones of the project to help you keep visualbitly of the project.

At this stage it is important to understand how the agency will learn from your existing website. Will they be analysing its performance and making recommendations of optimisations to pages that just need a bit of tweaking, or will they look to rebuild everything? How much research will be done into the industry of your business and what input is needed from you to complete the work?

When it comes to your branding, if you have a well established brand that the website needs to conform to, will they be able to stick to the brief? If you need new branding assets, such as logos etc, are they able to offer these services as part of the website build?

Finally, if you have ambitions to grow your business in the future, will the website be built to cater for this? Find out about the scalability and flexibility of the website to make sure you can add new products or services as you need to without affecting the design or functionality of the website.

Pre-launch and post-launch procedures

Once the website has been built, you will want to make sure the transition of the new website from the old one is a smooth transition. Find out how your agency will test the website to make sure you it works as expected across multiple devices and browsers. How will any snagging or bugs be handled if found after the launch date?

Depending on the the agency, they may also set look after the purchasing of your domain name and hosting or this may be down to you to source before you go live. You may also want to look into how the agency can help with the content of the website on an ongoing retainer, such as blogging, SEO etc. to help attract users to your website post launch.

Once the website is ready to launch, how will this transition be handled? What downtime could be expected during the transition, if any?

Other post-launch services that should be discussed is the level of ongoing maintenance will be provided, if any and access/ownership of the website once complete. Will you be able to go into the content management system and update copy or will this need to be handled by a developer?

Pricing structure

The last area you’ll want to cover before picking your website development agency will be how their pricing works. The majority of agencies will work from an agreed statement of work for a website design and build, this will lay out all the features and requests that should be delivered for a flat fee. Then if you go out of this scope, then additional work will usually be priced at an hourly rate.

By having a clear understanding of what is expected from your agency before you start working together, will allow you to iron out any concerns on either side to help your website build run smoothly, within budget and on time.

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