Ask the right questions when choosing your Web-Vendor
Choosing a website vendor to create you website is never going to be easiest task on your to-do list. Your website reflects your business online, and acts as a major partner in your business performance. Who could you trust such an invaluable asset to?
Just like your accountant and lawyer, choosing website partner is partly an act of faith. This is a person you will connect with not only for your initial website design, but also for its maintenance, changes and updates. So it is critical that you feel comfortable and confident in your vendor’s abilities.
And yet, there are key factors that will play a part in a successful relationship between a website vendor and a business owner. And it all starts with asking the right questions. Here are a few most important “Should Ask” Questions that you shouldn’t miss when choosing your web partner.
- Can you provide me with references from your existing clients?
Good work generates glowing testimonials. Don’t be shy about asking for references. Any firm worth its salt should have no trouble redirecting you to past clients who can vouch for their work.
Extra tip: Have your most important questions handy when you call the reference. And be cognizant of the fact that speaking to you might not be their top priority.
- Do you have a project management software?
Project mgmt. can be quite a handful task- especially if your project is sizable. If your vendor is using an industry standard software to manage their clients, chances are that they take their projects as seriously as you do.
- Will I have a dedicated project manager?
Speaking to a new person on the team every time you call your vendor will drive you crazy. Insist on a single point of contact, who will know your business inside out.
- How quickly will you return my mails? What is your SLA?
Once they give you a number- they will be bound by it. Like anything else in life, you are more likely to get better service if you ask for it.
Extra tip: Make SLA a part of the agreement once you select a web service provider, and ensure restful sleeps!
- Will I have complete admin authority on my website?
Things go sour unexpectedly at times. There can be a number of reasons for you to take control in your hands. Just like your bank account does not belong to your account, so does your web presence. Make sure you have all required access even if you are a hands-off kind of person.
- Would you optimize my site for SEO?
Yes, or No –either answer is okay. SEO is typically the costliest and trickiest part of web presence – and it may or may not be part of your plan. However, make sure the basics are covered, and you know what you are paying for.
- What platform will you be using? It is end user friendly or needs dedicated technical resources?
Again, there is no right answer. Depending on your needs- your vendor will choose the platform. However, everything else being equal- simpler is definitely better.
- What if I change my mind?
Your vendor should not make you feel guilty about wanting to changer the header image, the about us text, or even core functionality. Website is an important business tool, and you have all the right to change your mind. It might not be free though, as each change needs man-hours and resources from your vendor. Do clarify how many versions are included, and what would other changes cost in terms of money and time
- What will the finished product include, and what will it not include?
Again, while there is no one right answer, the important thing is you know what you are getting for your buck. Also, make sure you get tentative pricing for your future plans. Some vendors will charge you a minimal fees to lock you in, and then charge exorbitantly for any change or update. It is important that you could trust your website vendor as a trusted advisor.
- What happens when the project ends?
At a minimum, they can provide you traffic reports and other analytics. Even better, you can hire them at a retainer fee to constantly measure, and tweak your website for better conversions and more business. Make sure that post-production strategy is in place, and your web vendor continues to be at your side, using internet to drive more customers to you.