How to hire a web design and development agency
Need: A website needs to be both aesthetically pleasing and goal-fulfilling. That’s the primary reason most businesses look hire a web design agency.
Preparation : Phase One> Information Gathering
Before approaching a web development and design agency, some internal research and preparation must be conducted first, this involves creating a project scope that outlines business requirements and objectives. This will make the process more efficient and most importantly identifying the agency that’s the right fit for the project.
Secondly, it helps if one has visual references/ cues to websites that you like the look & feel of, even if they are unrelated to your industry or product. This helps us to get inside your head in terms of the design direction that you like.
The first impression…
First impression counts and the first thing to judge an web agency on is by their own website, does it clearly portray the company and its services? Is it easy to find and access information? If the web agency in question has not gone to great lengths to develop their own website, how can they provide exceptional service to their potential clients?
Services and capabilities
What kind of web development and design services do they offer? For example, some web development companies may only create websites or applications using certain languages, this may prove to be a limitation to achieving the functionalities required within your project scope. A web development agency with capabilities in a vast range of programming languages may have the upper hand when it comes to not only creating a website and applications but connecting it to other systems.
Does the web agency demonstrate knowledge and proficiency outside of the programming skillset? Such as user experience design, web security and SEO. For example, a website that’s created with only function and visual aesthetics in mind will be lacking if SEO is not integrated during the project build.
Project References / Case Studies
Their portfolio will give a strong indication of the web agencies capabilities. See if they are able to demonstrate projects before and after – what were the objectives and challenges as these may cross reference with your own project and how did they address these to achieve the desired results?
From their portfolio you may also have insights to see if they have worked with companies within your niche or industry as well working with a company of your size.
Web maintenance and aftercare service
A web maintenance and aftercare service comes into play once the project is complete and has been delivered. It is necessary to understand the specific details to what the aftercare service covers and this may be outlined within the web agencies SLA (service level agreement). A common question is, what happens when the website/application malfunctions outside of business working hours? Or if bugs/errors are discovered shortly after project delivery, what kind of guarantee is in place?
Ownership and intellectual rights
A hot topic of discussion and one that we have seen to be misinterpreted by agencies and clients alike. Before selecting a web development agency it is imperative to clear the subject of rights and ownership of all digital properties with a binding contractual agreement before commencing with the project.
In most cases the client presumes that they own; the website/application, the hosting and domain name. When in-fact we have discovered that some web agencies claim to have ownership over the digital property that they have created for the client, in other cases the web agency registers the domain name on the clients behalf and also claims ownership.
Hours of operation and offshore service
As aforementioned, what would be the case of getting support outside of local business hours? It is highly recommended that you seek a web agency with virtual teams in other time-zones in order to get service/support around the clock.