Choosing a person for a certain task is not only a matter of analyzing their portfolio and testimonials. Much depends here on the exact problem posed and the client’s awareness of what he or she really needs. This article is to give you guidance on things to pay attention to from the studio operating in the field for nearly 10 years.
Make sure you are understood
In an ideal world, this should be covered by a brief you receive from the contractor company. Should you not have one, or should it not have any of the “right” questions, take it as the first alarm bell for you. Please note, however, that the brief is not everything, with the final formulation of the task still up to you.
Here’s a very simple example: let’s say you want a promotional site. The problem is that every freelancer or studio has its own idea of what it should look like. And while some will think that a single template page will suffice, others might find that your site should have three or four pages with extensive information and live chat for your potential customers.
“So what? I just choose the one I want or straighten things out for the developer”, you say.
Yes, except you’d be surprised how few clients actually try to understand the details of an offer they receive from a contractor. Far more often, they focus on the price and timing before giving the go-ahead. But later on, with the project already underway, they suddenly realize that they want something completely different. Obviously, it makes neither the studio nor the client happy (especially if the contract states that edits cost money, something we’ll talk about later).
Bottom line: don’t base your decision solely on a custom offer. What you need is to have an actual discussion to make sure you’re heard and understood correctly. This becomes all the more important for those who have not previously had to deal with website development and are not really well-versed in the matter. In that case, you risk overpaying and wasting your time and nerves on something you didn’t want in the first place.
Negotiate the pricing upfront
Every studio calculates the price for creating a one-page or multi-page site based on the required time costs. And it must be said that these values are roughly comparable, especially if we are talking about full-time employees. Thus, the total amount depends only on the markup the company charges to meet its profit margins. Most often, however, the costs increase on account of unexpected alterations or add-on functionality coming upon the client’s sudden request.
And while it all seems quite logical and probably spelled out in the contract, it’s not like everyone reads one. That’s why many people end up taking the higher price for the services with genuine surprise and even hostility.
Bottom line: discuss all the pricing details with your future website developer. What exactly makes up the price? Does it really include everything you need? For example, you surely can make a website without a contextual advertising campaign, but I wouldn’t expect any traffic or sales in that case.
Do your research on testimonials
Many studios post customer testimonials about their work on the site to build credibility. The bad thing here is that these opinions are not always given by real companies or people. Exposing the “cheats” is quite easy: contact any author of the testimonial to see if they actually did business with this company. Please make sure to pay special attention to the feedback available on dedicated testimonial resources as well as on Facebook and Google. Here, you can spot the fake right away, just like real testimonials with a natural tone and lived-through experience.
Another important thing to keep in mind is business cases. Often published on a website with a thorough description of the work done and the results achieved, these are also easy to verify by following the URL specified. Sometimes, of course, the site does not remain unchanged: over the years, it may be redesigned and therefore differ from the results presented in the case. Still, the very fact that the information provided is honest and complete says much in favor of the company. It means they have nothing to hide or omit.
Bottom line: Take your time to verify testimonials. After all, your website quality and your sales, consequently, will depend on how truthful they are.
Contractors bear risks of their own
Sad but true. And here are a few things you should be wary of beforehand:
- Dumping.A rigid cost structure doesn’t give studios any maneuver to reduce their prices except to lower the price of human labor. Simply put, whenever you see a price significantly below other offers, this company most likely operates with no full-time designers or copywriters. Instead, it hires freelancers, and not highly professional ones. While they charge less, what will increase is your timing and performance risks. The decision is up to you, of course, just bear in mind the good old “free cheese” saying.
- Superficial briefing. The right questions asked by the contractor are essential for a good conversion rate. And it’s not just about colors and icon sizes. The studio should request all the information they can get from you about your business activities. The thing about services is that they are much more difficult to sell than goods, with lots of nuances and non-obvious benefits to be considered. That takes a serious amount of effort to grasp the specifics of exactly how you address your clients’ pains. And if you don’t seem to be getting a flood of questions about your business and services, that should at least be alarming.
- Poor service and communication. Your appointments get constantly rescheduled? The manager keeps “forgetting” important details you talked about at the previous meeting? You have to virtually force the studio to send you a custom offer? It seems like people are dealing with are, to put it mildly, non-professionals? If that’s the case, you better look for other contractors. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for studios to display this kind of attitude. And if this is how your potential developer handles the negotiation stage, think about what should you expect in the actual work process.
The hallmark of any good studio
It’s so simple, some might even call it self-evident. True professionals can always understand your immediate needs and use plain language to explain all the details even to someone completely incompetent. Finding a developer like that will probably take time and a dozen or so leading questions, but it will be worth it. All in all, working with professionals capable of understanding your business intricacies is the only way to get a high-conversion and sales-generating website.
If you need any advice on choosing a website developer, please contact us via the live chat. We can provide all the necessary information and useful tips for you to come up with the perfect solution for your task.