When you’re doing any new process, it can be difficult to understand the correct questions to ask.
We are often called to give estimates on website development, including web design, customization, functionality, social networking integration, ongoing maintenance, and search engine optimization. There is so much information in this field — as I’m sure there is in yours — and new trends and tools emerge daily, so often we have to balance the needs of building a site vs. going into “analysis” mode, which can take as long as needed.
I always recommend you look at this process like you would look at constructing a building: a website is often an incredibly useful and efficient property for the business. We find that it’s important to ask the right questions — but if you as the buyer don’t know what you’re asking, it’s easy to get sold the proverbial “bill of goods.”
Here are some sample questions for you to think about during your hiring process, and the subtext you are wanting to get answered through these questions.
1) How long have you been in business?
(Subtext: do you know what you are doing?)
2) How many clients do you serve in a month?
(Subtext: will you be able to pay attention to my project?)
3) How many websites have you built?
(Subtext: how experienced are you? will you do a good job?)
4) What is your process?
(Subtext: do you have a process?)
5) How much does a website cost?
(Subtext: I have a lot of needs and want an estimate while I do market research to figure out what I need)
6) What kind of timeline will it take?
(Subtext: How much time do I need to allocate for this project?)
7) Can you tell me some references to other clients?
(Subtext: I don’t want to be your only customer. Tell me who else has hired your company.)
Also know that your initial gut feeling is a good one: if you don’t honestly feel like it’s a good fit, or if you feel like you’d do better by your new endeavor by extending the search, then by all means, wait a little longer, find someone else, or restart the question-and-answer process until you receive satisfactory results.
Would you like some additional free ideas on your website development? Follow @monicadear for general ideas, and @10kweb for web-specific tips and tools.
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