Nobody wants to pay for something twice. Yet, too often we hear from people who come to us because they have had a bad web development experience. Sometimes, they end up paying for web development services twice simply because they made the wrong choice when selecting a company to work with.
Over the years, we have worked with many clients who come to us with what we have dubbed “orphan sites”.
These are sites that were created by a friend, relative, or low-cost web developer who was moonlighting between jobs. At some point, usually when website updates are needed, these folks discover they are on their own when it comes to their website because their original web developer doesn’t respond to email or phone messages, has found a “real” job or is simply no longer interested or able to assist them in supporting their site.
That’s why when it comes to developing or upgrading your website, it pays to shop around and ask lots of questions to make your web dollars count.
6 Qualities to Look for In a Web Development Firm
If you are in the market to create a new website or update the one you have, here are the top five services, capabilities and qualifications you should expect from any serious web development firm you are considering.
It may be tempting to go with your cousin who is currently unemployed and “knows a lot about computers” but if you are building an online storefront that represents your business, it is best to go with a company that is experienced, has a proven track record and will be there to support your site after launch.
While a web development company can sing their own praises, referrals from their existing or past customers can give you a better idea of how they work. Would a past client work with them again? Would they recommend them to others? Ask for references and samples of their work.
3. Technical and Creative Expertise
Look for a company that understands programming so your site will look good in various browsers and/or screen resolutions and sizes. They should have the ability to create interactive forms, develop databases and understand the pros and cons of various content management systems and other tools on the market that allow you to make your own site updates. They should also be knowledgeable about new technologies and how those might apply to your needs. Along with technical know-how, they should exhibit excellent design skills so they can make your brand come alive and stand out from the rest.
4. Defined Process
Creating a website is a multi-disciplinary process that involves a blend of marketing and communications, technical expertise and creative aesthetics. Companies that do this well typically have a defined process with a dedicated project manager that keeps everything working smoothly.
5. Service and Support
Technology changes quickly. You want to make sure that whoever you go with will be available for support and service after your new site is launched and the project is complete. Websites are organic in nature and as your business needs change, you may want to add functionality and make improvements. Look for a long-term technology partner who will be there for you.
6. Search Engine Expertise
Let’s face it. Everyone wants to be number one in Google. That may not be realistic, but the company you select should have the ability to construct site elements that positively affect search engine rankings, including metatags, titles, text, links, and nonframe pages.
Be sure to do your homework. Shop around. Ask lots of questions. In the end, you should feel comfortable with the people you will be working with and confident that they are knowledgeable, competent and understand your business goals. To learn more about Informatics’ expertise, process and experience, contact us today!
- Maureen Kler Osako | Partner, CMO