Crisp eBusiness
How to choose your Web Development Company. Considerations & Advice

How to choose your Web Development Company

Choosing a web developer for your project is not a simple and straightforward task. You will need to ensure that they have both the correct skills & facilities in place to support your business and a good reputation with their recent clients.

The points below will help you to identify the most suitable developers.

Will you be given proper marketing advice?
Your web site is a key marketing tool – therefore your web companies’ advisors should have experience and hopefully qualifications in marketing if they are to competently advise you on your web site. A technically led web site may well offer some fantastic design and functionality but if it is not correctly aligned with your customers needs you may well be wasting your money. Try to qualify their marketing credentials and if possible take a look at some past marketing proposals, customer research surveys or diagnostic reports. Good clear copywriting is also an important element of every project, check to see if this service is offered and take a look at some previous work – is the written message working?
Our background, firmly embedded in marketing consultancy, allows us to ensure all projects have the correct marketing focus with professional specialists available as required.
How good is your developer’s own site?
Do check an individual developer’s own web site. Is it up to date and does it reflect the type of look and feel you require? The design will very likely be the ‘house style’ so all customer sites are likely to bear similar traits.
As you are viewing this from our own site we hope that you see the point and you are happy with what you have seen so far!
Do all new sites comply with latest legal requirements?
Ensure that all their new sites are compatible with the latest accessibility guidelines. This is now a legal requirement and if you do not have this compliance built into your web site you may have to re-develop it to ensure compliance.
We build all of our web sites to a minimum of Level 1 (Priority A) accessibility guidelines.
How good are their previous projects?
Look at their client portfolio and ask to speak to some recent clients that have a similar size and site type to that that you are considering. Find out who are their oldest regular clients and request information as to the ongoing development process.
Please take a look at our portfolio and follow the links to see the live sites. We can supply contact details for anybody you might like to talk to - simply contact us with your request.
Will you own your web site code and are you tied in?
Make sure that you will own the code to the proposed site or application. Being part of a central system can be cheaper in the short term but if you need to expand or modify your solution this will seriously hold you back. If in doubt ask them if it is possible to obtain a CD of all live code when the project is completed. Also ask to ensure that you will be able to take the completed solution and host it independently if circumstances should require.
All our web sites, content management systems and eCommerce solutions are ‘stand-alone’ and can be moved to a similar hosting environment by a qualified third party. All code is owned and licensed by each of our clients. Read more information about our code ownership policy.
Will you be allowed to communicate directly with the developers?
Ask if you will be able to meet the developers working on your proposed project. Direct communication is essential for the best results and you will not always find the sales contact to be the best channel for your creative and technical thoughts. The developers will be the people who actually build your solution so it is essential that you are happy with their capabilities and overall attitude.
A minimum of two developers should be assigned to each project, a programmer and a designer. Be wary of all-in-one developers as this is not usually a successful combination.
Our developers are available for both meetings and can be contacted by telephone/email as required.
Will the promotion services work for you?
Ask about the promotion services offered. It is generally agreed that this is now a very competitive area where the skills (or lack of) applied to your project can make or break your finished solution. Ideally discuss a selection of their clients and ask for proof of the success of their particular web solution.
Any company who does not have a dedicated promotion specialist will not be putting in the time and effort that your project will need to succeed. You should be hearing about keyword research, standards compliant coding, site optimisation, ‘Pay per click’ (e.g. Adwords, Yahoo/Overture) and product comparison networks. If you are told that you will be submitted to hundreds of search engines or there is any mention of guaranteed positions in the free search engine results then it is time to look elsewhere.
At Crisp eBusiness we have a dedicated promotion specialist who looks after every aspect of your web sites promotion and reporting. Our developers are also ‘SEO’ aware when developing your solution to ensure all solutions feature up to date search engine friendly code from the ground up and not added as an afterthought.
Is the customer support any good?
Will you be able to receive support and customer service throughout the working day or only when the right people are in the office? Check to make sure that the office will always be manned by a support representative who is able to contact others for more specialist issues. Some developers insist on email only support or worse still may have a telephone queuing system.
Our telephones and email accounts are monitored through out the working day with an additional emergency facility for out of hours and public holidays.
Is the hosting service reliable and properly maintained?
Hosting is an essential and often overlooked part of web development. Check to see what the hosting set-up is and find out if the servers are dedicated or shared? Also check what the redundancy is for connectivity, power and hardware. Regular backups, virus protection and server monitoring arrangements are also important things to explore before any hosting arrangements are finalised. Discover who is responsible for monitoring and maintaining them 24/7 365 days a year.
Uptime figures can be useful but are often ambiguous when presented. Finally ask what the last server problem was, its ‘knock-on’ effects and how quickly service was restored. Be very suspicious if there is a reported 100% track record as servers will always have some problems.
Crisp eBusiness runs a fully redundant server farm using our own dedicated equipment. We take security extremely seriously and run regular backups. All servers are monitored 24/7 365 days a year by a minimum of two engineers.
Crisp eBusiness believes that the points highlighted above must be satisfied in order to offer you the level of support necessary to succeed online. If you would like to discuss our service in more detail please phone 08448 123 100 or contact us online.
Crisp eBusiness, 45 Queen Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3SR
Tel: +44 (0)8448 123 100  Fax: +44 (0) 08448 123 200