10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Minneapolis Ecommerce Agency

Featured, Web Development
10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Minneapolis Ecommerce Agency

In this guide, I’ll show you what questions to get started hiring a developer for your next project.

Use these questions and tips I put together to identify what team or freelancer is right for you. Obviously, copy or modify any questions for your own use.

1. Can I see examples of your work?

Viewing REAL sites the agency has created gives you a better idea of HOW they work and the QUALITY of their work. Your website represents your business reputation online. Don’t discount your business with a low quality website.

See our work on our customer stories page.

2. How does your process work?

Why ask how the process works?

A lot of agencies don’t follow a process and this leads to a website that is delayed, over budget, and not what you want!

Picking a team that has a clear and thought out development process will take more time but is the best strategy in the long run.

A good fit for you will be someone who has a process similar to this:

Phase 0. Discovery and Strategy

Define clients goals of website, collect written content and images, and plan how your website will achieve these goals.

Phase 1. Strategy + Project Kick-Off

Any project must begin with an established strategy in order to define what success means to you. At SG Web, we begin each project with in-depth market research to better understand the primary users and their needs. This process helps to pave the way for developing a detailed strategy. Requirements are not just written down and built into a solution – the team identifies key metrics of success with the information to ensure the final product will hit those performance goals and ensure project success.

Phase 2. Design

Create custom mockups for the client to review.

Phase 3. Development – Agile Methodology

During this phase, the development team holds weekly meetings. Daily Collaboration and Mandatory Weekly meetings allow the SG Web project manager to talk to the entire team, keep abreast of the project status, and manage critical decisions on a continuous basis throughout the development process.

Phase 4. Testing + QA

Website soft launch – at this time, we will be able to show you the website on a staging server. (in coded format) This is our opportunity to ensure the website is functioning correctly, and all the technical and business goals have been met.

5. Launch + Training

After the website has been tested and approved, it will be passed along to your team to review and prepare for launch.

3. What are my responsibilities?

Knowing what you’re going to be responsible for is important. Full service agencies will offer web design, web development, SEO, content writing, photography, and social media. We only offer web design and development because that is something we can promise 100% EXECUTION on EVERY project. Asking your agency up front is a good way to set the expectation of who is responsible for what.

At SG we are responsible for all the web design and development as well as the managing the project, scheduling the meetings, and delivering on what the client wants. The client is responsible for providing us written content,  photos, and working with us to identify the goals of the site.

4. Do you have testimonials of your work?

Does the agency have past clients who have written testimonials based on their work?

To get a better idea of their service type the agency name into Google and see what past customers have reviewed. Do you see any bad ratings? Be CERTAIN to bring this up when you talk to your agency.

Any agency with multiple 1, 2, or 3 star ratings should be a immediate pass.

5. How much will my ecommerce website cost?

Make sure to ask your agency about price as soon as you can.

The pricing conversation doesn’t have to be awkward.

Finding the agency who can offer you the most value for your money is essential.

6. How long will my project take?

If you want a high quality website with custom functionalities expect at least 2 months. If you want a quick fix you can set a website up today.

If you are looking for a HIGH QUALITY website that can actually add more leads and sales then the process should take 2-3 months.

Watch out for anyone claiming that they can have your website done in under a month.

7. Will my website be mobile compatible and responsive?

How frustrating is it to find out a company and Google search it on your phone to find out that their site isn’t mobile compatible?

Responsive design is undoubtedly one of the most important elements of your web page’s design. Without it, you stand to lose customers, leads, and conversions. With it, you stand to please your customers, get conversions, and retain users at a much higher rate.

Mobile access to the internet is on a major incline as everybody uses their phone or tablet to surf the web now.

50% of Google searches now come from mobile devices.

To get a visual of our work, see customers we have worked with in the past. You’ll see what we mean!

If your site doesn’t translate between devices and screen sizes, you’re going to lose customers, because 61% of users will leave a website when they encounter problems with optimization.

8. Do I receive training?

Does your prospective web team offer training on how to edit the site after the project is complete?

A benefit of working with us is we offer training for our clients post launch. Not everyone does this. We do because this adds a lot of value to offering.

Why is training important?
We develop the site so you’re able to easily update your site in the future. We don’t believe in you calling us 2 months after the site is launched to ask how to update text or add a picture. Customer experience is super important to us and finding a partner who offers training is something that sets us apart from the competition.

9. Who owns the website after the launch?

When the website is complete does the agency own the website or do you?

Some agencies have their client’s ‘lease’ their website to them for a monthly fee.

Others allow you to host your website on your own hosting platform (i.e. WP Engine, Flywheel, Kinsta, GoDaddy, Bluehost).

At SG the client can choose to host with us or host with their own hosting provider.

10. Are you using a CMS to develop the site?

Many agencies utilize either Woocommerce, Drupal, Shopify, or Magento. There is no perfect solution. However, bring this up sure so the CMS they pick is right for you long term.

Who we recommend you pick?
If you are looking for a non ecommerce site, I would go with WordPress. If you are looking to build a ecommerce site, I would recommend Woocommerce or Shopify. If you cannot decide, see a full breakdown of this post where I compare the pros and cons of Woocommerce vs Shopify.

Overall, use these questions the next time you are interviewing an agency or freelancer.

It definitely helps to have something to get started with so you can find the best option for your company.

Looking to get started on a project? Fill out more information with our project planner.

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