Prospecting for a reliable web development vendor can seem like a daunting task. Many potential partners promise positive results, but choosing the right one to help you develop a website for your business takes a considerable amount of effort, research and thoughtful deliberation.
Define Your Requirements
The most important step in finding the right web development partner begins with defining the precise web development solutions you are seeking i:e your exact requirements. In other words, you need to distill your goals and business objectives so you can pick the right partner to help accomplish them.
Some examples might include:
- Developing a web application to improve employee productivity and workflows
- Designing a customer-facing site to generate leads
- Linking and integrating platforms, such as automation tools and CRMs
- Creating and launching an eCommerce website
Web development vendors run the gamut in terms of specialization. One company might be great at designing landing pages that pull in leads while another might focus entirely on eCommerce. Knowing precisely what you need from the start goes a long way toward helping you select the right partner.
Find and Vet Your Prospects
Once you’ve figured out exactly what you need, it’s time to start looking at actual companies to partner with. And while a simple Google search undoubtedly turns up plenty of results, keep in mind that the top hits aren’t necessarily the best web development vendors- they’re just the companies that are the best at SEO.
Instead, leverage your networks to find agencies with proven track records. Places like LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent places to locate and research potential web development partners. Moreover, these sites provide feedback from past clients to help inform your decision.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few potential prospects, do your due diligence and check their work. A good development agency will have a solid portfolio of past work on its website. The best ones will go a step further and detail how their work helped solve real business problems for their clients. At this stage, it’s also good to compare the agency’s work to the requirements you laid out beforehand.
Ask About Processes and Approach
At this point, you’ve likely narrowed your choices down to a handful of agencies. And while these prospects may boast impressive portfolios that show off some of their real-world solutions, it’s only half the story.
As important as the results you see on a portfolio are the processes used to produce those results. At this juncture, start asking about these processes. Some good questions to keep in mind during the initial communication stages are:
- What processes does this agency use to design, develop and launch websites or web applications?
- How will these processes help ensure smooth development?
- What kind of research does this agency do to ensure good usability and design?
- What kind of technologies does the company use and how does that tie into the success of the project?
A good web development partner can provide detailed answers to all of these questions, as well as provide you with a product roadmap developed around your business’s unique needs.
Keep in mind that, once you choose a development agency, it’s likely you’ll be working with them for months or even years. Their processes should meld with your own organization’s way of doing things. The best way to do this is to ask plenty of questions about the agency’s project management style, design sensibilities and development methodologies.
An Agency’s Take on Project Management
How an agency handles its project management says a lot about it. A dependable web development vendor has a well-defined project management process that encompasses the full lifecycle of your project, from product discovery to outcomes.
A great web development partner should be able to lay out a roadmap based on your project’s specific requirements. It can also tell you about the specific project or product development methodologies used to accomplish your business goals.
At the same time, however, be wary of any agency that promises absolute certainty. Technology is inherently fluid in its development and implementation — a great web developer will be able to tell you where these pain points may be and how they intend to deal with them when and if they arise.
A Close Look at Design Sensibilities
When businesses are looking at developing a complex web application, design often takes a back seat. But design is crucial to the development process. It’s so important, in fact, that 75% of users judge a company based on its website design. As such, you’ll want to take a deep dive into an agency’s design processes to determine whether it has what it takes to create great user experiences.
Granted, you can glean a lot from the quality of the portfolio, but pretty doesn’t always equate to the best user experience. Quiz your prospects on how they employ design thinking and what kind of processes and research they have in place for UX and UI design.
Understanding Development Methodologies
The technology aspect of web development is often the murkiest and most challenging for business people to understand. But understanding these aspects is worth the time and effort because this is often where less reliable companies befuddle you with buzzwords.
Take the time to understand industry trends in web development, such as Agile development methods. A good web development vendor will help in this, explaining how their development process works from one stage to the next — and how that leads to success in your website’s development.
Likewise, a good agency will be able to explain what technologies are used, why they’re being used and how they’re better than other offerings out there. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as necessary for you to grasp the technology aspect of web development.
Don’t Hire a Company, Choose a Partner
The bottom line is that web development is a complicated process. There are no simple, one-size-fits-all processes or easy solutions. Digital transformation and quality product development take a lot of hard work, experience and expertise. It’s crucial that you and your organization take the time to choose an agency that can truly understand and quantify your business goals and create a roadmap for success. In other words, you shouldn’t be simply looking for a web development vendor— you should be looking for a partner.
At Net Solutions, we’ve spent years refining our web and product development processes. By leveraging proven Agile methodologies and the very best in design thinking, we’ve helped our partners create successful, future-proofed solutions that drive business success. If you’re looking for your next partner to help drive your organization’s digital transformation, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
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