Web Design Fresno Discusses 13 Essential Questions to
Ask when Hiring a Web Design Company
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2014
Fresno,, CA . -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/03/2014 -- Investing in a new website can be a very expensive proposition. Before you
settle on a website development firm, make sure you know what you're getting into! I highly recommend asking an
exhaustive list of questions to each firm you're considering working with.
1. Do you handle all development work in-house? How big is your team? How long have they been working together?
Many design firms do not have in-house development teams. This is typically a sign that the person selling you the website
doesn't understand the technology that drives your website. Additionally, having a middleman between you and your
developers is a recipe for disaster. You're actually buying the work of a third party that you know nothing about. Make sure
the firm you hire has their own staff of web developers. Additionally, it takes years for a team of developers to settle on a
set of technology and become experts. If a team has been together and focused on the same core set of technology for three
or more years, they probably have a reliable web solution.
2. How long have you been deploying this technology? Can you show me the back-end of similar sites you've deployed?
Getting an early peak at the "back-end" (content management system) will be very informative of what your experience will
be when you get your website. Being able to quickly and intuitively edit your website is critical to the long term value of
your website. If you have to contact your design firm every time you want to edit a word on your website, you're going to
lose your shirt in costs.
3. Can you build the site responsive (so it will work on mobile devices and tablets). Over 50% of all websites are now
viewed on mobile devices. Your website should be built mobile ready. These days, that means that the site is "responsive."
In layman's terms -- the site design changes (responds) to the dimensions of the screen on which it is viewed.
4. Is your content management system (CMS)/technology proprietary or open source? What types of licensing fees are
there? There are many content management options on the market. Software that is "open source" means it's created and
maintained by the developer community at large and free to use (although it still costs money to implement) and frequently
means there are more people that are familiar with it and use it. This drives development costs down. Proprietary software
owned by a specific company and may be so custom that only the creators know how to work with it. Imagine buying a car
with a new engine design that only one mechanic knows how to work on. It's expensive and risky. You want the cheapest,
most widely adopted technology that gives you the functionality you need. When it comes to content management systems,
for most small to medium sized businesses, that solution is WordPress.
5. Do you offer a warranty? If so, how long is the warranty good for? Maintenance plan? Service Plan? Hosting? What are
those costs? A website is like a car. It requires ongoing maintenance and support (you have to change the oil!) Every single
day the world wide web is changing. Web browsers are being updates, new viruses are being born and new functionality is
being introduced. Your site may function beautifully today, and be broken tomorrow. You need to prepare yourself for
ongoing costs. It's best to know how the firm you're going to hire for your website development is going to handle that.
6. How do you base your pricing? Will this be hourly, or flat-fee based on the project? How frequently do your projects go
over budget? What is your payment policy? Is there a clear procedure for billing for extra features or work outside the
project's initial scope? It seems to be common practice in this industry to do little up front discovery, underbid a project and
then jack up the price on clients as the website is being built. Our clients frequently tell us: "Wow, your proposals are big!"
Our proposals are big because we do exhaustive up-front discovery and write extremely details scopes. We want to know
exactly what we're going to build before we give the client a price. This way, we can guarantee that we'll hit our deadlines
and meet their budget. If the website development firm you're getting a quote from doesn't ask a ton of questions and write
a detailed plan as part of their proposal, beware!
7. What is your estimated timeline to build this site? This is another good item to ask references about. What timeline did
they give the client versus how long it actually took to build the site. Speed for development also goes back to question #1.
A team that has worked together and on the same technology has probably encountered most bugs and can work quickly. A
third party developer working on new technology is probably going to encounter new bugs and miss deadlines.
8. Can you talk me through your design process? Process is critical! A firm's processes and systems are a great sign of
reliability, consistency and quality. At Go Media we may go a little overboard. We have a detailed 32 step process for our
web development. Ok, we go way overboard with our systems and processes.
9. Will I have access to all my design source files for internal use? I've seen some firms hold their clients hostage. Know
who owns the design files. My company's policy is to send our clients all their files (including design source files) at the
conclusion of every project. If you ever have a falling out with your graphic design firm and realize you aren't in ownership
of any of the design files, you'll really regret not asking this question up front.
10. How do you track the success of your websites? There are many ways to track success of a website deployment.
Success may be traffic, conversions, sales, etc. Whatever your metric for success is, make sure that you have ways to track
it and make sure the firm you hire includes that in their proposal to you. When the website launches, it should already be
built into the site.
11. Can you provide references? I don't need to say much about this. This is just a good practice before making a major
12. How long has your firm been in business? How big are you? You're going to want to stick with your web design firm
for a while. Generally it is difficult for development teams to get into other firm's work. There is a ramp-up time that will
cost you money. So, you want to work with a firm that isn't going anywhere. Size can also be a factor. Big or small they
both have their pros and cons. Typically, the bigger the firm the more expensive the service. But size has it's advantages. If
one employee at a large firm has a family emergency, there are other workers there to pick up the slack. I suggest picking a
firm that is six or more employees. At six employees, a web development firm should have at least two designers and two
developers. It's a nice layer of protection for your project.
13. Do you have a dedicated project manager that will be managing this project? It's very helpful to have a dedicated
manager on your project. They build timelines, schedule meetings, coordinate feedback, review and organize content, etc. If
the firm you work with does not have a project manager, be prepared to spend a lot more time dealing with web
development minutia. And understand that most web development delays occur because of the minutia. It's the little things
that cause the biggest delays!
Once theâ€™ve built their site, itâ€™s important that the continue to follow SEO best practices in terms of content, link-buildand
social media. This will mean integrating Google Authorship, following on-page SEO strategies and building high-quality
links to their site.
About Web Design and SEO Fresno
Web Design and SEO Fresno is the search arm of Cloud1 Marketing and is California's #1 SEO & PPC Company. Web
Design and SEO Fresno specializes in ensuring that small and medium businesses get prominently displayed in search
results of leading search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing and more, to help small & medium enterprises connect with
customers searching for what they offer on their website.
For more information about their Web Design Fresno SEO & PPC services, please visit http://www.cloud1marketing.com/
or call Paul Singh
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Web Design Frersno