Choosing a partner and preparing for the website project

The decision is made! Your website will be updated, rebuilt or created this year…now it’s time to “interview” prospective web firms. What should you be asking? Here is our list of top questions to ask potential web firms before taking that plunge.

  1. Do they have a comprehensive process for working collaboratively through the project?
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We have a thoughtful 6 phase process that maps out our role and our client’s role at each phase. Our client’s understand each step of the process up front and are a collaborative part of the entire project. We want to keep our client’s involved and engaged. After all, it is THEIR website.
  1. Does their process include clear benchmarks to assess and report progress?
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Each of our phases clearly states what action/deliverable begins the phase and what action/deliverable ends the phase.
  1. Are they willing to share multiple sites they have developed and have been successful?
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Kolbeco has designed and developed over 60 websites for companies in the St. Louis and St. Charles business communities and various industries (financial, medical, technology, non-profit, consumer products, etc.)
  1. Do you feel like they care about you and your business goals or do they just seem to be focused on building another website?
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Our focus is finding out your goals and wish list for your website, but we do not stop there. We take time to discuss your business- where it is today and where it is going, so that we can make suggestions for things you may never have thought of. Our goal is not to upsell, but to make sure you have all options available to make an informed decision.
  1. Did they give you a budget on the initial phone call? If so, I would be wary. Most web projects need more clarification and conversation to discover what you want as well as what you need.
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Chances are that budget is not accurate. Your web project should be viewed as unique. If you are seeking a custom site many things need to be determined prior to putting a number to the project. If you seek an out of the box solution such as a template, chances are making it fit your unique needs will require move time than pasting in copy and uploading images.
  1. Are they willing to share references with you?
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Check the references so you know what the experience was like for someone else before you get too far into the project only to discover they lack skills, do not communicate through the process or produce what they think you should have rather that what you want and need.

You’ve completed the interview process and determined the firm that best fits. You’re ready to sign a contract and start down the path of website creation with your chosen firm. Be sure to keep a few things in mind:

  • Do you have access to your domain registration or current web hosting environment? If not, this can really hold up a project finding Cousin Mike who registered it to his personal email address. This might be more difficult than you think.
  • Take an audit of your current website:
    • What do you not like about it or what is not working on your site?
    • What do you like or seems to be working well on your site?
    • What has changed about your business since you built your first site?
  • Does your schedule over the next couple of months allow for meetings and ongoing communications so the process does not stall?

Now that you’re fully prepared and have an idea of what to expect, you’re ready to tackle that new website head on! Remember to enjoy the process; it should be a creative and fun endeavor.

Article written by

web developer/Wordpress strategist/herder of office personalities