Stupid Questions: The Smart First Step
When seeking strategic web development, asking for help is the hard part. Fortunately, asking the right questions is easier than you might expect. Feel free to skip right to the bottom if you just want this simple, oh-so-secret wisdom.
Perhaps your existing (or not-yet existing) website features are in need of a redesign?
Maybe your business could be drawing more sales or fundraising through the site?
Or attracting more members?
Whatever your web construction needs might be, it’s daunting to approach an outside vendor. But at some point, you’re bound to recognize that your web presence has untapped potential. It’s only a matter of time; this will always be the case. Because there are always improvements to make.
A digital agency can help you set the right course. But how do you get the most out of them? How will they offer the best support for your specific needs?
You don’t have all the answers, and frankly neither does any one member of a digital agency. As web development standards have evolved and broadened, a need for agencies with a team of diversely talented design and development professionals has been crucial. So take comfort in the fact that no one person can handle it all, even the professionals. That’s okay. In fact, admitting as much is a great start. Then, as you become more comfortable asking the secret questions (still getting those!) the quality and end results of your own web development initiatives will also steadily improve.
The first step is to remember that the old adage is true and more applicable here than just about anywhere:
There are no stupid questions.
Web development teams have heard it all, believe me. Site design and development standards are too dynamic and ever-evolving for committing to a strategy to be anything but daunting.
The questions you want to hear from a service provider should be substantive. More specifically, you want to hear the probing questions that relate to how you and/or your agency will actually utilize the product. A web digital agency should never presume to known and understand your organization. Or how your web presence ought to factor into your business model, for that matter.
Of course a worthwhile strategic service provider should provide strategic support, but only after they ask their own share of ‘dumb’ questions. Be wary of an agency or professional who walks into working with your business like they own the place.
Remember what we say about people who assume?
Your first concern when engaging with a service provider (web-dev or otherwise) might be that they’re going to sell you on something you don’t need. But you can cut through this fear quickly; just don’t avoid questions. Let ’em fly!
If something doesn’t make sense in any way, just ask. Here’s a cheat sheet:
“I don’t understand. Could you explain that?”
“How will this help?”
“Are there other options?”
If these questions aren’t answered to your satisfaction. REPEAT. Then repeat again until they are either a) answered to your satisfaction or b) the provider can’t communicate to you successfully (in which case, move along!).
With these questions on hand, you can always cut through the fluff. More than this, you’ll have answers on hand that will empower your decision making when it comes time to compare and contrast with competing firms. Good luck.
Now get out there and ask away.