In the third part of this series, we discussed the idea of determining a budget and timeline for your new website. This critical step will definitely help to save a lot of time as you move forward with the project. In this next step, we will…
Select a developer/vendor partner
If you have an in-house developer, this is a moot point. However, most small businesses do not have the workload or budget to have a web designer/developer on staff. If you fall into this category, do not be worried…I am going to help you select a qualified partner to design and develop your new website.
First, let’s take a look at the project itself. A website really has 4 important components
- Design – layout and graphics which require a graphic designer
- Content – information composed by a writer to address your target audience group(s)
- Framework – programming language/code or content management system built or configured by a web developer
- Search Engine Optimization – applied techniques to help major search engines index your website pages and list you in their search results
I offered a home building analogy in our last segment to illustrate the importance of having a budget and timeline for the project. Let’s use that example again when considering the importance of the 4 components of the website. A home construction project also has similar components that require specific areas of expertise. Blueprints, foundation/concrete, framework, plumbing, electrical and drywall are just some of the critical areas to consider when building a home. As a result, the contractor would need to specialize in each of these areas or have skilled sub-contractors to complete this work.
Similarly, the 4 components of your new website require specific skill sets. It is important to discuss each of these areas when interviewing vendors for the project. Confirm that they have qualified professionals who have experience and can demonstrate success in each area. If they do not have one (or more) of those important skill sets in-house, you will have to identify another vendor to complete that work.
Once a vendor has met your qualifications for the 4 parts of the website project, it will be important to confirm that they have a history of successful implementations and list of satisfied clients. Take some time to look through their portfolio of completed websites to verify that their design style matches your goals for the look and feel of the website
When finished with their portfolio, make a few phone calls to their references. If needed, here are a few key questions to ask previous clients:
- Overall, were you happy with what they delivered for the price? Why?
- What is their biggest strength?Weakness?
- Would you use them again for a future project?
If you can take some time to work through the details I mentioned above before you select a website partner, you will save a lot of time and money. Do what it takes to make the right decision the FIRST time and you will be glad you did.
Erik Barnlund, CEO of Mavidea Technology Group