As you are probably aware, there is no shortage of individual website developers and web design agencies. They come in all sizes, areas of expertise and price points. They typically arrive armed with great looking portfolios, making it even more difficult to identify who’s the right fit for you.
So how do you evaluate a good web developer from a bad one? For my money, it’s all in the strategic approach. Great looking websites that are easy to navigate are a given. Hiring someone based on that alone is like hiring an attorney simply because he passed the Bar exam – it’s a requirement, not a differentiator. Price is also often used as a deciding factor, and for sure it’s an important one. But, if you hire based on price be prepared to get what you paid for.
Again, for my money, it’s all about the strategic marketing approach, which means you need to look at your website as a strategic marketing tool. A tool that is as important to your overall marketing efforts as your products and people are to insuring your customers’ satisfaction.
Your website needs to be charged with accomplishing specific pre-determined marketing goals and objectives that are tied to the overall marketing goals and objectives of your company. The consultant/agency you hire to develop your site needs to be more than an order taker that can design and code a web site. They need to be equipped with the ability to think strategically. They need to know the right strategic questions to ask, and then how to cultivate those answers into a website that delivers a consistent message that augments your brand while further enhancing your ability to meet your company’s overall marketing goals and objectives.
Lastly, beware of the one man “jack of all trades” web developer. While typically the least expensive option, they can sometimes get you into trouble due to their lack of overall bench strength. Your best chance for success is to hire a web developer that is part of a team that is accomplished in all aspects of website design and development (i.e., project management, design, content development, programming, search engine optimization, etc.).
Remember your website, along with all of your marketing efforts, needs to be looked at as a long term investment for your company, no different than how you invest in your people, your information technology (IT) systems or your building infrastructure.
Or, if you are trying to determine if your website needs redesigning, click here for questions to ask yourself.