Tuesday, September 19, 2017
     Interactive Web Design, Database Integration, Online Promotion, ECommerce Tools & Business Resources


How To Evaluate A Web Developer

By Mark Idzik

Not all web developers are created equal!

Because of the emerging popularity of the web, many new firms are opening daily offering web design services. How do you select among the masses - from your advertising agency to your neighbors 12 year old son?

Your web presence is a reflection on your company, products and services. Would you trust your reputation with just anyone? Here are some common-sense guidelines to selecting a web developer that is suited for your business.

1. Does Your Web Developer Focus On Results - Or Flashy New Technologies?

In the rapidly changing web environment, new technologies come and go every day. Some are valuable, some will make no impact on your bottom line. Since you are in business to make a profit, you should hire a developer that focuses on results. How can your site cut your costs? How can your sites increase your sales, leads or inquiries? These are questions a developer should ask. If not, you may want to keep looking.

We focus on how your company can benefit from having a web presence. How your bottom line can increase by cutting costs or increasing revenue. In some cases just additional exposure can benefit your company. Your goals are our goals as we work with you to achieve them.

2. How Does Your Web Developer Approach Your Site - From A Marketing Perspective or Just Fancy Graphics and Design?

There are many talented graphic designers that can design a visually beautiful web site. But will they design your site from a marketing perspective? Do they take in consideration how visitors will see your site? What hardware the average user is using to view your site? How to design your site to gently lead your viewers to make a decision and contact you? How to weigh design functionality with the file size of graphics to make the site load fast and still look professional and appealing to your audience?

Our background is a mix of direct marketing and computer automation, so our focus is on presenting your site in a way that compels a viewer to contact you. Compels them to register, join a mailing list or entice them with valuable information about your industry. We'll make suggestions on how to implement these strategies and follow through on the most effective ways to get results.

3. Does Your Developer Learn About Your Business?

Does your developer interview you about your web site goals? Do they learn about your business, how you generate leads, make sales, how you currently distribute information? Do they ask about how you make back end sales? Get referrals? Explore new business opportunities?

All this information is necessary in order to develop a web site that will meet your business needs and accomplish your goals. If your developer doesn't ask you any of these questions, be prepared to find one that does. Your on-line business depends on it. (You may also learn something new about your business!)

Before we even deliver a proposal for your web site, we ask 90% of these questions. We feel that it isn't possible to develop your web strategy along with a results oriented web site without it. Drop us a note if you'd like to discuss your on-line strategies.

4. Can Your Developer Show You Examples of Their Previous Work?

Will your developer show you examples of sites they've developed for other clients? It's important that you are comfortable with the look and feel and style the developer uses. Before you make a decision, review at least two or three sites they have worked on, including their own site. Be careful if a developer will not show you any previous work, or if they don't have a site of their own.

Feel free to review the sites that we've had the privilege to contribute to or develop. Contact us for more information.

5. Does Your Developer Have Access To Programmers, Hosting Companies, and Design Specialists if Needed?

Since your site will probably require more than just a simple design, access to programmers, graphic designers and high quality hosting companies is imperative to a successful and well managed web development process. You don't want to interview and search for all the integral parties involved in this process. You want the results: a professional site that achieves your goals. You want to have one person you can rely on to manage the development and one person to be responsible to take care of any situation related to your site. Unless you have internal resources on your staff with spare time, a developer with these contacts can be invaluable to a successful presence.

Our philosophy is to work with persons and organizations that excel in the area of their expertise and are dedicated to excellence. By working with specialists that are successful in their fields, you gain the benefits of experience and can expect quality results.

6. What Experience Has Your Developer Had In Marketing, Publishing or Publicity?

Since the web is a another form of "marketing", it's important for your developer to have some experience in marketing, sales or publicity. You wouldn't hire a computer programmer without experience in development languages to design a piece of software. You wouldn't hire a real estate agent without a license or sales experience to sell your home. Why would you hire a developer without a marketing background?

Your Lead Team Developer has a background in direct marketing, publishing, sales, consulting, business management and computer automation. This combination of experience gives you an edge in developing a site that results in tangible benefits.

7. Will Your Developer Assist You in Promoting Your Site?

The old saying "if you build it, they will come", does not apply to your web site! Promotion is just as important as effective web site design. Both processes are vital to a successful on-line presence. Does your developer offer custom promotion options or work with a high quality promotion expert that has successful experience in promoting web sites?

Included with your proposal will be a detailed analysis of available promotion strategies. Your site will be analyzed and the appropriate strategies suggested to promote your site in the most effective manner. Our background, in addition to our team of promotion experts will implement the right strategy for your demographic needs and budget.

8. Will Your Developer Be Available To Make Changes and Update Your Site in the Future?

Will your developer take responsibility for updating your site in the future? At what cost? Since regular updates have shown to be a vital factor to a successful site, have you discussed the options available to you?

Regular updates to your site are an important aspect of your on-line strategy. We can develop web based "front ends" in order to make updating data simple and straightforward as well as designing your pages for your manual updates.

9. Does Your Developer Offer You a Comprehensive Proposal with a Site Layout, Promotion Options, and Consulting If Needed?

It's important you know how your developer plans to implement your ideas and turn them into a web site. A comprehensive explanation of the site layout, a graphic map of the site, as well as promotion options and consulting availability are important for you to make an informed decision on a web developer.

Before a proposal is created, we interview you (or your staff) to determine your goals, current resources and needs in developing your site. Upon completion, your site goals are organized in a detailed analysis of each section, as well as a proposed site layout and site promotion suggestions.

10. Will Your Developer Design a Custom Look for your site, or just drop in your text and pictures into a template or copy your brochure?

Your site is a reflection of you and your business. It should be presented in a professional manner and designed in a way that makes it easy for your visitors to do business with you. Just copying your brochure may not be the best way to present your company on the web.

Every site is designed originally with your goals taken in consideration. Where appropriate, your company's "look and feel" will be used to provide consistency. All sites are designed "in process" and you will have access to draft versions of each section as they are developed for your feedback and suggestions.

11. Does Your Developer Promise to Get You Online within days, or offer free Web Pages?

Beware of firms that offer to get you on-line within days or offer you a free page along with their service "package". Most offers of this type are for a 1 page "template" that lists your company name, address, telephone, email and product or service. It's not possible to design your site within days, anything of value takes some time to research, develop and implement. Investigate closely and "buyer beware"!

Our normal development cycle runs from a few weeks to several months, depending on the scope of your project. We make every effort to design to your time constraints and will make suggestions on ways to speed up the cycle if necessary to meet your deadlines.

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