How to Start a Conversation with Your Web Designer, Developer or Agency
Have you gone through a website build only to not have your requirements not met? Have you been looking for someone to build your website, yet find that there is often too high a price to pay? Have you had a web designer, developer or agency string you along and not delivered? Have you gone into a website build only to discover what was not delivered was not what you required?
I noticed there are a plethora of posts on “questions to ask your web designer or developer”. These articles prescribe any number of between 5 to 20 questions you should ask. These tend to prescribe a grilling your prospective web technologist. This first meeting is a conversation. This is the start of a relationship. This continues throughout the development of your website. There are areas of this conversation that cover most of these questions. This conversation allows you to build a rapport with your prospective web technologist.
Site development should be the web technologist choice. Don’t get caught up in it. If you have a specific need such as integrating an ETSY store or providing a shopping cart, let them know. Sometimes, having a little bit of knowledge about something can be dangerous. You may not understand it to the depth of your web technologist. You would not tell the plumber how to do his or her job the same happens when you engage a web technologist. Tell them what you would like to do online. Let them decide how to do this with the best and most appropriate platforms for your business. After all, you are paying them to do the research to help your business grow.
“Once you have found them then you will never have to find another one”
Topics for questions
During the conversation, work in the following topics:
- your budget, as this has an impact development and the time that the development may take. It also means that if there are many stages to your site development. Scalability of the site will need accounting for.
- what resources you have in your business. Is there enough to maintain content after the website has launched? A website and social media presence require attention once launched. Does the web technologist have any strategies to help you with this attention so you can flourish or not?
- a portfolio of work done for other clients like you, to show abilities
- what is in the contract terms and what copyrights do you hold after the site has launched? This is important. I have seen several businesses find out at launch the web technologist ‘owns’ the rights. Depending on your countries Copyright Law. Any images or content are, either owned by yourself outright or, under license (in the case of media).
The terms of the contract also means that there will be a specific payment plan. Take this into account with your budget.
Do they actually have a contract for you to sign? BIG warning flashing signs if you do not get a contract or proposal/contract to sign. The contract is to protect you and them.
- What is their development process? how involved will you be? do they need you to provide content and when would that need to be available?
- Ask when the possible start date is as well as letting them know when the launch of the website needs to happen. Who will they need to liaise with to keep everything on track.
- Do they provide any after launch care or support? Is there a maintenance fee or a one off fee? Is it included in your initial budget?
Remember, ask what is their point of difference compared to others in the industry.
The web developer/designer/agency may have information on their website. Have a read of it before you get to a meeting. Take a look at it whilst you are researching who to work with.
Accessibility, SEO, User testing, and web standards, include these in your meeting. A topic to cover these is the Development process.
The main reason I prefer to have a discussion with potential clients is all about value fit. I like to work with clients that have projects that fit my values. This is not always possible.
I have experienced clients who, I gave contracts to that they have not signed (or read). Clients pay late and/or asked for extra development, not in the original website scope. This was not a good value fit. Discuss all extra work. Let the web technologist re-pitched so that you can look at your priorities and budget. Web technologists do not like working for nothing.
After decision made
After the first meeting, you received the proposal. Make your decision about who will build your website. Sign the contract and send back to them. When sending email confirmation:
- do restate the start of work date
- put in that you understand the payment requirements,
- request the invoice and
- PAY them according to their terms.
It always seems a struggle to get the right web technologist to build you website. Once you have found them then you will never have to find another one. Keep in mind the points made in this article, and you will find a web technologist that works with you. Not their own agenda or for you.
Remember, just because there is a list of questions doesn’t mean that you get the right web technologist.