Ask about their company and the services that they offer.
First and foremost, this is the most important information that you should be familiar with before you hire someone. While you may know the basics of this web design company, it’s better to ask rather than to assume. Some web design companies offer a limited amount of expertise while others may have a wide range—hearing the company elaborate on these fields may be beneficial to you if you are looking for a very specific job. You may even find that the company has a strong suit in a field of expertise you were not considering before, but may consider now. Ask about the company culture, how many employees they have, how many departments, strengths, weaknesses, and so on. Getting to know the company culture of an agency will give you a better idea on how your professional relationship with the agency might play out in the long run.
Ask about their credentials and case studies.
You don’t want to just ask about their previous clients that they have worked with, you also want to inquire if their other clients and companies they have previously worked with were satisfied with the services that the agency provided. It’s not just about having a great website and online presence for your ecommerce store, but it’s also about the ROI, and having that agency deliver the client tangible results. Case studies will provide you with this—they also usually include specific results like a sales increase or conversion increase by a certain percentage. You will also want to know if they have developed any special apps or worked on any groundbreaking and important projects. Know who and what you are working with!
Ask about outsourcing.
This is information you will want to be aware of. Your company should and will want to know who exactly is carrying out the work for your website. When an agency outsources work they are sending it to another country for different reasons. Some agencies will do this because it cuts the costs and expenses—which will be evident in their price points. This is another reason why you will want to ask about outsourcing because it should be reflected in prices of the jobs they will be doing. Another thing about outsourcing is the time differences that can play a factor into communication and efficiency. For example, you may send the development team that is in a different company an email, urgent or not, and they may not be able to respond or work done until the next day (depending on the time difference). So, knowing if a team is outsourcing work is vital for communication as well in order for an efficient time management schedule plan.
Ask about the pricing of services and what is included.
Again, another key piece of information that you will need to ask and know about before hiring an agency. You should ideally choose an agency that is completely transparent in their billing and payment processes. It’s really important to know if the tasks will be charged hourly or depending on a project basis. It’s also important to understand what would happen in the event that a task takes longer than anticipated. These can sometimes be the costs that agencies like to hide from you—so again, it’s in your best interest to get involved with an agency that does not hide any cost related items from you.
Ask about maintenance retainers.
In most cases, development agencies will require a retainer contact which means that a team will work on your site consistently and make changes quicker than someone who is working on your site for the first time. This price is usually at a discounted rate with priority scheduling and retainer hours to use each month which can keep your website content organized and consistent. In addition to this, you will want to ask how the time will be used during your retainers. What will the agency be doing that will benefit your business?
Ask about the warranty, maintenance plan, hosting costs, etc.
A website will require ongoing maintenance and support. This is inevitable due to the constant change and evolving, new updates and viruses that pop up—this makes maintenance essential. You need to prepare yourself and your company for the ongoing costs of an agency because web development is not a one time purchase. This said, you want an agency who you are confident in and feel is fully capable of keeping up with the changing world wide web in order to keep your website on point.
Ask about the project manager who may be managing the project.
Lastly, it is very important to have a dedicated project manager working on your project and to establish a relationship with this person. It’s important to know that you will be able to keep in contact with this person whenever you need them. You will be creating project timelines, progress reports, and managing tasks with this person so it is important to get to know them and to make sure you get along! This will create easier communication with you and the agency because you will have a direct contact, and this person will be available to you and anything your website needs.