Culture, Process, Web Development

What you need to know about yourself when shopping for a web agency

Nick Kramer — August 12, 2015

In scouring the web, you can find many topics suggesting what to look for in a good web development agency. There is some good information out there. However, the notion presupposes everyone should be looking for the same qualities.

What Is the Right Fit For You?

There is a broad continuum of web partners from one man shops to full service advertising agencies. One isn’t necessarily better than the other without the context of your needs. It’s about finding the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to hang a picture on your wall, but it sure could come in handy if you are doing some major renovations.

So if you or your organization is considering redesigning a website or developing one for the first time, it’s important to “Know Thyself.” What are your goals, and what do you need out of your website to reach those goals? This sounds obvious, but it is pretty common for organizations to reach out and say little more than, “I need a website. How much will it be?”

Steps To Finding the Right Web Partner

First, it’s a good idea to identify your internal stakeholders. If you are the sole proprietor of a company of one, then this is pretty easy. But if you are part of a larger company this can be an important step. Does your IT department have a particular technology preference? How involved does the CEO want to be? Does the HR department have a need for expanded tools to manage job postings? A quick survey of your team and departments can uncover some great information that will benefit any potential web partner.

Second, try to identify how your team likes to work and what their availability is to collaborate. Is everyone in one office or are they spread across the country in different time zones? A successful website project requires input and buy-in throughout the development cycle. These factors can help inform whether you should look for a local firm and/or closely scrutinize how a web partner plans to keep disparate teams on the same page.

Third, it’s helpful to think about your long-term roadmap. Do you need a simple site to put you on the map and help your audience learn about you? Or does your website represent a core interactive hub of your business that will need to grow and evolve over time? The broader your goals the more important it may be to consider the team size, experience, and track record of a partner.

Bottom Line – Know Yourself and Ask Questions

This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list. Suffice it to say that not all companies and their website needs are the same and not all web partners are a one-size-fits-all match. So when you are shopping for your next project, seek out a vendor that asks these types of questions. Because if they don’t try to get to know you, how can they possibly know what you need? And, of course, if you don’t know yourself, how can you expect to provide any answers?

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