Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.

Why doesn’t my web developer give me everything I need?

I will not admit to our clients saying this to us but I am sure this line of thinking has run through at least some of our client’s minds at some time or another. Such feelings of frustration are common for many business owners. It is the nature of the beast but understanding why your website is not living up to your expectations will be assisting you with correcting this problem.

So really, why does your website fail to do everything you wanted and more?  Why is your competitor’s site looking so much better or offering more features than your own?

All issues of your web developers own skills and experience aside; we will assume (rather absurdly) that these are equal across all web development agencies.  The answers to your questions (as valid as they are) essentially boil down to the following factors;

  1. You are unable or failed to convey your needs clearly and completely
  2. You most likely didn't have the budget available to achieve all you wanted

Let me first address the issue of budget, if I may. Starting out with a realistic budget is important and remember it does not have to be based on what you think a new website will cost you.  Instead, start from the premise of what you can afford to spend or invest in your website project. 

As you seek price estimates or proposals from the different web agencies, you will soon get a fair idea of whether your budget is realistic. 

Don't feel you need to keep your budget, the secret.  You need to let the Web agency know what you can afford and they can then work out a solution to meet your budget. 

At the end of this article, I will share with you how you can validate the quotes your research stop

After talking to the different web developers, you will soon realise whether you need to modify your expectations or adjust your budget.  Being upfront with the developers is the best policy, as it will save on a lot of wasted time on both your part and theirs.  If the digital agency you are talking to feels your budget is inappropriate, don't necessarily show them the door just yet.  Give them a chance to explain their viewpoint and listen to what they say.  You can always validate their opinions with the next agency you talk to.

There is always the possibility that while a provider comes back with costs beyond your budget, you may be able to negotiate changes to the inclusions to reduce the costs or put off certain aspects of less importance until a later stage subject to the results following the initial launch.

If you are unsure about taking your discussions to the next stage of negotiation, just thank the agency for their time and advise them you will come back to them inviting them to submit a formal proposal later if you feel they have an appropriate solution to offer.  After all, they may prove to have been correct with their initial estimates and you may wish to see a formal proposal from them.

This gets us to our first point of conveying your needs.  As good or brilliant as the web development agency may be, they can't read your mind or have a deep understanding of your business without hearing form you.  As web developers, there is no end to the different features and functions we can include in your website and digital marketing.  Are they all relevant to you and can you afford them?  More than likely, the answer will be no.

A good Web analyst or architect can make many good assumptions about your needs based on past clients and industry trends. Of course, let us not forget, they are assumptions.  Your particular needs could be very different.  It is important that this message be conveyed loud and clear.  There is only one person who can do that - You!

It is not my purpose to explain how to define your needs here (to understand that, read our other post How to define your website requirements ). Suffice to say, the following will help you get started;

  • Define your requirements in terms of business outcomes.
  • Identify business functionality and processes you wanted to deliver within your site.
  • Stay away from technical jargon and terminology.
  • Avoid defining the solution.
  • Separate what you need from what you would like

Given that you have completed the assessment of your requirements, you have set a realistic budget and sought proposals to develop your website, how you make a choice?  There are many aspects to consider but some starting points I would suggest would include:

  • Look at how well the agency exhibits an understanding of your business and how they demonstrate their solution delivers to the business needs.
  • Look closely at the credibility of the business and its team members, particularly management.
  • Confirm they have the experience and demonstrated skills to deliver on what they propose.
  • Verify their claims with reference checks.
  • Look below the surface.
  • Ask questions without fear.
  • Verify their project management processes.
  • After your deposit, ensure the next payment is only on real deliverables

If you are considering a new website or digital marketing campaign to your business, then you would be spending your time well by contacting us.  If you would simply like to know more about preparing yourself for assessing proposals you have received, then we are also happy to offer guidance so please contact us.

As one who has both written proposals and sought proposals and tenders spanning 40 years’ in the IT industry, Greg Tomkins has learnt many lessons in how both the client and the vendor can both get best value from the process of seeking proposals for project work.

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