How to Hire the Perfect Web Designer for Your MSP
Hiring a web designer for an MSP is never an easy process. This is because the industry is both extremely diverse, but also exceptionally specific. For example, MSPs can focus on one vertical, like medical, dental or accounting, or they can service anyone who needs IT support. When creating a website for either approach, the content on the page needs to showcase the MSP’s specific offerings.
The key to achieving a website that works is to hire the right web design company. This guidance will help make sure that your choice gets that result.
A web developer needs to pay attention to specific hardware and software skills that are unique to each MSP’s business model. That creates a challenge when an MSP is looking for a new web design. It’s safe to say that most web developers have never created a website for a Managed Service Provider.
There are, however, a few basic rules that every MSP should follow to ensure the web developer understands your needs. It will be easier for everyone involved if you have a strong vision of what you want. After that, the challenge will be conveying that vision to the developer. There will be a lot of back-and-forth, so prepare yourself for that. But, in the end, you should have a web page that gets results and everyone in your company is proud of.
When shopping around for a developer, you should be prepared with a few specific questions. Depending on the size of the job, tailor the questions to fit your needs.
Here are a few questions to ask before you take the steps toward hiring a web design company:
- Do you need a brand-new site built from scratch? Or just an overhaul?
- Do you want the website design to be more informative, like a brochure, or SEO-driven?
- Who is your target market?
- What makes your MSP stand out from the rest?
Another topic you’ll want to touch on is your Branding and Marketing.
If your brand uses specific colors, you’ll want to give those colors to the developer. You’ll also want to let them know about your community involvement, any awards you may have, and the certifications of your Techs.
Many of your prospects and customers may require more than just an IT management recommendation to hire you. That means non-technical people will be checking your website as well. You want your site to appeal to everyone.
Early in your screening process, set up a strict “pros and cons” method of evaluating a bidder and use that as a guide towards selecting a final candidate.
The list should cover the following: experience, references, cost expectations, availability, professionalism, and approachability. Any other criteria that fits into your decision-making should be discussed. Create a formal offer covering expectations, due dates, billing and payment. Also, be clear on final approval and the website maintenance process.
Once you have received bids, make sure you adhere to your requirements. Many web designers are great when it comes to creativity and marketing, but are not technically astute. Try to find a developer with both skills.
The web designer you choose, however, must know the basics when it comes to the technical side of what you do so that they can explain what you offer to website visitors. A website that is too vague will confuse prospective customers and may even turn them away as they wonder if you have the expertise they need.
Meet with potential designers.
Get a feel for the people and companies that respond to your bid. If you have the time, meet with everyone that replies with a bid, even if you are skeptical about whether it will be a good fit. When meeting with them, go over all of the benchmarks you want to see. Designing a site that accurately reflects your company’s skill sets, products and services is not easy, so now is the time to ask questions.
Ask for and check references.
Ask all bidders to supply 3 to 5 references you can contact to ask questions about the services they rendered and the impressions they left. While you might not get any decent data for decision making, how the reference responds to your question will give you insight into whether they are a serious reference, or just there to make the designer look good.
Next, set your budget.
Understand what you want to spend and that the web designer is clear as well. Make sure the designer is directed to contact you in the case of any delays, cost overruns, or confusion about the site.
When dealing with an industry or area where the players don’t know each other, business processes can often become informal. This can lead to murky arrangements and disappointing results. Make sure you are as clear as possible about your requirements.
When you have made your decision, formalize a contract and competition schedule. Inform the developer and set up a meeting to run over the contract with them. If everyone is agreeable to the terms, sign the contract and get your project started!
Having a great website can help make your company very successful. If you need help with your website, we have great news for you! We will be streaming a Training Session called, “Finding and Hiring a Website Developer for MSPs!” If you need website help you can’t miss this session!
Register today for our Virtual Academy, May 19th & 20th. Besides the session on websites, there will be sessions on everything that makes your MSP successful, from Sales & Marketing, to HR, Finance, and Operations.