Registrato: 08/07/19 10:45
|What鈥檚 that you say? A web development company saying the process of creating a new website will be rubbish and not enjoyable? No , it鈥檚 not a great marketing message, but we鈥檝e got enough experience in the field now to know this does happen 鈥?there is no point in pretending it doesn鈥檛. If you have ever though, 鈥測eah, the last website we had done was a nightmare鈥?we want to help you avoid that feeling on your next project.
Here are six essential questions you need to ask your potential designer web development company before you get started.
1. What will your website be built on?
Your website should really have a content management system (CMS) powering it. This is important as it is what will allow you to regularly make changes in the 鈥榖ack-end鈥? You may have heard of systems like WordPress, Magento, Joomla or Concrete5, these are all content management systems and you need to know what you鈥檙e getting, and if it is the right one for you.
Why is it important to know this? For three reasons. One 鈥?if the web development company are using their own bespoke CMS, and not an open source system, you will have to use them for any, and every little change in the future. Effectively they have you over a barrel as the system is proprietary to them and there is not much you can do about it. Two 鈥?when they tell you what system it is, do some research and find out whether it is user friendly, secure, powerful enough for you. And if you don鈥檛 like the sound of it, put the brakes on. Three 鈥?if you use a system like WordPress, because it is open source you can always find another developer, or web development company to take it over at any point, giving you future options.
Read our blog on why you should choose WordPress for your next website.
2. Is it a bespoke build or a template?
This is a really important question. There are companies who build websites to a specification agreed with the client based on their needs, and there are companies who specialise in adapting pre-built templates for a customer. Both of these approaches have their place in the world, but it is really important that you know which you鈥檙e getting.
A template will usually cost about $65 from a place like Themeforest and require around a day to adapt. This is a good option if you鈥檙e on a tight budget as it should cost about 拢400 for a template website. However, we get really angry when customers are deceived and charged as much as 拢3500 for a simple template website. Make sure you understand exactly what you鈥檙e getting, and if the build stipulates a bespoke or custom build, ensure you have the details in writing so you have some legal recourse if not delivered.
Our previous blog on custom build versus template gives you more information on the pros and cons of each.
3. What are the payment terms?
It sounds kind of obvious, but having these written down and allocated to key milestones in the project is really important. There is no reason for you to pay 100% up front, nor is it okay to pay nothing until the project is completed. For a small site that will take a few days, normally 50% up front and 50% on completion is reasonable as both parties have a vested interest to complete the project. For a larger web project that will last 12 weeks or so, we recommend four equal instalments of 25% to make sure the agency has some cash flow for the work they鈥檙e doing, but also that your risk is minimised until milestones are achieved.
4. What is your process?
We can not emphasise how important this is. Imagine you鈥檙e having an extension to the house. When you contract an architect, you expect them to explain their process. It is inconceivable you would go ahead without having a plan in place. If you do not know when building will start, when it is going to be completed and all the steps in-between, how would you know when to order the new kitchen? It is the same in the world of web development, and as such you should expect the web development agency to explain their process and to outline what input they need from you and when. Aspects of this process would include:
Admin and contracts
Different companies work to different processes, but if you鈥檙e not involved at every stage in some capacity, disaster looms. We mentioned at the outset of the blog that we know why people have bad experiences with web development agencies, and it鈥檚 usually because of mismanagement of expectations. The agency has one thing in mind and you, the client, perhaps something entirely different. When those expectations don鈥檛 tally up it gets ugly. Only by communicating, discussing and making sure everyone is informed does the project work well.
How websites are built from Square Daisy on Vimeo.
5. What are your timelines?
As a direct link to the point four, understand the timeline your potential web development company is working to and whether it is realistic. Everyone wants everything straight away, but websites take time. If you expect, and demand, a rush job, it will be poor and that will be your fault for not allocating enough time to the build. Equally it shouldn鈥檛 take nine months or more to build a website just because timescales weren鈥檛 put in place and agreed to.
Be mindful that agencies have other work booked in, so they might not be able to start straight away. However, if they are the right fit for you and your business, be accommodating with and agree to timescales you can both live with. As an example, if you ring a plumber and they are free the next day, they probably aren鈥檛 a good plumber. Go with the one that is booked for the next two weeks as it demonstrates demand.
6. Can I have a copy of the site files and database?