Managing a Website Vendor
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Want to create a website for your small business or overhaul your existing site but don’t have an IT department to help you? Have you decided to use a vendor but are worried about the site costing more than expected and not meeting your site launch date?
Here are some useful tips for managing a website vendor and ensuring the successful launch of an awesome site:
Plan ahead. If you don’t have goals for your website, what you want it to do, and how you want it to look, then your vendor won’t know either.
Work with other team members in your company to create a vision. Discuss what you want users to do on your site. Do you want them to learn more about your company? Purchase products online? Subscribe to your newsletter?
Find sites that you like and are similar in look and feel to your vision. Vendors love it when you show them specific examples because it gives them direction.
Sign a contract. Make sure you sign a contract before your vendor does any work. The contract should lay out all the responsibilities of each party, the total budget for the project, and the site launch date.
Follow the project plan. Your vendor will provide you with a project plan that includes a timeline and deadlines for deliverables. You are responsible for meeting deadlines. Any delay on your end may very well postpone your site launch date and add further costs to the budget.
This also applies to vendors. If they fail to meet deadlines, find out why.
Stick to your budget. Website development can go over budget very quickly and easily. Don’t make changes to the website when it is still in development. If you asked for X and Y, but change your mind and want A and B, you’ll still be charged for the time and work the vendor spent on X and Y.
Don’t let your vendor talk you into complicated, costly, or labor-intensive design or functionality changes. Hold the vendor to the project plan that was created for your specific budget.
Check in often. Schedule weekly meetings with your vendor. Don’t just sign a contract and wait until launch date to see how the site turned out. Be an active participant in the process and stay informed. Ask questions. You hire vendors for their expertise. So use it.