How to Outsource Website Development
- It will save you money – while you shouldn’t let cutting costs dominate your thinking when it comes to sourcing outsource web development services, there’s no getting away from the fact that choosing the right partner will enable you to cut costs without dropping quality.
- It will save you time – working with an outsource web design company means that someone else will be doing much of the complex technical and repetitive work of web design leaving you free to concentrate on your core activities. In other words, you can do your stuff while they do theirs.
- It will deliver on the bottom line – if you choose the right outsource web development company then the result will be an online presence which drives your business forward. More visitors will be drawn to the sites you develop, and more of those visitors will be converted into customers. The result will be the kind of figures which your own clients are looking for.
Accepting all of the above as being true still leaves you in the position of having to choose just the right outsource web design company to work with. The following tips explain exactly how to outsource website development:
Sit down before even thinking about looking for an outsource web design company and make sure you know exactly what it is you want them to do for you. In the first place, there are numerous different types of web development services available, and every company will specialise in different facets of development.
Knowing exactly what you want will enable you to focus your search for the right partner. Secondly, you’ll have to explain what you need from the outsource web development company you choose to work with. Having it clear in your own mind (or more importantly set out as a written mission statement) will make it much easier to explain to another party.
Are you looking for a fully responsive website complete with social media components, or a simple one off app? Answering your own questions in detail will make it much easier to answer other people’s.
Ask yourself the two simplest but most important questions – when do you want the work doing and what are you willing to pay? Be realistic about the time frame you’re setting – remember that web development isn’t your natural field of expertise (otherwise you wouldn’t be asking how to outsource website development), so conduct some research into the kind of time it generally takes to develop the type of project you’re looking for.
Not only will this enable you to negotiate realistic deadlines, but it will also flag up those companies offering to do the work much more quickly as probably raising false expectations. Similar research could also uncover the kind of price you can expect to be charged for the work you want doing – something which will enable you to negotiate the best possible deal.
It sounds like the most obvious piece of advice in the world, but the key to successful outsourcing lies in choosing the right web outsourcing company. We could write a guide as long as this article setting out exactly how you make that choice, but amongst the key aspects of finding the right partner are:
- References – ask for the contact details of previous clients, so that you can get in touch with them to ask about the experience of working with the developers.
- Communication – the very act of contacting an outsource web development company in order to find out if they are the right partners for you should provide insights into their communication processes. Monitor how quickly they reply to questions, how often they are available and whether they use communication platforms you like to use yourself.
- Skill Set – make sure that they have the skill set needed to deliver the project you want to have delivered.
Saving money is one of the key reasons why people find out how to outsource website development, but value rather than cheapness should be the driver. To put this another way – the vital question is how much of an impact every pound you spend will achieve, rather than aiming for the lowest spend possible.
If you find some outsource web design agencies offering a massively cheaper price than the average then this should set alarm bells ringing on the question of whether they can genuinely deliver what you need for that price. When negotiating the price, never think of the cost as being divorced from every other aspect of the process – it needs to be a reflection of what you expect to have delivered.
Ask the companies you’re thinking of working with whether they’ve delivered the same kind of projects in the past. If they say they have, then ask to see examples not only of the finished projects themselves, but also of the processes they used to deliver those projects.
An outsource web development company may well have the resources and skills needed to deliver your project, but lack previous direct experience delivering exactly the same or similar kinds of projects. Consider this in the context of pricing, as a measure of the risk you are willing to take.
When choosing how to outsource website development it pays to take a long-term view. Finding the right partner to deliver a specific project should, if the right choice is made, mean finding a partner to work with in the long term as the requirements of your business grow and change.
One of the main advantages of outsourcing is that it makes scaling up and down as your workload changes incredibly easy – rather than taking on or laying off members of your own team you simply ask for more or less from your outsource partners. Make sure that the company you choose has the flexibility and resources to scale up and down in this way in the longer term.
Most developers today utilise agile processes, which – to simplify – consist of splitting larger projects into smaller phases of delivery and setting these as milestones. Make sure that you work closely with your chosen developers to set an achievable and realistic set of milestones, as this will make it easy to measure progress throughout the project, and to devise a payment plan which is acceptable to all parties. A clear understanding of the milestones involve will make it easier for you to follow the progress of your project without having to micro-manage it.
Although one of the keys to successful development consists of complete trust between the two parties, this still needs to be backed up with a concrete and mutually agreed contract. Negotiating the details of the contract will make it easier to establish the exact parameters of the working relationship, while having the details set down in writing will provide a framework to return to if there is every any disagreement. Make sure that you have the contract you agree on checked by your legal representatives.
Make sure that the company you choose offers free and open communication. Establish the range of channels they utilise – such as Slack, emails, phone and video calling – and exactly how available they will be to answer your questions. Appoint a project manager at your end to act as a conduit through which all of your communications can run. Since the outsource web design company is almost certainly located in another country, you need to firmly establish whether language barriers will be an issue.
Just because you feel you can trust your outsource web designers and have chosen to work with them doesn’t mean you have to give the green light to everything they say or do. As long as it’s offered in a constructive manner, any criticism you have of the methods they use or the work they deliver will be welcomed, as it helps to define exactly what you are looking for, and help the provider improve.
Drawing up a plan for how to outsource website development provides a firm foundation for the process. Asking yourself questions about why you want to outsource in the first place, what results you will be expecting and what specific specialist services you need to access will enable you to find the perfect outsourcing partner. When you get it right, you won’t simply be accessing help on a specific project, you’ll be establishing a resource which becomes an integral part of your business. The right outsource web developer will be one which offers the ability to grow and shrink the team available as and when your requirements change. Scaling up and down will be their responsibility, and just one more thing you can pretty much forget about while you concentrate on delivering your core business.