It is indeed expensive to get a new website built. Before you decide on a certain web design and development firm, you need to ensure what you are getting into. It is beneficial, in many ways, to ask plenty of questions to each firm you are considering hiring. Below is a somewhat long list of questions that may help you in your quest of finding a good web design and development firm.
How do you handle all the design and development work? How big is your web design and development team? How long have they been working in synergy? Plenty of firms do not have in-house design and development teams. This lack of in-house teams shows that the firm you are considering hiring does not know the technology that will drive your website. Besides, having someone between you and the development team will only make things complicated. With such firms, you are paying for the work to a third party of which you do not know anything. In order to avoid such confusion, ensure that the firm you hire has its own teams of web designers and web developers. It takes considerable time for designers and developers to settle on a batch of technologies and become proficient. If designers and developers have been working together as a unit, they will certainly have a robust and reliable web solution.
How long have you been using this web technology? Can you show me the back-end of websites built on the technology that you normally use? An early preview of the back-end (content management system or simply CMS) will be helpful as it lets you know what you will be getting with your new website. A versatile and easy-to-use CMS is important for you and your website. You would not want to have a back-end that would make a simple task, like changing the text or image, complex.
Can you build a website with responsive web design? Currently, the trend is for responsive web designs. After all, a large number of people are viewing the websites through their smart devices (smartphone and tablet). Your website should be capable of rendering web content optimally on devices with different screen sizes and orientations.In short, it should be responsive.
Do you offer any warranty? Do you have any maintenance plan? What about hosting? What are the costs for those complementary services? A website, like any mechanical equipment, needs maintenance from time to time. Web technology is evolving constantly and rapidly. New viruses are being born, web browsers are being updated, and new web functions are being introduced. Your website may function flawlessly today, but it will not tomorrow. You need to prepare yourself for the maintenance costs of your website. It is best to know how the web design firm you are going to hire for your new website is going to handle its future maintenance and upgrade.
How do you charge? Will it be project-based or hourly-based? How frequently do you go over budget? What are the terms of payment? Do you have a clear procedure for billing the extra features or work that goes beyond the initial scope? More than often, most firms underbid a project and then abruptly increase the price as the website is being built. Be wary of such firms. Get the clarifications beforehand by asking a lot of questions pertaining to the pricing and payment. A written project proposal, including payment terms and cost of extra work, duly verified is necessary.
Do you have a project manager and team leader who will be working on this project? It is helpful to have a dedicated project manager and team leader on your website development project. These professionals plan, build timelines, organize work, review, schedule meetings, etc. If the web design and development firm you hire does not have a project manager and team leader, be prepared to waste time dealing with development fiddle-faddle, which by the way, is the main reason for delays.
Can you provide some references? Well, this question does not need much of an explanation. It is just a good practice to ask this question before making a big investment.
What about the website’s source code and design files…will I have access to it? Oftentimes, some web development firms hold their clients hostage by not giving them access to the source code and design files after the completion of the project. When you are outsourcing your requirement, you need to know that you are the rightful owner of all the source code and design files…not the web development firm. Ensure to get it in written that source code and design files belong to you.
Do you offer complimentary basic SEO? SEO, acronym for Search Engine Optimization, is necessary for a website, no matter what business you are dealing in. Your website needs to be visible in different search engines so that people or your potential customers can find it easily. Basic SEO often includes HTML code optimization, header tags optimization, meta tags optimization, URL optimization, sitemap creation, etc. These are essential things so ensure the web design and development firm you hire should be able to offer you basic SEO for your new website.
That’s pretty much all the basic, yet important questions you need to ask a web design and development firm. Of course, aside from these, you can also other questions. The more questions you ask, the better are the chances to hire a good web design and development firm for your web development quest.