Don't take choosing a design and development company lightly. There are many reputable and talented companies, but the bad ones are a dime a dozen. Below are a few quick tips to help you make your provider decision a bit easier. Whether you've got a six figure web project or your nephew is helping you make a blog, take a look.
Look at previous work examples
Do your research on the work that they've done. Most design and development companies will show clients and case studies on their site. But don't be fooled by big brand names and logos --- dig deeper. Some will claim they did work for Sony for example when they really did a small site for a camera repair shop.
Analyze the design and the functionality. Does it look nice and more importantly, does it work well? Do they have experience building sites in your industry? These are all things to consider.
Call references (without asking)
Don't necessarily ask for permission. Just look at the work examples online and call some of the previous clients. Ask the CEO or whoever was in charge of the web endeavors how satisfied they were with the web company. In this industry, relationships are crucial. Make sure to ask how long they've done business together and if they would recommend them, etc.
Meet the team in person
Make sure they are a full team with members with different skill sets. Beware of smoke and mirrors. Being local is key. Find someone nearby. Proximity means accountability. There are so many great web companies that there's really no reason to go across the country (or the world) to find one.
Ask for a CMS demo
Will you be getting a site using one of the common CMSes like Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal? Ask for a demo. Take your new software for a test drive. Even if you're going to get a custom site with a custom CMS, make sure to ask to use the software first. If you find it cumbersome, bloated and difficult to use, you'll avoid a major headache down the road by doing this. You're going to want to be intimately familiar with how to use your CMS, so make sure you feel comfortable from the start.
Ask for a project management software demo
What tools will you and your design and development team use to collaborate? Basecamp? Asana? Podio? Make sure that you know many of the ins and outs of the software so you're efforts go smoothly. If they won't show you a demo or don't use any project management software, that's definitely a red flag.
Think about a long term partnership
After looking at their work, checking references, meeting the team, and demoing the software --- ask about their vision for your site in the long term. Will they help you with developing a marketing plan? Will they be ready to update your site as necessary? Will you be doing a complete overhaul or a gradual updating process?
So there you have it --- a few ways to start narrowing down your search for a web team. If you're in the Tri State area, give us a call. We have years of experience in web design in NJ along with development, marketing, and hosting expertise. Have proposals from a few different firms? We'll take a look and give you some advice no charge.