Category Archives: Web Design & Development Series

questions you should ask a web design & development company

Questions You Should Ask A Web Design & Development Company

Most of our client are great business owners who know nothing about web design or development. Naturally, they come to us with a ton of questions you should ask a web design & development company. Having an educated client aids in making sure that we exceed their expectations. It also makes them more likely to become a steady, ongoing part of our family-like network.

 

This will be a multi-part series where we have compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. Knowing the answers or what to expect should help to make the best decision for you. Some of the questions are self-directed, while others are mentioned for the developer, or red flags you should avoid.

 

  1. Does their Portfolio reflect the style you like?
    • Are there examples on their portfolio that reflect your style or your vision? Does their finished work look great, or is there some experience left to be had? Most companies do not display all of their work; however, you should be able to tell if they are capable of the look you want to achieve. If it isn’t apparent, do not be afraid to ask-they may have something up their sleeves to show you.
  2. Does the company have a knowledgeable process for work completion?
    • A company that has a proven process that works will not hesitate in explaining to you the way they work. A clear and well established work plan does not have to be detailed in writing. However, it should be able to easily be explained in a way that you understand. Look for a company that asks a ton of questions; it shows they are listening and the wheels in their head are turning a solution specifically for you.
  3. Does the company have reviews or references?
    • People usually leave reviews when they were either really impressed, or very disappointed. Take some time to check not just their own supplied reviews, but those on social media, Google, and other review sites. The ones published by a third party are less likely to be modified and may truly reflect their business. Privacy issues may affect the ability to provide direct references, but a portfolio should be readily available. References that are provided should have nothing but good to say about them.
  4. What is your experience?
    • In other words, can they do the work requested? How can they assure you that they can perform the work? A web design or development company will be able to understand your requirements with ease, and be quick to discuss follow-up questions or concerns to make sure that they get it right. They will not lead your discussion with their offers, rather let you explain what is needed. Then they are prepared to offer a solution that covers everything you planned, and everything you did not. It is easy to get distracted by bells and whistles of those who seem to have a preplanned go-to. Watch for companies that try to steer you away from building from your core business process in order to fit the mold they use.
  5. What is the lead time for starting a project?
    • Some may say that a free web developer, or one that does not have at least 1-2 weeks waiting time before starting should be meet with skepticism. However, many companies have a large team and resources to start a project. Plan to start within one month of beginning your search or run the risk of quotes expiring or other potential issues. DO consider the project deadline so that you leave enough time to complete the project without rushing.
  6. Does the company outsource their work?
    • This is a highly discussed subject in IT, and is sometimes a sore spot. Some companies do all of the work themselves (in-house), either in their office or by offshore development (their employees). Others may outsource some or all of their work to another company, which is usually offshore. Knowing which model they follow can help avoid going through any issues commonly associated with outsourced projects. Why go through a middle man when you can go directly to the source?
  7. How do you determine pricing or what is the cost?
    • Pricing is different for any web development or design company you meet. Costs usually depend on the total time and resources required. Some projects or tasks need to be billed hourly or can be charged a flat rate. Pricing can also vary according to the number of employees required, API integration, or even the speed you need it completed. Everyone has heard the horror stories of being told one price, and then later having to pay more. Just be sure to get a clear understanding of ALL fees involved, when they are expected, and what is the refund process in the event that things just don’t work out.
  8. Are they local?
    • A very important factor, we can’t stress enough how much easier a project can be with someone local. Choosing a local web design or development company is recommended because it enables you to sit down face to face with someone. Companies not local to you can lead to more frustrations when it’s  time discuss requirements, details, or changes. In the event that there is an issue, you can bring it directly to them because you know who and where they are.

We are about halfway through this list, but the best is yet to come. Check back next week for part two of most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. We plan on wrapping up with topics that really set web design and development companies apart, including why you should use MediaLinkers for your next project!

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choosing right web development company

How to Choose the Right Web Development Company

Today we tackle a few tips on how to choose the right web development company for your next or future projects. This includes what should be done or considered in the search for finding the best fit for your company. There are a lot of questions that can arise for someone new to web development and these tips will help get the ball rolling in the right direction.

  1. Narrow down your scope or process down to expertise
    • A broad project scope can have too many variables to be cost efficient and successful. Likewise, hiring a person who may or may not be working outside of their specialty can be trouble as well. Narrowing the project scope and determining who is best for a job can lead to great results from available companies. In some areas, having that specific expertise made the project completion even possible. There is a reason some choose specialties beyond the surface; use that to your advantage.
  2. Know your budget
    • Looking for web development services without knowing your absolute budget is like choosing a house without knowing your loan amount. Whether you have an idea or not, knowing the max amount you are willing to spend to get exactly what you want will let you know if your budget is reasonable or you need to adjust. There’s no wrong or right answer; a great web development company will work with you to meet your needs.
  3. Check out their website and portfolio
    • A great designer or programmer will always have a ready portfolio. If they do not, then their either don’t have experience or their experience is too bad to show. Start first with their website, and usually a portfolio of client work is to be found here. Web development companies usually don’t display all of their work. Do not be afraid to speak up if you do not see something you are looking for or want.
  4. Set up a meeting
    • Most web development companies offer free consultations to discuss and quote your requirements. Set up a meeting to get a feel of the people you could be working with. If face to face isn’t an option, web and phone conferences are also available with most companies. This can also give you a feel of who you are working with and how well they know their stuff.
  5. Get multiple quotes, if necessary
    • You can always gauge whether you have gotten a fair price or good deal by comparing your quotes from different companies. If your budget is lower than all of the quotes, then you know a new budget is needed. You can also compare companies who are offering more or less features and contractual requirements for the same, more, or less than others.
  6. Ask about fees and deadlines
    • Some web development companies require lead time or advance notice prior to starting. Others, like this web development company, can get started immediately following contract execution. There can be small or large fees either hidden or upfront for items such as Expedited/Rush, Additional Programming hours, etc. Also, there may be penalties for projects you delay or abandon. Checking out these terms prior to getting started with eliminate surprises if an issue arises.
  7. Ask about Support
    • To get in contact, do you have to wait until certain hours overseas, or call an automated system? Or is contact by email only? Is the assistance limited to during the project timeline, or is there support post-production or launch? Knowing where and for how long you have somewhere to turn to in the even you need help can make all the difference in the long run. Quick, responsive, and available support can be the difference in feeling like it was money well spent.
  8. Ask about Project Coordination/Manager
    • Will someone walk me through this process? Is there someone you can easily contact should an issue with your project occurs? When you contact the company, will you be speaking with the same person each time? All of these are very important questions to ask when searching for a web development company. This can let you know if they will see their work through, or dismiss you once they have been paid.
  9. Proof is in the Pudding!
    • In other words, can they really do what they say they can do? Even beginners can work with templates and minor programming, however, if a custom requirement comes up, can the development team handle it? The last thing you want is to run into a problem and the company chosen has no clue how to fix it. Flexibility and adaptability to custom or changing requirements or problems occurring can set the competition apart.
  10. Ownership
    • ALWAYS ensure you own your project code or website. For a small subset of clients, ownership isn’t all too important. However, for the majority of organizations, owning the intellectual property, website, application, or even domain is crucial to the longevity of your business. MediaLinkers has even counseled clients on how to take back ownership or control, or have had to break the news that they don’t actually own a huge part of their brand.

 

While not a conclusive list, starting with these points should help in making a good  decision regarding choosing a web development company. MediaLinkers knows that this can be confusing to some whose core business is in another sector. Call us today to see what solutions we can offer, and let us show you why choosing the right web development company starts with us!

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