You are not alone in choosing to outsource the development of your website. Hub spot’s recent survey found website development the second most outsourced service. But if the proper amount of time and care is not taken the negative impacts on your business will be felt for a long time.
We have a downloadable guide to help you interview and evaluate web developers and designers. It contains a list of questions to ask during an interview and a set of criteria for evaluating the firms. It is a great tool to print out and use while interviewing potential firms.
Let’s examine the high points of our advice.
The Difference Between a Developer and Designer
There are two parts to a website – the side you don’t see (the code) and the site you do see (how the website looks). In the world of website development these two sides of a website are managed by two different people working as a team. Sometimes they are the same person.
The website developer is responsible for the foundation of the website. They will create the code that allows the website to work and the functionality to be in place. More importantly they should be using best practices and principles for the code and platform being used for the website.
The website designer is responsible for the way the site looks. They will make decisions on the colors, images, videos, pages, and more. Their goal is to create a website that is appealing to visitors without getting in the way of the functionality.
These two sides of a website must work together to create a functioning website. Neither person will get everything they want so there must be collaboration with give and take on both sides.
How to Interview Perspective Firms
Research and make a list of firms that strike you as someone you want to work with. Ask family and friends who they have used in the past. Make a long list of all the potential firms.
Once you have a long list conduct in depth distance research. Get some basic questions answered such as:
- Do they have experience with businesses like yours?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do you like what you see on their website? Not the design – the information they are providing you.
- Are they within your budget?
- Search for rating of the firm.
Reduce your list to 3 – 5 firms and begin the interviews. Download our “How to choose a web developer” to help you prepare for the interview.
How Should They Be Evaluated?
No matter what you are looking for or how the interviews go there are three items that should be considered above everything else:
#1. A firm or developer should never refuse to answer your questions. There is no “Secret Sauce” to creating a website or making it achieve your goals. All the information about how website and search engine optimization is available on line – much of it from Google and Bing.
This is not to suggest that you need to demand that they teach you to code. But it is your duty to understand how the website works in regards to usability, SEO, and traffic. If you do not have this understanding you cannot evaluate the effectiveness of the website which impacts your ability to grow.
If the firm cannot or will not take the time to help you understand then you should question why you want to work with them.
#2. Avoid extraordinary claims. Search Engine Optimization and traffic growth take time. You must invest the time to provide a product that people want and build the trust of your visitors. This is not just proven but is what Google advises everyone. Checkout a presentation by the search team at Google.
If you are presented with extraordinary claims make the firm provide you written, verifiable proof of their claims. Also make them guarantee it in their contract with no qualifiers. If there are qualifiers or hesitation then you need to reconsider using the firm.
#3. Trust your gut feeling. One of the purposes of interviewing the firms is to get sense of who they are. A firm may answer all of your questions and provide you with the product you want but if they are hard to get along with then the process of creating a website will be long and draining. Life is too short to spend time with people you do not like!
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