10 Questions You Should Ask A Web Agency Before Signing A Contract

So you need a small website, like 5 to 10 pages.

You may have nothing yet or only a Facebook page or an older site you need redone.

I am talking about a website for a business or venture or organization.

If you are adept at putting together your own website and know graphics and know what you are doing, that’s great.

But quite often customers do not have the experience. Not everybody can do it themselves. That is why you still see $500 website signs on street corners. People and companies need a website to get found and they need somebody to do the work to build out that site.

So, you have determined that you need to hire a website company or web agency to build your website. Here are 10 questions you should ask the web agency before hiring them.

1. Are you going to do the work yourself? Is it being outsourced overseas?

Sounds like a simple question. But often you are just talking with a middle man who sends the work overseas or farms it out. Even for a small site sometimes you want somebody who is local. This question may determine the service level and the quality of the work you receive. Expect typos and incorrect language if they are eastern European. It should be less money if it is. Often it is not less money.

2. Do you know anything about online marketing? Does the work include design and copy?

Another simple question. If you are dealing with a techie, and they say I don’t really know anything about online marketing, that’s fine. It pretty much means you will have to hire another company to make sure you show up on Google. Huh? If they just know how to make websites and require you to find a designer or copywriter, this could be an issue. You really want to work with one company.

3. Are you going to be building a custom system versus WordPress, Drupal or Joomla?

This is somewhat important. We believe that for small sites WordPress is excellent. It not only does the job, but Google Search loves WordPress sites, so there will be no SEO issues. Also, if you want to add free plugins for more functionality, then WordPress is amazing at this. This is something you won’t get with custom. What you will get with custom is exactly that, “Custom”. That could be what you need. If you are just a dentist with a basic site, then stay away from custom web teams!

4. How long have you been doing this?

If they are at least 5 years working with the web and Internet, then it may make sense to hire them. If you are sensing they are 23 and just trying to pump and dump sites out, you may get something that is not as mature as you were expecting.

5. Are you part of a larger agency?

It is not a bad thing, just expect to pay more for larger agencies. They have a ton of work going on, so you could get downshifted to lower level staff, with less experience and they are working like it is factory production. You are one of many. There are a ton of small shops out there looking for your work.

6. Do you help me get listed on Google?

Many web dev companies will tell you to go and hire an SEO firm. That’s a search engine optimization company. Frankly speaking, if the web agency can’t handle this for you at a basic level, I would question hiring them.

7. Do you have any references?

They should be able to send you some references and websites to review. If they have none, well let’s just say you are either their first customer or they don’t want you to look at previous customers. Not a good sign.

8. What do you think the purpose of a website is? How can my website help me specifically?

Sounds like an obvious question, but this will give you a sense of what they know about the web. The web is truly about business in the end not about technology. If you are dealing with a purely tech person they may not really be able to help you out. You want a web team that is your partner not your employee.

9. Do I pay for everything up front?

I would stay away from any group that asks for all the pay up front. Odds are they will not complete the project. Acceptable ways to pay are 20% to 50% up front.and then either a 40% – $40% and a final 20% or a 50% upfront and 50% at completion.

10. How do you compare price wise with other teams?

You should know where they stand. They are either the bottom, which is like all Indian web companies and some eastern European companies. They will be low cost, but it will take a little longer and there will be some issues. They can be high-end, which usually is american and agency-like. They should produce high quality, but sometimes it is not high quality or different than lower end companies. Finally a good answer to hear is they are in the middle. Whether they are overseas or US does not matter. But it does matter to you in setting your expectations.

We do websites here at StartupPOP.com. We can send you a few we are working on right now. So, think about these questions and please contact us if you need a website? http://websites.startuppop.com/

Email us at [email protected]
Call us at 786-201-5123

Have a great day.
Dan Gudema