1) Budget. How much do you have to spend? It is worth figuring this out and/or getting a rough idea before you start to collect Website redesign bids. Website pricing is all over the map and there simply is no industry standard. Freelancers, small to large firms and off shoring all provide different price points but with each one there are pros and cons. Having a set budget set will help you narrow down your search. I have always argued that there are advantages to sharing your budget with bidders rather than keep it secret.
2) Features and Functions. What features and functions do you want the new Website to have? These could include blogs, ecommerce, member login area, forums and so many more. Create a list of ‘have to haves’ and ‘nice to haves’. This will help those bidding on your project put together an accurate and competitive bid. It also ensures you get all the core functions you are looking for while allowing you to explore more advanced features.
3) Number of Templates. Most designers and developers will adjust the price of their bid based on the number of templates in the site. Typical Websites include a home page and an interior template. However many times a site will have additional templates that provides a unique style to a blog, an online store or login area. It is important to point this out at the time of bid so that both parties can plan accordingly.
4) Amount of Content. Most modern Websites are built on a Content Management System (CMS) and technically it doesn’t matter from a development standpoint if your Website has 10 pages or 1000 pages. What does matter is the amount of content the development and design team is expected to populate in order to get the site ready for launch. It takes time to populate pages, format, review and test the content within the Website. By providing bidders an estimate on the volume of content expected for launch, a more accurate bid can be provided.
5) Technology. There are vast number of technologies that a Website can be built on. Enterprise systems and languages are those that are owned by a large company, such as Microsoft or Adobe. Open source technologies, such as PHP, MySQL have gained great popularity over the years and are not owned or controlled by a single company. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and it can be hard to cut through the hype of any of them. If your organization is not set on any one technology, I recommend listening to each pitch and asking the pitching company to explain why they have chosen any particular technology. Try not to fall for the hype of any one language and focus on key features and how they will be used for your site. If a technology preference is held, let that be known when seeking bidding companies.
6) Long Term Website Maintenance. This of course is an area we care a great deal about. There is a common misconception that because a CMS allows a non-technical user to administer content that website maintenance will not be needed. This is far from the truth. Sites do break, slow down, settings change and security updates must be made. In addition, be careful not to confuse hosting or server support with web support and website maintenance. These are two different things, one only supports the server that your Website runs on and the other actually provides support to your particular Website. See my recent posts on why you need Web support with a CMS and what hosting and server support actually cover.