By: Elizabeth Scavnicky Yaekle
How can you confidently select the best web design and development company for your products and services given so many available options?
It’s simple—talk is cheap. The proof is in the company’s price, production, performance, personalization, passion, portfolio, platform and partnership.
Here are eight things you must consider during your evaluation and selection process:
1. Price is particularly important to small business owners because their working capital is typically limited. Make sure you understand what is included in the price. For example, is a mobile version of your new website included? Is there post-launch customer service available or will you be asked to pay a monthly maintenance fee/retainer above and beyond hosting?
2. Production is a critical success factor because many small website design companies over-promise and under-deliver, and most young companies do not have the processes and production metrics to ensure that the site is developed, successfully tested, and launched on time and within budget. Imagine if a website is being developed to support a highly anticipated new product launch or grand opening, and it’s not ready on time? Not good. Be sure to ask what percentage of websites are launched on time.
3. Performance is usually assumed to address ‘up-time,’ or hosting, but as a member of a team of SEO experts, I am specifically citing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and total leads the site is generating. You must ask, “How soon will my website rank on the first page of Google?” and “Will new leads be generated every day, and if so, may I view them in real-time?”
4. Personalization is absolutely necessary—that is, the ability to update your website with new content, offers and images, whenever you wish. We understand that small businesses are nimble and lean; and 99% don’t have deep pockets to pay every time an update is required. That’s why High Level Marketing’s co-founder developed a patented Content Management System, MYCE™ so you can manage your customers and content easily while minimizing cost.
5. Passion is a factor because the website design company should be excited about your website and ultimately building your business. Trust your gut with this one—if you think you’ve called someone in another country who is reading from a script, she probably is. If you hear genuine enthusiasm and interest in your success, then check off this box.
6. Portfolio should be evaluated before you even attempt to contact the website design and development company. A portfolio speaks volumes as to the depth and breadth of the company’s experience, design, suite of services, and more. It also shows how many awards the company has won (for example, High Level Marketing was nationally awarded #10 of 10 Best Web Design Firms) or, um, not won.
7. Platform is rarely considered because small business owners are so focused on launching a traditional new website. Be sure to ask if a mobile version of the website is included because it is absolutely critical to your business. Also, inquire as to the site’s responsiveness—to ensure your prospective customers can easily locate your website no matter which device they use to search.
8. Partnership is rarely considered until after a substantial amount of money has been invested in the website’s development; however, consider it early on to ensure the long-term success of your business. The company you ultimately choose should be considered a partner, especially because actively evaluating analytics may warrant changes to the site’s architecture and SEO strategy. At High Level Marketing, there is only one reason we get out of bed in the morning: so that big business doesn’t put small business out of business. We partner with every single client to maximize leads while minimizing costs.