Choosing a website contractor is not an easy task. The offers differ in technology, scope of work, warranty and many other elements that should be paid attention to. All these factors mean that we often postpone the decision to create a new website, and then, when it is necessary, we act under time pressure, which has a negative impact on the project.
For 10 years we have been working with clients who often ask us for prices and advice on choosing the best website contractor. At Brave New, we have completed over 200 projects: both simpler landing pages, the purpose of which was to generate leads, as well as complex websites and information portals. Only in the previous year, we have received 3 clients who started a cooperation with an unreliable contractor, which resulted in the waste of time and money. For this reason, we decided to prepare an article to help readers make the right decision about developing or building a website.
To make your choice easier, it is worth asking your friends for advice. If you do it publicly, through a social media post, I guarantee you that you will receive at least a few different offers – most of us know someone who designs or coding websites. The selection will be narrow, much smaller than the number of results on Google, but it can still be quite large. Therefore, it makes sense to use some general criteria to help you make your decision.
How much does a website cost?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. The side of the side is uneven. The project budget is influenced by such factors as technology, scope of work, service functions or the contractor’s guarantee. The size of the team and its experience are also important.
On the Internet you will find very varied prices for website development – the cheapest offers start from several hundred zlotys, and the most expensive, extensive websites cost up to several dozen thousand zlotys. I omit here the valuation of stores, applications and advanced services, the implementation of which may be even more expensive.
Why are website prices so varied?
Firstly, because of the way they work – cheap websites are usually websites built on ready-made templates. These types of projects are quite slow, schematic, take a long time to load on smartphones and age quickly.
Secondly, the price is lower because the website has no management system, which means you need to know the HTML / CSS code to make modifications. If your website is to be updated from time to time, a project like that will be a pain for you, and running an effective blog or news section in such a situation is practically impossible.
Thirdly, the contractor’s offer is limited – this mainly applies to companies that provide a specific rate for the project on their website. In this case, you pay extra for other, not included in the offer, functions that are important to you.
More and more often on the Intenret, you can also find website subscription offers – it is worth getting acquainted with such proposals carefully, calculating their cost, taking into account the maintenance of the website for 3-4 years, and compare with the offers of the competition.
Who to choose: Freelancer or agency?
Another important question that should be answered is the type of contractor. For smaller projects and those where the budget is limited and time does not play a significant role, you can use the services of a freelancer. When deciding on this choice, remember that freelancers often work overtime, which may make it difficult to keep in contact with them.
Choosing a freelancer will also be better if you create a website based on a ready-made solution: a website builder or a purchased template.
For large projects where more people should be involved, an agency is the better choice. In my experience, agencies spend more time collaborating, communicating and completing a project. When working with an agency, you can usually also count on broader advice and expert knowledge of specialists in several areas.
Nobody will do everything for you
Before you start looking for a developer for your website, prepare a brief. Describe your needs and expectations related to the project. It is worth spending the right amount of time on it: a well-prepared document will help you get a specific quote and shorten the time of choosing a contractor.
The brief should include at least:
- a description of the current website, the reasons for wanting to change it
- the goals you want to achieve thanks to the new project
- a description of the functionalities that you require
- the structure of the website (what subpages should be on the website)
It might also be useful include links to competitors’ websites or projects that can be an inspiration and provide the agency with a clear signpost in which direction you want to go.
Also, think about the budget you want to allocate to the website and when it should be ready. Don’t be afraid to communicate your budget clearly. Such information will immediately eliminate agencies that are too expensive for you or allow you to propose a better-tailored solution at this stage.
What to look for when choosing a website developer?
Each potential developer will want to present their offer from the best side. That is why it is worth tearing it away from colourful robes and looking at elements that are possible to compare and that will affect the price of the project and the quality of cooperation.
Real projects – the portfolio posted on the website is supposed to make an impression. But do the implemented projects also do them? When checking the contractor’s portfolio, check the working versions of the websites rather than case studies. Thanks to this, you will be able to practically test the website made by the agency you are interested in. When viewing projects, make sure to check them on your smartphone too. This is the easiest way to catch errors, and for some reason the ordering parties rarely (at this stage) show interest in the mobile versions of the websites.
Process – Each developer will have a different website development process. Knowledge of this topic will help to better understand the specifics of the operation.
Each of these solutions has its pros and cons: WordPress, due to its popularity and the possibility of expansion, seems to be a good solution for most projects. If you don’t like WordPress, the option of working with a company that has a proprietary content management system may be a good choice. In this case, pay attention to the license provisions and the cost of maintaining the website.
Ultimately, there are also some arguments for a website without a management system: if you need a static business card or you create a website that is to be changed or even closed in a few months (e.g. a page for an event), this choice is also justified.
It all depends on your needs.
Technologies – find out which technology your website can be made in. For several years now, the most popular CMS (content management system) has been WordPress – in 2021, almost 40% of companies used this system. However, some contractors work with Joomla or build pages that can be edited based on their own CMS. There are also some contractors who will code the project in HTML / CSS and independent editing of the website will be difficult or impossible.
Let’s go back to WordPress for a moment. Even here the prices and the quality of implementation can be very different. This is because there are many (paid and free) ready-made themes available on the web, which you just need to customise and upload to the server – this reduces the price of the project, but also its quality. Pages built in this way are much slower and when using this solution, you have to be aware of some limitations. That is why many developers design and code their own themes that use the WordPress CMS. In this case, we can count on much greater personalisation and high quality of workmanship, but on the other hand, we pay more and the project itself takes longer.
Warranty and post-implementation support – find out if your project is covered by the warranty and whether you can count on additional help from the contractor after completion of the work. Ask what the costs of such support are.
Training – sometimes contractors also offer training in the use of the website. Find out in what form the training is conducted.
Of course, it is also worth paying attention to other elements of the offer that will be important from your point of view. The points I have written are to help you compare developers, but it is not a closed catalogue.
How to make a good comparison?
To facilitate the process of comparing potential contractors, I have compiled a list of 10 questions that should be asked of the contractor of your website. I have gathered the most important elements that are worth comparing there. You can download the list and use it when choosing an agency or freelancer. Additionally, you will also receive an email template that you can send to get answers to the questions on the list.
However, remember that the technical aspects are not everything. Take into account the method of communication, knowledge and commitment of the contractor. They will have a significant impact on the shape of your cooperation.
Choosing the right website developer should be carefully considered. Price shouldn’t be the only factor that will influence your decision. If you compare the offers well and make a wise choice, you will achieve a great effect and your customers will be charmed by your new, great website.