We’re constantly hearing stories from new clients about web developers who took way longer than originally quoted or requested significantly more money to complete their websites. A few even stopped returning calls without launching the sites.

Here are some tips to help you find a great web development firm.

Watch Out for Firms with Bad Websites

If a web development firm doesn’t have a solid website, it’s best to move on. If they can’t deliver something good for themselves, odds are they can’t deliver something good for you.

Beware Lack of Portfolio

The web development firm should provide references and examples of its prior work in your field of interest. Of course, the references should confirm that the developer completed the projects satisfactorily. It’s critical that the web development firm be what it appears and has an understanding of your business.

Require a Written Proposal

You must have a written proposal that outlines your project, what your web development firm will deliver and what you are expected to provide. You proposal should include:

Price and Payment Schedule

How much will you pay for your website and how you will pay it?  Typical arrangements for projects under $10,000 are 50% down and 50% to launch your website. Larger projects can be broken out into deliverables or milestones.

Project Timeline

When will your project be delivered and what is required to meet that timeline?  Good web developers are usually booked several weeks in advance. You will want to understand when your project will begin, when you will be meeting with their project manager for approvals and when you can expect your website to be delivered.

Project Members

Who will be working on your project? You want to know the team members who will be working on your project. Typical project members would include a project manager, graphic designer, writer, quality assurance and web programmer. It is also important to designate someone from your business who will be the contact for the web firm and will make all approvals through the development process.

Confidentiality Provisions

Your web developer will learn a lot about your business during the development process. The agreement should provide provisions that protect your proprietary information from your competition.

Hosting and Maintenance

Where is your website going to be hosted? How much will the hosting cost and how much will you be charged for maintenance?

There are many other items that you should be aware of when developing your website, but if you follow these tips you’ll be off to a good start.