Business

How do you find a reliable and effective web development partner?

If you opened this article, you probably want to hire a web development agency for a new website, or maybe as a vendor for a long-term relationship to help you with new and on-going projects.

It’s simple – everyone wants to work with the people they trust.

If you own a marketing agency, sometimes it’s hard to find a reliable web development vendor that is happy to work under a white label.

I guess some of you already tried and asked yourself. How do I know what kind of dev team is good for my company?

It’s tricky to catch an affordable company that allows you to generate enough margin that doesn’t force you to price so high, no one can afford to work with you.

Research

Always start by asking your network for a recommendation. If someone already had a good experience, that could be a good starting point.

You must give preference to the recommended company, of course, but try to contact at least three, so you can have a choice, and be able to make a comparison between them.

The website is the mirror of every business. Check their website, and if it’s outdated, runaway. You don’t want to work with them. If they can’t take care of their own website, how will they work on yours?

Lookup the founder’s profile page on LinkedIn. That could be a good source to find out more about the company you are planning to hire. Check their biography, experience and client recommendations.

Call

To get a better impression of the company, schedule a call to get to know each other.

Don’t start with the price.

Focus on their approach, how they see and observe specific issues related to the work you want to hire them for.

You want someone who can give suggestions on how to meet project requirements and provide a sustainable solution.

It’s always better to go with the company that has experience in various industries than in one niche.

Why?

Simple because they faced different challenges and problems. An agency that specialized only in one industry can be influenced by previous projects and give you a cliché result in the end.

Communication

The main concern of all agencies we work with is a risk of slow responsiveness. They don’t want to get a request from a client but not have the staff to handle the situation in a reasonable amount of time.

You want someone who will communicate clearly, be able to understand requests and hop on a call if it’s a matter of urgency or be available by phone if needed.

I consider a proper response to a client to be within a few hours.

Insist that a vendor should accept the communication channel you prefer. A web development partner should act as a friendly extension to your team, not as a subcontractor.

Stay on top of everything and communicate proactively.

Make sure the team answers quickly and keeps you informed throughout the project. Ask who will be the contact and project manager.

Independence

As a marketing agency, a hand-holding development team is not what you want. You should minimize time and effort on your part and rely on the development partner.

Be focused on other parts of your business. Finding new clients, manage existing relationships, create marketing strategies, etc.

You should be spending time managing the team when you could be spending it on your clients. When your clients have issues, a vendor agency should offer support and resolve a problem.

Skills and team quality

Be suspicious if an agency tells you they work in various technologies from web to mobile development, and they can do everything. There are certain limitations every company has, especially if it’s small.

For instance, my agency does web design and development with a focus on custom build WordPress and Shopify websites. Not any kind of marketing services is provided from our side (off-page SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, social media strategy, etc.)

I’m very explicit about this. I know what our strongest skills are and just want to work in that domain.

Examples

In case you are a company that wants to build a website, after the initial meeting, look at their portfolio examples.

Do not focus on the websites from the same industry but on the quality in general. Try to compare their portfolio with websites you like and check if the quality is at least close to what you expect to get.

See if there were challenges across all projects, and how they overcome those. Let them tell you about the most advanced website they made.

On-going support

It’s important to think beyond the launch of the website.

You don’t want someone who will finish a website and leave, right?

Examine what kind of support a team can provide you. Every ticket should be resolved within 24-hours.

Do they give a post-production guarantee and are they willing to fix issues that could happen after the website has launched?

What about training sessions? Can they explain how you can update content on the website?

How do they deal with website maintenance?

Unless they tell you that the core of their services is ongoing support, they won’t be there to help.

A good agency will be your partner at the beginning, during and after the project completion.

Cost.

Quality requires a lot of effort and time.

Investing a lot of time on the website requires a higher price.

Do not run away from vendors who have higher prices. Ask yourself what the most important reason is you would consider working with someone if you exclude price.

With a cheap price, you may not get any kind of support, and the main goal of that team is to finish a project and collect the money, everything after that is not their concern.

With a web development agency, you’ll only pay hours worked on your projects. You don’t have to deal with hiring, on-boarding, benefits, nonproductive time and salaries.

Start small

It’s always a challenge when you start working with a new company. Better start with a small project to test out your vendor and have a smooth onboarding process.

They need to figure out workflow and running to your standards and preferences.

Find out more about the testing process and examine their internal systems. Every successful company has developed internal procedures to make a productive and effective workflow.  

 In conclusion, finding a reliable development partner involves the following:

  • Research a recommendation from your network
  • Make a call to get to know each other
  • Ensure efficient and responsive communication
  • Ensure they can work independently
  • Have excellent coding skills
  • Have a great portfolio
  • Have ongoing support and website maintenance
  • Make sure fees are reasonable and there is room for you to have a strong profit margin
  • Start with a small trial project

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