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Website Basics – How to go about selecting a website design firm

failure or successWhether you wish to launch your very own website or are looking to improve an existing one, finding the right development team is crucial to the project’s success. The Good news is that you have numerous options to choose from; the bad news is, the large number of website development firms out there makes it more difficult than ever to find the right match for your project.

To end up with the right website development firm, ensure you take the following steps before finalizing your decision.

Check their portfolio

Reviewing previous design and development work is an important step in selecting a service provider. Before you hire a web design and development firm, you need to know their experience and the type and scale of projects they have worked upon before. A portfolio will allow you to get a fair idea of their skills.

If you have specialized needs, like e-commerce or upgrading a Joomla website to the current version, make doubly sure that the firms you are considering can demonstrate successful completion of similar projects. These more challenging web projects often fail when an inexperienced vendor is selected to do the work.

Get in Touch

Preferably via e-mail or web contact form, this will allow you to get everything in writing even if it is your initial query. You learn a number of things in this step, allowing you gauge the firm’s responsiveness. The speed and professionalism of the response itself will speak volumes about their capabilities.

Schedule a Meeting

Whenever possible, you should try to meet with the website development firms you are considering in person. You'll be working with the staff over a number of weeks or months while your website is in development, and it's a good idea to sit down and make sure that you can communicate easily with the staff.

In some cases, it may not be practical to meet in person. This is especially true when you need more specialized website work, like migrating an older version of Joomla to current. Firms that specialize in this work may be located in other cities, making it difficult to meet in person. In these cases, you will likely find that the firms you are considering have solutions to provide web conference meetings, a good alternative to face-to-face meetings. Some commonly used web meeting platforms include GoToMeeting, join me, and WebEx.

Make sure they understand your business and business goals

By now, you would have a fair idea of whether the firm is a good fit your needs, but do they understand your business? The right firm will ask a lot of questions to ensure they understand your goals. Since you won’t be mapping them out in the initial phase, make sure this step isn’t overlooked; the success of the entire project rests on uncovering your objectives for the project. Professional website development firms should have processes in place to make project discovery easy and productive.

Request a written proposal

A firm that is interested in working with you will readily be able to give you a close estimate of the costs, neatly broken down for your convenience. If you have any questions regarding the proposal or notice any discrepancies, get in touch with them before accepting it. While there are always unknowns that could affect your final price, the proposal should clearly detail the work to be completed, and the cases for and cost of any overage charges. 

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