It’s hard to tell by looking at a finished product how much work it took to get there. You may end up with a beautiful, well-functioning website, but what did it take to create it? In many cases, there are a variety of processes that could lead to the same — or at least similar — end result.

But not all processes are equal. That is why you need to ask the web development companies you are interviewing to explain their process to you. As they explain their process, try filling in the answers to the following questions (you could even print out this list and take it to your meeting):

  • Are they listening to me? Does the company ask me lots of questions? Are they seeking to understand my business, my vision for the site, and my goals for designing the site?
  • Are they involving me? How involved will I be in the process? What tasks, such as content creation and photos, will I be responsible for? At which points in the process will they get my feedback and/or approvals? In what ways will they keep me updated on the progress of the project?
  • Are they educating me? First of all, is the website development company taking time to help me understand terms, processes, or fees that are not clear to me? Secondly, is the company planning to provide me with the direction and tools I need to successfully complete the tasks I am responsible for throughout the process (or am I left to figure it out on my own)?
  • Are they empowering me? Will I be able to edit content on my own? Do they provide one-on-one training, workshops, or phone support? Are they suggesting tools and resources that can help me in the long-term management of my website, social media, and other digital marketing mediums?

These key questions will help you determine the effectiveness of the process. Without listening, involving, educating, and empowering you throughout the process, you could end up with a website that fails to capture your vision, reflect your brand’s personality, or help you achieve your online goals. You want to be feel confident the web development company will engage you in the process and truly set you up for online success.