If you’re getting ready to do an overhaul of your website, these tips below should give you a leg up in sifting through the mess of nonprofit website design companies.
1. Check their portfolio first
Going to college, credentials and certificates don’t mean anything unless you can effectively use the skills you learend. In fact, some of the best web developers that I know didn’t even go to school. When selecting a nonprofit website design company, the truth is in the pudding. What have the done? A good nonprofit webdesigner will have at least 5 projects under their belt.
2. Ensure they are more than just a web designer
Getting a really pretty site on the internet is the easy part. The real job of the web design company you choose is to get you a maintainable user community that is SEO friendly and integrates the latest social networking tools. In addition to that, your a nonprofit. They should specialize in working with you!
3. Knowledge of a Content Management System
The last thing you want to do is go back to your web developer EVERY time you want text changed on your website. It is unfortunate that a large majority of nonprofits are forced rely on “flaky” web developers. Sometimes the web developer will lower their price because of your nonprofit status and then lose motivation to keep making changes. Perhaps they feel bad charging you to make the updates. A sure fire way to avoid these problems is to make sure put you on a CMS so YOU can make the changes/additions with ease.
Get the email or phone number of 3 clients your web design firm has worked with. Send them an email or give them a quick call to ask how things went with the project. Were there any big red flags? Were there things they wanted that the developer told them was not possible?
5. Ask your developer to list top 3 benefits of working with them
Any web developer under the sun can talk about features. What separates the ordinary from the specatular is being able to effectively show you how they will help. Benefits, not features, is what your paying for in a website design company.
6. Ask for a detailed proposal
A well written proposal should show you the line of thinking that the web developer has. Do they think outside the box to solve tough problems that your nonprofit is facing. The proposal that is sent to you should be built after an RFP (request for proposal) that you issue. It’s not mandatory, but a good idea to figure out EXACTLY what you want.
7. Check the company’s website
A company’s website tells a lot about their experience and skill set. For a web design company, their website is everything. At a minimum it should include links to previous work, testimonials and perhaps their methodology.
There you have it, 7 things to keep in mind when shopping for a nonprofit website design company. Good luck!