How can you make sure the agency you're working with is a partner you can trust? This Osom Checklist will guide you through what to look out for when working with a development agency.
The guys that are taking care of your website – they rank high on Google, have stellar reviews, and their own site is plastered with big names praising their work. But your gut is telling you something’s just not right…
But what is it exactly?
Since few businesses flourished on gut feeling alone, you’ll stand a much better chance if you know what red flags to look out for. That’s where our checklist comes in. It should come in handy both before and after you hire people to maintain your website or online store.
We created it having seen too many situations where an agency should have been shot down a long time ago – but wasn’t. Often because it was great at something other than building websites – like playing a game of make-believe.
So how do you know if your agency is playing it fair? What are the things to look out for when hiring one? Go ahead and check below.
(That’s it. If you’ve ticked that box, there’s no need to check the others. That agency is sloppy the same way a person keeping their credit card PIN in their wallet is.)
(You’ve had an unsaved Word doc crash and be gone forever. Now imagine an entire website.)
(While they should be maintaining development, testing, and production environments.)
(If you need to have a plugin for every single section of the website – it’s bad!)
(It’s not a red flag if it’s a one-time thing. However, relying solely on FTP is asking for trouble; it is prone to human error. The best option is a Continuous Delivery process coupled with a code repository.)
(Sometimes it’s being sloppy, other times – malicious. When they suggest developing a custom version of a readily-available tool, they might be planning to make you dependent on their services.)
(It’s another way of making you dependent on their services. When in doubt, opt for WordPress or HubSpot – two popular and reliable systems.)
(While affiliate programs aren’t wrong in themselves, the agency should be transparent about them and explain why a specific solution fits your needs best.)
While all of the below may seem pretty arbitrary, there is an industry standard that good agencies do their best to keep. You should watch out if:
(Aka. you don’t know whom to email. Or do you even email them at all? Maybe there was supposed to be a communication platform that they didn’t mention?)
(When talking industry standard, 48 hours is the maximum an agency can go without reaching back to you without you calling it a strike.)
(This might mean they’re either cutting corners or they’re bad at planning and respond first to whoever is the fastest to contact them. That doesn’t bode well for when you want to be sure they always book some time for you and you only.)
(If they’re not willing to inform you about delays, what else are they not telling you?)
(Are you sure they get it themselves though?)
The motto to live by here is: trust but verify!
Keep the checklist in your bookmarks tab and go over it every once in a while. If bad comes to worst, don’t hesitate to look for a new partner. Your website (or online store) can only take so much.