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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Website Support Partner

Finding a long-term support partner for your open source website is kind of like dating. First, you ask your friends if they know of any agencies that they’ve worked with that they would recommend. You Google all recommendations and look at other companies that rank highly in your search results. And if you’ve recently met folks from agencies at events, you reach out to learn more about their services.

But, just like finding a life partner, finding a long-term digital agency partner comes down to ensuring that your core needs and organizational goals will be met with the partner you choose.

When you are evaluating potential partners, you may want to consider the following factors:

1. How experienced is the agency with Drupal and WordPress?

Have they been doing this for two years or twenty years? Chances are that an agency that has a long track record building and supporting open source websites will have learned many lessons along the way and are continually working on delivering the best work and client engagement.

2. How experienced is the agency’s staff?

This is a really good question to ask all firms. Becoming a rock star open source developer comes with time and experience. A developer with years of experience has likely built many open source websites, encountered lots of bugs or development challenges and comes to the party with a toolkit of ideas and solutions. You’ll want to check to see that the agency’s staff are actively involved in the open source community as well. Ensuring that you are working with top notch developers saves you time and money and provides you with a trusted and knowledgeable advisor for the development of your website.

3. What services does the agency offer?

Ongoing support for your open source website almost always includes a mix of services: backend development, theming, usability, design, marketing and promotion. Having one partner that offers all of these services streamlines the process and saves you time in managing a mix of vendors.

4. Are they long-term partnership potential?

There’s lots of companies that offer website support. Some do fantastic work, some are mediocre. You’ll also find that prices for support will vary widely. If your goal is to just have a vendor make fixes on your site when it breaks and nothing more, then you’re not really looking for a long-term partner. You may be best served by a vendor who provides support on an as needed basis. If you’re playing the long game, the one where you grow and improve your web presence to help accomplish your organization goals, then you need a partner who is invested in your long term success. A long-term partner will ask what your organizational goals are and then work with you to determine how they can help you to achieve them.

5. What are their clients saying about them?

Unlike dating, you can request references from your potential partners before you decide to partner with them. Be sure to call their references and ask how happy they are with their services. Ask how the Agency helps their organization be successful.

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