Balancing the heavy boatload of options for web or software development can be incredibly tiring. There's a whole lotta' companies to choose from. It seems like everyone claims to have the ability to develop and customize a anything digital for you. From fancy national companies with hundreds of designers to your teenage next-door-neighbor, the options can be tough to wade through. So what should one do?
Are you supposed to pick the nerdiest looking company with the hope that they speaks PHP and can customize your data to a "T"? Even if it mean they won't offer much by way of customer service, this isn't the barometer to use.
Or do you choose the company with all the bells and whistles, the folks who will meet you at Starbucks and buy you a latte while you leisurely sift through colors and fonts... only to turn out a disappointing product that you could've created yourself?
Harumph. I know, it's tempting to just take a shot in the dark and skip all the educated decision-making business. BUT before you spin the bottle and randomly select a winner, let me give you three teensy pieces of advice that might do you some good when it comes to choosing the right people to develop your digital product:
Most of us part with the contents of our wallet veeeeeeery skeptically. I get that. But please don't make finding a cheap option the most important goal of your search.
I understand that digital production can get pricey, and it might feel incredibly difficult for a business owner or marketing executive to invest in a software they can't feel, touch, smell, hang on the wall, hand to customers, or pass out at events. Remember, though, that investing in your digital assets is one of the most important things you can do. People no longer make decisions based on T.V. commercials or billboards. They are searching online for great companies, services, and products 24/7. They use apps and collaborate with data. Being visible to your target market online shows that you care enough to be present there, and will land you immense opportunities that you wouldn't get otherwise. I encourage you to not downplay the importance of any of your digital assets.
In all seriousness, you're looking at it wrong if you are thinking budget-first. When you start to look at quality-first, or results-first, you'll thank yourself later.
Every developer should have a portfolio to show you. It's crucial that you take a look at the websites they have developed and, more specifically, talk to them about how the websites have helped their customers meet important marketing and business objectives.
Why does this developer do what they do? Do they understand the importance of their product as a business or marketing tool and as a huge asset to your company?
As writer, speaker, and author Simon Sinek has said, people want to do business with people they believe in and with whom they share values. Does this company share your values? Do they understand what a great digital product needs to do, and why, rather than just simply "getting the job done" without a lot of thought to it? Do they model integrity, dedication to problem-solving, and hard work?
If you can find a company with the right philosophy about why they are creating websites, and the skills to do it right, hire them!
When you evaluate potential digital development agencies, don't be cheap, ensure that they can deliver on their promises, and make sure you like their philosophy. Pro-tip: look at their case studies!
You deserve an outstanding product to showcase your one-of-a-kind company - so don't settle for anything less!