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10 Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Website Development Agency or Developer

Alekh Verma | February 7, 2023
web development

One fact that nobody can deny is that the internet is here to stay. With this, it becomes crucial that all businesses adapt or face the consequences of becoming obsolete. More than half of the world’s population is an internet user now, and with that web development is gaining growth at a rapid speed. Web developer employment is predicted to increase by 13% between now and 2030. Now it’s more important than ever that all businesses evolve and take the plunge towards developing a beautiful & fully-functioning website. 

However, navigating the world of development can be quite daunting. You must find the right developer or development agency if you’re looking to build a new website from scratch or even add a feature or minor tweak to your existing website. It's critical to ask the appropriate questions throughout the selection process because the company you pick to work with and construct your new website will impact both the final product and how much fun you have during the process. If you're utilizing your website for marketing, keep in mind that you'll be working with this design business for a long time. It's a financial commitment. 

We’ve prepared a list of 10 Questions that you must ask before choosing a developer or development agency. You'll feel more confident moving forward if you ask these questions. 

1. Do you have a portfolio that I could look at? 

 You must find a developer that has already worked on similar projects. Most web development companies showcase their work (or at least their best work) on their websites. So, make sure you thoroughly go through their work portfolio and check if their sensibilities and work style match your requirements. Do not shy away from asking for a work portfolio if enough projects are not listed on their websites. 

Checking their existing work allows you to check if they have experience in building the kind of website you’re requesting. For example, if you need an e-commerce website then there’s no point in hiring an agency that has exclusively built only business sites. 

2. What’s your research process like? 

It is the role of the web developer to construct a site that tells your story. You want people to come to your website and get a sense of your image, mission, and objectives. Your developer hasn't done their job if people end up perplexed. To tailor-make a website for your business they must conduct a study on who you are and what makes up your brand's identity. Having a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of the target customer will ensure that customers have a positive user experience and will assist them in quickly finding all of the necessary information they require on the website. 

Your developer must understand- your target audience, your brand & its identity, and your goals. It's better they thoroughly research your company, industry, audience, and competition. 

3. What is their tentative timeline for the project?  

It is smart to set up a timeline even before starting a project. Choosing a website, whether it's a brand new one or a revamp, is a major decision that must be carefully considered. The first thing that you must do is get an estimate of the time it’s going to take for both the parties involved, starting with the first meeting for creating the idea till the final product gets delivered to your hands. Sometimes unexpected delays from either end can hamper productivity and lead to unnecessary time waste. 

Moreover, we’d suggest that you hire an agency that can meet your deadline requirements. It should already have relevant experience in website development and a history of developing and delivering projects on time.  

4. What are your rates for a job of this magnitude? 

It's critical to conduct your homework before selecting a web development firm and determine how much you're ready to spend. Cheapest isn’t always the safest option. Choosing an agency that’s too cheap can also impact you negatively as the quality of work might not be up to par with your company standards and they might create a website that’ll negatively impact your brand. If you go for a brand that’s too cheap and delivers bad quality work then you end up spending more by hiring another agency to salvage the damage. 

Spend a few additional dollars now instead; if done correctly, there should be no difficulties with the website's performance, and any competent agency will provide you with cost-effective websites that fit your objectives and align with your brand's goals.

5. What are the deliverables that come with the quotation? 

To find an agency that best meets your project needs you must understand the deliverables they are providing with the given quotations. Sometimes hiring an agency for the whole project may look a little expensive, however, if broken down to each part and deliverables, it might end up costing less than paying a company on an hourly basis where they’d provide no details about the deliverables in their quotation. 

You must know what you paying for broken down to the last penny and what you’re getting from the agency so that there are no surprises regarding budgets in the end. 

6. What services do you provide?  

There’s no point in having a website if nobody ever visits it. No matter how great a website you’ve created, you must have a marketing strategy that attracts traffic to your website to make it a success. Thus, it is vital to select a full-service digital agency with knowledge in the field of digital marketing for your website creation because you'll almost certainly need content and copywriters, social media strategists, and SEO experts to promote your brand in the digital world. 

Make a list of the services you want to be included in your contract and go over it with your prospective developer or development agency. 

7. Do you offer custom-built or template-based websites? 

Depending on your goals and budget, a web developer or web development business may offer both custom and template-based websites. Building a website based on pre-existing templates can be cost-effective and faster; however, it comes with its own set of problems and limitations. Having a website that’s built on templates is designed to operate with any sort of website and, as a result, frequently incorporates unnecessary, clunky code that might detract from the overall relevance of the site. Moreover, making changes to a template-built website in the future can prove to be quite complicated and expensive. 

On the other hand, a custom-built website might be a little expensive and time taking but here you’ll have the advantage of having more control as the website is built keeping the specific needs of your business in mind. Also, your site's back end can be clean and efficient with the help of a skilled web developer, resulting in improved speed. 

8. What are the things that I “the client” need to provide? 

A successful website is not created by the developer alone. Just because you’ve hired a developer or development agency for the actual creation of the website doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook. Hiring an outside agency is half of your job, the other half comes after that where you need to be involved in the creative process of building a website and getting regular progress updates from the developer to make sure your project gets finished on time. Moreover, no agency can understand your brand better than you so being actively involved can only benefit your company in the end. 

The level of your involvement is something you must discuss with the developer before signing them on for the project. Both parties must be on the same page from start to finish. 

9. Will you be providing security, maintenance, and hosting?  

Hosting, security, and maintenance are all key aspects of your website's functionality and success. Many businesses choose to have their website hosted by their web development partner to avoid having to manage the process themselves. However, giving these responsibilities to the development company doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand the type of hosting environment provided or the security measure taken to prevent any invasion. To ensure top performance, the web development agency should also provide security in the form of SSL services (Secure Sockets Layer), backups, and maintenance.

Negotiate with the possible web development agency how much hosting, SSL, and maintenance services will cost, as well as what is included in the web creation package

10. Do you work in-house or outsource your projects?  

Just because a company has listed web development as its key capability doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the in-house staff to accomplish it effectively. In some cases, these companies outsource the entire or some parts of the project to an outside company. Doing so might not look like a big deal as in the end, you’ll be receiving your deliverables; however, it might lead to some complexities, unexpected delays, or extra costing. 

Outsourcing some parts of the projects might not be a deal-breaker, but you must ask this question to at least be aware and have information on what parts of the project are being outsourced and to whom. 

Conclusion  

Finding the right development agency is not an easy task; however, you can achieve it by doing the relevant research, asking the right questions, and understanding whether the company will be able to meet all the requirements of your project. We recommend our in-house web development services that drive superior outcomes through a customer-centric and data-driven strategy. 

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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