We live in the digital era. If you want to be seen or known you must have an online presence. It’s especially true if you are running a business. People no longer meet their suppliers or clients at their bricks and mortar business premises. Today, in most cases, first contact occurs online, i.e., at a website.
You need to make sure that your business’ website is relevant, engaging, and interesting to customers, prospects, and other consumers. A prospect is somebody who could turn into a customer.
Whether you are planning to create a new website from scratch or just want to upgrade an existing one, you need to find a web development team that can perform that task for you.
Here are some tips from web development company Clockwise on how to select the right partners for such a project:
1. Define your requirements
Before even going into the web development process, you need to know exactly what kind of outcome you expect. Nowadays, every business opts for an online presence, but not everyone seems to understand how to do it properly. That’s why you should specify what features you require. Here are a few points to consider:
- Purpose — figure out what you want the site to do. Functionality depends on the type of website you choose, e.g. informative, entertaining, social networking, or e-commerce.
- Target audience — define who your potential clients are and how you plan to satisfy their needs.
- Design — think of the interface that would be appealing to your customers, while reflecting your brand’s message. If you are not sure about this one, simply observe your reactions next time you browse the Internet. Mark the sites you find attractive and also the ones you don’t like. That can give you a few tips, and also, later on, help the web development team better understand your ideas.
- Brand personality — see your website as the main means of forming lasting emotional connections with your clients, that will make your business stand out from your competitors.
- Social media presence — decide how your platform will interact with social media networking sites.
2. Check company’s credentials
Remember that the web development company is not just a service provider you’ll never hear of again once the project is done. This team is likely to become your tech partner for quite a long time.
If you manage to find people with whom you are on the same page, consider it as a huge bonus. To improve your chances of getting that dream team, take these steps before making a commitment:
- Examine their portfolio — analysis of their previous projects will help you understand whether the company can create a website according to your goals, vision, and requirements.
- Check reviews — read comments about the company’s performance on industry-related web-portals; skim through their website as well as their Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles for more info. If possible, contact the firm’s clients to receive additional testimonials. Put simply; gather and analyze as much data as you can.
- Assess their technical proficiency and expertise — well-organized and highly-professional business use state-of-the-art technology and are leaders in their field as far as knowledge and experience are concerned. Make sure your prospective web development firm has these qualities.
3. Post-project support
You, will need to make changes to you web pages from time to time. It might be something simple such as editing contact info, but at some point, you might also decide to add a completely new feature.
To ensure that you would have the ability to make such adjustments, it’s better to figure out what services you can expect from your partner after the project is over. Basically, there two levels of support — updates and ongoing maintenance.
Updates involve minor changes that your people can do in-house. Most of the time, you won’t need to call a professional web developer to help you out. This can be done through a content management system (CMS) provided with the site. To avoid any problems in the future, ask your developer beforehand whether they can incorporate this solution.
Ongoing maintenance includes keeping the security systems up-to-date to prevent hacker/cyber attacks, bugs, and fixing/troubleshooting in case the website suddenly goes down and you need to restore your data. Check out with the company what sort of ongoing support they offer.
4. Quality assurance
When launching your website, it is important to make sure that it has no flaws. When you launch something like a website, you are giving people and other businesses a first impression of you and your company. There are no second chances with first impressions.
It is essential that your partners check every aspect of the production process before the site goes online. This includes the following testing areas:
- Design — as the site will be viewed in different browsers and on various devices, its interface should be consistent with all the platforms.
- Web content — proofreading texts for grammar, spelling, punctuation, or lexical mistakes need to be thorough.
- Contact forms — make sure they contain the right info so that your clients can reach out to you.
- Navigation — make sure there is a slider & scroll bar, menu options, search function & filters. There should be no faulty links..
- SEO effectiveness — all titles, tags, and meta descriptions should be short, informative, and include keywords to help both humans and search engines navigate the site.
5. Communication is king
Effective communication between you and the web development team is the key to your project’s success. If you want that flow to run smoothly, here are two points to consider in advance:
- Find somebody who speaks your language. You need to be able to communicate your ideas, and the listener(s) must understand all the nuances and subtleties that exist in your language. There must be no risk of ambiguity or misunderstanding in the flow of communication. You also need to understand everything they say.
- Set your expectations. You should be clear about what you need and when you want that to be delivered. Agree on the timeframe, set milestones together with them, as well as a deadline. Also, decide how often you will get in touch and how.
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