I’ll let you in on a little secret about me, I’m addicted to old, historic homes. If I could I’d purchase every condemned home and restore that home back to its former glory. However, I don’t just buy any and all historically condemned homes. There is a specific research phase and process that I like to take myself down before I ever consider purchasing a historic home. A buyer regardless of the product and/or service should have a specific research phase in place before making a purchase decision – did you know that 90% of buyers actually do research online before making a purchase decision? Here is a glimpse of my process that I take before I make a purchase decision when it comes to buying a historic home:
- Research the properties history
- Research the properties tax history
- Research the properties past owners
- Research the property for any tax liens
- Email and/or write the previous owner on record to inquire about the property – ask about prior issues and/or issues with the property that may have occurred while the previous owner lived there.
- Email/call the listing agent for further information regarding the property that may not have been listed in the property description
- Tour the property with an inspector or someone with a construction background
- Make a list of all the updates, improvements, and/or changes to the property that need to be accomplished after the purchase
- Research the current market and other comparable homes in the area
- Research the price history of the home
- Make a pro and con list of that specific property
- Think it over with a friend and/or loved one
Now, I’m sure I forgot a step along the way, but you get the gist of my process. When it comes to choosing a web development company, you should also have a research phase process that you and your team take before selecting the right web development agency, right? No matter where you are, the market is saturated with web design and web development agencies, so how do you go about choosing the right web development agency for you or your firm? I’ve provided you with a few tips for when you are ready to embark down that path:
Do Your Research on the Web Development Company Before Reaching Out
First impressions are everything! I’ve talked to numerous prospects that will only reach out to a web development company based on their search rankings – I.e an individual/firm will type a specific keyword into the search network and select the top 5-10 agencies that rank for that specific keyword. Now that firm will begin their research the second they land on that web development company’s website, they will look at how the site is designed, how the content is laid out, and if they can find exactly what they are looking for – quickly. I’ve also spoken to prospects that are in the research phase and will seek out web development agencies that provide them with educational and informative content that’ll help them with their process. Based on the content that is provided that individual will choose to either call that agency to inquire about more information or move on to the next firm on their list. Now, what type of information should you be researching when it comes to selecting a web design agency?
- Company History – how many years has this agency/firm been in business? If they’ve been in business for a few years you know that they have some years of experience underneath their belt and you aren’t going to be their guinea pig.
- Company Team – how large and/or small is their team? Do the team members give an idea of their personality traits – do you think you’ll mesh well with them?
- Does the agency have an in-house team? Do they have in-house specialists?
- Company Portfolio – Look at recent design and development work that the agency has showcased. Write down what you like and/or don’t like about their work. Feedback is greatly appreciated by any web development agency no matter if it’s positive and/or negative.
- Company References – Reach out to those parties that have used that web development agency and ask about their experience and the process that they went through while working with them. Take notes while you are speaking to that person, make a list of the pros and cons.
- Search Rankings – This is very important to those firms that are looking to increase their search rankings. If the company isn’t coming up for primary location-based Web Design keywords, you should second guess your decision on talking to them. Local Search engine rankings is “HUGE”!
- Responsive Website – Another key factor to consider is if the web development firm has a mobile-friendly website and if they specialize in responsive design.
How Responsive is the Web Development Company?
After you’ve done your research on the web development company, it is now time to reach out via email or phone. It’s important to note how responsive that web development company is too. Keep in mind that most small web development companies do not have a dedicated sales staff and that you may reach the owner and/or an assistant at the company. Respect their time because you may not be the only person reaching out, they could have 20 leads that poured in that day, so give them 24-48 hours to follow-up with you. Look for a firm that is genuinely interested in learning more about your web project and/or internet marketing needs. It’s very difficult for a web development agency to give you an accurate estimate right away without understanding your goals and needs 100%. Many individuals and firms take into account the responsiveness of a web development firm.
- Do they answer the phone and/or call you back within 24 hours?
- Do they respond to your initial inquiry within 24/48 hours?
Remember, Not Everyone is Going to be a Good Fit
You may have gone down the entire sales process with a web development company and realized that they are not going to be a good fit or visa verse – don’t worry this happens all the time and it’s better to catch it while you are still in the early stages of the research phase. We’ve had this happen on our end numerous times, we always try to catch it early so that we don’t waste our prospects time. This happens a lot when prospects don’t give us a budget to work with and what we present to them is outside of their means – this is why it’s always beneficial to tell your web development agency how much you’ve set aside for your particular project. In order to qualify a web development company after reaching out to them you can ask them the following questions:
- What is your hourly rate?
- Do you have a starting price point for web design and development?
- I have a budget of X, can you work with that?
- What is a reasonable timeline for a website build?
- Do you have a web design/development process? What does that look like?
But…..It’s not always cost that qualifies or un-qualifies a web development agency, sometimes you just don’t mesh well with the person on the other line. A web design agency will be more than just a vendor, they are a business partner that truly cares about the success of your business. Be prepared to be in this business relationship for the long-haul.