Friday, December 12, 2008

Website Service Companies...How do you pick one?

There are many ways to find a website service company and soooo many to choose from, is there a valid process for your selection? I want to speak to this today as it came up recently with a prospective client who was feeling a little overwhelmed with the task of simply choosing a company to work with let alone determining what exactly was to be done. If you don't already have a method in place for making this kind of decision here are a few key points for your consideration and when you follow them you'll establish a relationship with a company that will last for years and ensure that your online presence is effective at achieving your organizations goals.

1- First off, is the prospective company stable with a track record of client satisfaction? Web development is not a 'mature' industry and there are many 'off hour' suppliers, more and more each day. Any company that has been in business over 5 years and has a number of clients who will act as references is probably a good prospect, you should be free to contact some supplied references.
2- Does the prospective company have a well defined process for completing the work related to your needs? This sounds obvious, but there are a huge and growing number of 'basement' (off hour) web service operations (I use the term loosely) that will promise you the world but really have no procedures in place to make certain that they'll achieve what you want in any sort of reasonable timeline if at all. Look for a company that can speak intelligently to a plan. For example at MEDIAFORCE we work with a five point process as appropriate to the work to be completed: Discovery and Planning, Creative Concept Development, Technical Production, Deployment and finally, The New Beginning. This process has allowed us to maintain long-term relationships with our clients some of them since our beginning over 12 years ago. In most cases we effectively become a partner with our clients, and their success is ours.
3- How does the company propose to work within your budget? First I'd like to say that if you're looking for cheap there is lots out there, just remember that when you go to find them can't, you'll have a good understanding of why. However, a good company will have ways to first get you started and then develop a plan with you going forward that will allow you to achieve all of the needs that you have. Often we talk with clients about the one, two, three year scenario so that we can spread the development cost over an extended period that fits with our clients budget considerations. One word of caution, remember that your online presence is increasingly a first point of contact for you with your prospective clients and as a result very important. Whatever you do should be well thought out so that it reflects what you want a prospect to know and understand about your organization, so ensure (as much as possible) that it gets done right. This investment is one of the most important investments that you can make for the growth of your organizations activities.
4- Ongoing service. Once you have your new or renovated presence, what then? This is what MEDIAFORCE refers to as Stage 5- The New Beginning, because this is where our work continues with you. We are constantly looking for new possibilities for our clients, whether it's a technical innovation or a new marketing option we are working to make certain that our clients have the latest tools available to them so that they are current, relevant and achieve their online presence goals and objectives.

Well, there's some food for thought, I hope it helps you with your decision because this is one of those decisions that truly has the potential to significantly impact your business. As always, wrong decisions for the wrong reasons will waste your time and resources, how much will that cost you?

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

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