With the increase in need for businesses to have more up to date websites there is a growing trend of outsourcing web development. Many people look to offshore companies to produce a web site for them at a fraction of the cost of a locally developed site. In order for this to be a successful and rewarding venture here are a few tips.
1. What skills do you need?
There are actually a number of ‘roles’ with very different skill sets that work on the creation of a website. Understanding these roles will help determine what requirements a business has, what skills can be sourced internally and what needs to be outsourced.
Website Designer - A website designer determines the layout of the website. They choose the graphics, the text and how the website is navigated.
Website Developer - takes the design and then writes the code that implements the design.
This is an important distinction, because a business may be disappointed with the results if they only hire a developer and expect that they will design a beautiful looking website. If the business doesn’t have the internal skills and knowledge to design the website, then it may be best to ensure that both a web designer and developer are hired.
2. Skills testing
Don’t hire the first person you speak to! This may not be a permanent role, but putting them through a recruitment process can save time and money. Skills testing is key and can be as simple as a multiple choice test to establish their understanding to the principles involved. However, for a complex build it might be appropriate to have them complete a one page website build or provide an example design based on a brief.
3. Set clear objectives
It is important that a clear scope document be prepared. This will ensure that everyone involved in the project understands what their role is and when it is to be delivered by. This will help keep the project on budget and on time, but most importantly it will ensure that everyone knows the expectations of them.
4. Prepare the essentials in advance
Before the developer can start work on the website they will need access to some information. They need access to the domain name registration (the web address), website hosting information and logins. It may also be agreed that the business will provide copywriting for the website, or images and graphics for the website including a logo.
5. Determine what you need
Before starting it is important to ensure that the business has determined what they want from the website. It is hard for a website to be all things, it is best to determine the main purpose of the website. For instance, is the website for showcasing a portfolio or is to drive large volumes of traffic to generate leads, capture emails or sell something. Understanding this from the beginning will help the business owner choose the right person with the right skills.
Here is a simple checklist of some common elements to be considered and implemented:
- CMS to use e.g. Wordpress
- Newsletter platform (Mailchimp, nuevomailer, etc)
- Template or hard coded
- Create a test site(subdomain or subfolder) or use the main domain
- Create database and install WordPress
- Upload, install, activate and configure chosen theme
- Theme familiarisation and review
- Create website homepage
- Homepage mobile/tablet testing and cross browser compatibility test
- Main navigation menu pages creation
- Main navigation menu pages cross browser and mobile/tablet testing
- Complete Website Quality Assurance - testing and amendments (including links)
6. Create Milestones
To ensure that the project isn’t too overwhelming for the manager or the offshore employee it helps to create milestones. Being clear on the different steps involved to complete the project are important, and then break them down into milestones. Creating milestones gives both parties the opportunity to feel a sense of reward and achievement. It is important to remember to use this opportunity to provide feedback, encouragement and celebration for the offshore employee. This will enhance the relationship and build communication and respect.
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