Choosing a vendor is one of the first decisions you need to make when you embark on a site redesign or upgrade. An experienced partner that understands your needs and frustrations helps a project run more smoothly from start to finish. Having this kind of support in addition to technical prowess is essential for any project. Taking the following factors into consideration will help ensure you select the best vendor for your project.
Businesses will often engage with a number of different vendors for different service offerings on a digital project. Verify that each vendor in consideration is an expert in the services that you need. If it seems like a perfect fit for development but they’re less experienced in design, it may be best to find a separate vendor for design or find a more well-rounded agency altogether. While plenty of multi-vendor projects are successful, choosing a single vendor helps ensure that there will be timely communication about the concurrent threads of the project.
Most web companies provide detailed case studies on previous clients and projects. Check out their past work, project types, and industries. A portfolio provides insight into whether or not they would be capable of succeeding with a project like yours. Have they worked with other companies in your industry? At the start of the project, did any of their clients cite frustrations and goals that were similar to your own?
A good vendor shouldn’t have an issue providing several references for you to speak with. If the project was a success and their work is high quality, past clients will likely be more than happy to speak with you about their experience. Ask if you can speak to individuals from projects that were similar to your own. This will also give you some insight into what type of relationship they have with clients. In particular, ask for references that share your industry or website needs. If you’re a healthcare provider, ask for references that will help show the vendor’s expertise in catering technology for that particular industry.
If the company has only been around for a few years, they may not have specific processes in place for projects like yours. Choose a vendor that can provide a clear roadmap for your project and, ideally, an example of a similar project that they recently completed.
A content management system makes it easier to manage and edit your own content, especially if you have multiple contributors on your team or employees who aren’t necessarily very tech savvy.
Do some research into which CMS will be the best fit for your project. WordPress is a common choice for sites that are fairly basic with only a few pages of content. If your needs are more complex, consider a more robust system like Drupal. Then choose a vendor who has significant experience with your CMS of choice.
Digital projects are often lengthy and complex. A dedicated employee from your vendor’s team can help ensure that the project stays on track and on budget from beginning to end. Check that the vendor has dedicated project managers or account success managers specifically assigned to every project.
Your employees will most likely need some training once the website is completed. Does the vendor offer this as an option, or do they push the launch button and disappear? You should also look for a vendor who offers support services post launch for any issues or security updates that arise.
A competent vendor will have a lot of questions about your project and the issues with your current website after your initial outreach. Questions during the first stages of the project will help everyone get on the same page and set the project up for success.
Ask how the company measures the success of all of their projects. Simply finishing a project and launching a website shouldn’t count as an indicator of success. They should be able to provide metrics for previous projects and show how their work produced tangible results for their clients.
When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t need to draw a name out of a hat or make a dart board to try and choose the best vendor for your job. Your vendor should be able to meet your standards, and then go above and beyond to make sure your site helps your organization in all possible ways.
Christine was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Spanish. After she graduated, she bought a one-way ticket to Philly on a whim and has been happily living here ever since.
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