5-step checklist for choosing a web development partner

You may have recently set up a new business, and you now need a web presence. Perhaps you have a website already, but it is not performing well. Maybe you are thinking of building an eCommerce site to move your business online given the dramatic shift in consumer buying habits. Whatever the reason, you now have to choose a company that will handle the development of the project.

How difficult can it be? 

There are many web development service providers, so it is not difficult to find someone, but do you want just someone? Perhaps you would instead go to a trustworthy long-term partner for the project, not the first company you come across.

Luckily, there is a team of developers for any project. The key is to understand what differentiates your idea from others and how it influences the requirements for the developers. To do that, we’ve broken down the process of selecting the right agency.

Step #1  – Analyse your idea

Before looking for a website development partner, you have to have a clear understanding of what it is you want to develop. Keep this in mind while working on your website brief and make sure to add the necessary functionality, goals and technical requirements for the project.

If you struggle to define technical tasks clearly, instead write down examples of projects you like. Your web development agency can use them as references to understand your vision.

When it comes to defining your project characteristics to a web development agency during your search, it will be enough to understand basic technologies you want to use, whether it’s a static web page or single-page application. If there are any other innovations you’d like to add to the mix, make a note of those too.

Step #2 – Consult an expert

If you don’t have a web development background or you haven’t dealt with web development agencies in the past, it’s important to find someone whose opinion you can trust. They should have enough expertise to help you with your choice. If you have friends with development experience, use that as your starting point. 

Step #3 – Assessing a company’s expertise

When assessing potential agencies, you need to determine a company’s reliability and stability. To make it easier, here’s a checklist of questions to ask yourself:

How experienced are they as a development team/agency?

Don’t just assess the company in terms of its market position, evaluate their web development department. 

Find out the size of the web development team and discuss what resources you have access to. Ask if they have any awards or certifications to prove their expertise. Of course, achievements are not a guarantee of smooth cooperation, but it can give you some reassurance that they are credible.

Where are they based?

The market the agency works in determines prices, developer’s qualifications, and the management process. Here you have two options: 

  • Look for a company that is within your geographical location. This makes it much easier to collaborate on the project.
  • Outsource your project overseas. Although this may give you a wider pool and potentially cheaper costs, be careful as this can have its own perils. It may result in a lack of oversight on who is working on the project, communication problems and potential security issues and development experience.

Think about the specifics of your project. If it is complicated, long-term and you have no experience managing such a project, choosing a local company minimises risk. 

Do they have other skills that may help with your project once launched?

After the launch of a website, it will need to be marketed and maintained. This can always be done by different agencies who could handle your PR, your digital marketing and your website maintenance, but this disjointedness can lead to problems. A joined-up approach, where all the experts are in the same room and work together on a daily basis, can be a huge advantage and is definitely something to consider when choosing your agency. 

Step #4  – Define what cooperation model you’d like to use

Good agencies are comfortable with all of the most popular development methodologies – Scrum, Agile, Waterfall etc. Discuss monitoring the workflow and evaluating the results. Transparency is the key to success. What can a potential partner offer to monitor the project progress and the quality of work?

Step #5 – Check the potential agency’s portfolio

When choosing a web development agency, having sight of what projects they have worked on before and for which clients can give you a real insight into how they might be able to help you. Do they have relevant sector experience? Have they developed similar sites before? Technical proficiency matters, no doubt about it, but you also want an agency who understands the specifics of your business.

Cooperation starts with communication.

A five-step procedure – that’s all it takes to find a good web development partner. Don’t perceive it as a complicated task but rather as a chance to get to know your potential partner better. Cooperation starts with communication. Start communicating with your potential development partner at the very first stages of your projects, and you’ll definitely make a good choice.

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