Well, to begin with, this is a very tricky matter. More so if you are not very well-versed with the internet technology and do not know what to look for while selecting a good and creditable web development company among the plethora of startups and established ones. I am sure there are lots of articles and guiding write-ups available on the internet for you to read, but a recent query (naive) by one of my friends prompted me to write this simple guide for people who want to start their own business whether a home-based one or just an online presence.
She was a senior in my college and her mother wants to start a home-based business about sari. She knew that I have been writing about entrepreneurship and small businesses and know a bit about website, which made her ask me exactly what this article tells.
One of the first questions that somebody in a similar situation would be:
How I build a website for my business?
Know your needs
To start answering this question, I often ask: What you want in your website? Obviously, there are various options that you can have in a website and the model may vary. Some of the main options that you can have could be classified into these categories:
1. Online presence with a static site often giving a glimpse about the business (about us), contact details of the business including address, phone, email ID, etc. (contact us), details about business offerings (product page/service page), and optionally 1-2 other pages describing their experience and what the clientele says. If the entrepreneur is proactive, he/she may also like to have a blog running along with this where it becomes interactive with the users.
2. An e-commerce site where products or services could be sold using payment transactions through credit cards, debit cards, bank transfer, etc. (My friend wanted this type of website)
3. A proper website for an online startup including a good (neat and clean) design, social media integration, an active blog, possibly online chat/support, and all the related information about the business.
To say the least, it is very important for you to know what kind of website you want to have and what would be best for you to show to your users and visitors. Promoting your website would be the second thing that you need to do but first would be the careful attention about design, details, content, navigation, etc. It should be noted that the cost involved in creating the website could differ widely. The first option would cost minimal while setting up an e-commerce site would be costlier.
How to pick up a good web development company?
If possible, try to reach down to the individuals who would be actually working on the project. While it is obvious that the company’s name could be popular, but your task is to find out the capability of the coder, who would be actually coding for you. Some points to check about this particular coder would:
1. How much experience he/she got?
2. Since how long he/she has been working with the present company. Obviously, if the coder is new, you would be hiring on the belief that the company would deliver the project as they would delivered if they had their earlier guy for your project. At the same time, it should not become the point of rejection of the company. A new coder to this company may have good experience somewhere else.
3. Try to locate the overstatement of jobs done by this particular coder, if any.
4. Have a deeper look at the portfolio of the jobs that the coder has done. Don’t simply go with the portfolio of the company because that again may lead you to buy the brand name. Try to test the individual’s credibility at such point.
5. If you have some understanding of website development technologies, try to figure out the diversity or specialization that the coder can work upon. If you are too familiar with it, try ask your friends or colleagues about it. If still, there is no such option available, try to contact the previous customers and ask them about their experience with the prospective development company. This would give you a deeper and actual feedback.
6. Once you have figured out the credentials of the coder, similar would be the advice for the designer who would be giving you design options for your website.
7. Once you have figured out the credibility of the two units who would be the key positions to develop your website, you should go for the overall credibility of the company including customer care, pricing, their positioning in the online world (on Google particularly) etc.
8. It’s also handy to check their own website for navigation, features and various types of user-friendly points that can give you fair idea whether they take every job seriously and professionally or not.
9. Try to search randomly on internet about ‘complaints’ or ‘grievances’ about that company. Sometimes all looks very well till we peep on internet and come to find out that there were whole lot of people who were warning you not to go with them.
10. It is also good to check their presence on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others. Their behavior on social media would also give you a fair idea about their professionalism.
It is never an easy task to hire a new web development company especially if you are not learned enough about the technologies. However, it is always good to read and discuss with others before making the final decision. This article would be a good example.
I would be happy if you are willing to share some ideas that you may feel are relevant to this topic.