When you’re gathering bids for a website project, it can be a challenge to know what questions to ask the website developers and web designers who submit proposals. Sure, they say they can meet your needs and check off every item on your list, but does that mean you’re going to end up with the result you want?
We know that we’re biased as a web development company ourselves, but whether you end up hiring Summersault or another service provider, we want to make sure you find a great vendor relationship with no surprises.
To that end, we offer this list of 10 questions (and a few sub-questions) to ask when hiring a website developer:
- Can I see some examples of your work, especially on projects that are similar in scope and cost to my project? Can I talk to some of your past clients? Do you have formal training or experience in what you do, or are you a hobbyist?
- What’s your website development process? Where in those steps will I be participating, and how will I know how far along we are?
- How do you price your services? Is it by the hour, or a flat fee for the project, or something else? When will I be invoiced, and when will payment be due?
- What kinds of things could happen that might result in additional costs, and how will you communicate about those things if they do happen?
- Is your work guaranteed? Design and other creative visual work can be subjective; what happens if I’m not completely happy with what you send me?
- Do you do the work, or do you outsource it? Will the people working on my website be people I can talk to directly, or are they a part of some other organization you’re working with?
- Will I be able to update the site myself when you’re done, or do I have to call you? If I have the time, will I be able to administer my own site without spending additional funds on your services?
- What kind of quality assurance tools and processes do you use? Do you perform browser compatibility testing? How about HTML and CSS validations? When developing and testing e-commerce tools, do you have experience handling sensitive financial transactions and related security issues?
- Is there a particular software tool you build your sites on that limits functionality, or can you create custom functionality from scratch when needed?
- What sites, blogs, conferences and other resources do you and your staff use to keep up with best practices in web development? Will you help me look for opportunities I’m not already thinking of for making my site more effective? Is my site going to be scalable and maintainable for the foreseeable future?
Of course, there are many other aspects to consider when evaluating a partnership with a website development firm. Finding the right combinations of services, financial value and people you trust is worth the time it takes, especially when you’re talking about a working relationship that could impact your organization’s marketing for years to come.
If you have other questions you’ve found helpful in hiring a web developer or other service provider, please share them in the comments.