Building a new website or an overhauling your old website is a lot of work. It’s can a huge undertaking depending on the amount of content you want to launch with and what you want that content to do. So Hiring A Web Design Firm or Web Developer is an important consideration.
There is a lot to consider when Hiring a Web Design Firm or Web Developer because there is a lot riding on it. The future of your business could depend on your website or your website might be your business. So when hiring a web design firm, consider all your options and remember it’s not all about up front cost. A web design firm that does it right might be expensive now, but a firm that takes shortcuts might seem cheap but will cost you in the long run.
Here are the 9 things your need to consider before hiring a web design firm or freelance web developer:
1. What do you need for your new website or redesign?
This is a topic that we could go in-depth with but to keep it high level for now, before you start looking for a web developer consider what your needs are. Are you starting out and on an extremely tight budget? Then you might want to consider Squarespace as an option, it has an easy monthly payment plan so cost might be easy for you especially if you are starting out and don’t need anything custom.
If you are looking for a big redesign or know that you need something more complex, custom will be your best bet. List out all the qualities you need for your site, whether it be e-commerce, an intense projects layout or a robust blog. Consider all your needs first so you can tell you prospective web firm exactly what you’re looking for.
2. How much time do you have to work on the project?
The overarching timeline of the project is important, but what is more important is the time commitment you have to work on the project. Depending on who you hire, you may need to do all the work or give a review and final approval.
Working with a Freelancer web developer may lead to you doing a lot of heaving lifting yourself and telling them exactly what you want. Whereas if you go with a Web Firm their dynamic team will be able to handle more of the workload freeing up more of your time. The more experience the person or team has the less timely the process will be, hopefully.
3. Where is your web design firm located?
Location matters, because of time difference matters. Are you located in London and trying to build your business after your own workday is done? Instead of hiring a firm based in London whose hours are 9-5 (IE when you’re at work) Try looking at Vancouver-based Web Firms. 8 pm London Time is only Noon Vancouver time. Most of the work we do is based online and over the phone, so you don’t really need to worry about in person consultations.
4. What is web design firm’s process?
Here a Forge and Smith we pride ourselves on our process. We worked hard and used our years of experience to craft a process that helps streamline the work and meets all of your deadlines. Whoever you chose as your Web Developer, make sure they have a process in place, deliverables you can expect and a general timeline so you know when to expect things. If they don’t have these things in place you might be sitting and stuck at one step of the process without even realizing it. And wishing you were still in the Hiring A Web Design Firm phase.
5. What services do they offer?
After you look at the Process, check on what services they offer and what is included in your website redesign or new build. Do they look at User Experience, offer any Web Design Services, help you with your SEO Optimization, help you with your content strategy? Some web developers are just web developers, ours are and it works for us. This is a good and bad thing, good because they are able to specialize in what they are they best at, bad because you may not realize the difference, and then you might realize you wanted them to do more than just development, like design, but their skills lie in developing.
6. What is the cost of the entire process?
Are you being charged by the hour or will there be a set budget in place with some room for negotiation if things take a longer or a shorter amount of time? Knowing the full cost of the project is very important. But more important is knowing what you get out of that cost. So ask for quotes when Hiring A Web Design Firm. But also ask for exactly what that cost is getting you.
Also, make sure that you are getting what you pay for. If you are paying the custom cost, but the firm you are using is using a prefabricated template they just bought themselves, make sure you are aware and that they tell you. Because when it comes a time that template is no longer compatible you will find yourself in a pickle.
7. Who’s on the team & personalities?
You need to be able to mesh with the team, your personalities may not match up completely (you aren’t looking for a soulmate) but you both need to respect each other and value the other person’s opinion. We understand that you know your clients and customer best just like we hope you understand that we know web best. Having that understanding and respect is the start of any strong and well-working relationship.
If you are going with a Web firm, knowing who is on the team and who you will be working with at every stage is great, you get to put a name to a face and understand how they fit into your web development process.
8. Their previous work: Websites and case studies
Check out their previous work, but don’t base who you contact for a quote on whether they have done a project exactly like yours or not. The Web works in wonderful ways, it’s so dynamic and purposeful that you might not think that an Ecommerce store and a law firm have anything in common, but they do. Instead of looking if they have done your exact project before, look at the elements they have in their previous sites and see if that matches your needs. Taking a look their previous website and case studies gives you a feel of their work and how they implement their process and how the services they offer fit in. Make sure your check their work our before Hiring A Web Design Firm.
9. When is your deadline, how does your timeline fit into theirs?
Does your deadline fit into theirs? Were you hoping for a quick turnabout but you are you working with a freelancer what has a full-time job they are also balancing? Or a web firm that already has 10 projects on the go. Make sure you know what to expect and that they can promise to hit your deadline or give you realistic expectations of when things will be ready. A fully custom website won’t take just a week, just like a one pager shouldn’t take over a month.