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How to Redesign Your Website without Losing SEO

Congratulations! You decided to redesign your website. Making this transition is much like moving and can be just as stressful. There are so many features to pack up and you don’t want to leave anything valuable behind, especially your high-ranking SEO. Read on to learn how to redesign your website without losing SEO.

How can you transition that SEO to your new website? What will happen to the SEO of your current website? What about your ranking on search engines after the website is moved or redesigned? You don’t want to lose all the hard work you’ve put into strong rankings, organic traffic, and growing revenue.

Here are some ways to plan a move, so that you maintain all the benefits of former SEO and a newly-designed website.

Don’t lose valuable SEO during the website redesign. Plan your move with an #effectiveSEO strategy. Click To Tweet

Get an SEO expert onboard

First of all, SEO should be part of the design or site architecture, not something that is decided at the end of everything. So before you even think of taking down your old website, make sure to have the right team in place.


Wondering what questions to ask before the move, download our free Internet Marketing Questionnaire.

Audit your current website

The current website needs to be thoroughly evaluated in the terms of SEO; that means each and every page. This analysis can throw light on many things that are working for the website and those which are not working now for the website. This can help you spot any problems areas, in addition to enabling you to see which areas must be retained. Use the analysis to implement better SEO strategies and improve your content during the redesign and moving forward.

ITH-banner_SEO
 

Determine keywords

Do your keyword research on your site. What words and phrases are used the most and which ones bring in the most traffic? Create a list of important keywords that should be included in the site. Then build them into the pages of your redesign.


Our keyword research template can help you organize your keywords as you find them — and help you turn them into a content and SEO strategies that works for your business. Get yours here:
Download ready-made template spreadsheet for Free!

Plan the migration.

Benchmark the current status of the website. The major areas to be considered important are:

  • Ranking: Record the current ranking of each page and also note the list of keywords and search queries for which a page is ranking.
  • Indexing: Identify the content indexed by search engines.
  • Crawling: Verify blocked content with Robots.txt and 404 errors.
  • Links: List the inbound internal and external links to your site pages and make a redirect plan for it.
  • Traffic: Get the organic traffic information for each page and related keywords.
  • Configurations: Identify the site settings, sitemaps, links, crawl stats and problems in Google Webmaster tool/ Search console.
  • Prioritize: List your pages by best ranking, links, highest traffic and conversions.
  • Correlate: List the prioritized pages and add their updated URL version in the new site.

Implement the migration.

  • Prepare: List and Test 301 redirects.
  • Verify: Following the prioritized pages list, check the redirection.
  • Redirect: Implement the 301 Redirects at a page level from old links to new links.
  • Index: XML Sitemap Submit to Google webmaster tool/Search console.

Monitor the migration.

After the website updates are complete, keep tracking your traffic and your site’s performance. Use the data to continually improve your SEO.

  • Crawling: Crawling errors need to be checked in Google webmaster tool/Search console.
  • Indexation: New pages/links should index and old site links should disappear.
  • Ranking: Track it for possible new keywords.
  • Traffic: Monitor organic traffic volume.

Bonus tips to redesign your website without losing SEO:

  • It is recommended that if you have changed your domain name, you keep the old domain name with the 301 redirects for at least 180 days as a period of transition.
  • If the traffic for your website is seasonal, it’s best to launch during a down month, so if traffic dips, it won’t hurt leads or sales as much.

Optimizing your website takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s important that you don’t let all of your efforts go to waste when it comes time to revamping the layout and design of your site. Redesign your site with a clear SEO plan. Search engines like fresh content, and therefore, freshly redesigned websites. They like it when you redesign.

Follow these steps to carefully redesign your website without losing SEO and you may see an increase in both traffic and conversions.If like to know more how we do it at ITHands, contact one of our web designers or SEO specialists today at solutions@ithands.com.


IT Hands provides quality, custom web development services to web companies and ad agencies. Our globally-dispersed team is a tight-knit community focused on delivering excellent results using agile processes. In over 16 years, more than 350 clients have been thrilled by the competency, trustworthy consultation, increased capacity and cost effectiveness we bring to every project.

Meetings Every CEO Should Have Weekly

There are 3 basic principles for most (if not all) meetings that I schedule as a business owner and Managing Director (another name for CEO). All my meetings, to be effective meetings, should:

  1. be held weekly.
  2. have a group agenda.
  3. be kept to an hour.

Reasons for these three principles for effective meetings are as follows:

  • Weekly meeting: Weekly meetings fit into the work rhythm. Monthly meetings are easily forgotten.
  • Group agenda: This gives the team a voice to bring up points for discussion. Additional agenda points are added as important, not urgent, matters come up throughout the week
  • Brief meeting: Focus broad. Your job, as an executive manager, is not (usually) to get into the nitty gritty details, but rather to focus on leadership development, reporting, strategy, prioritization, and improving processes (or defining processes where they don’t exist).
Don’t waste another meeting. Follow IT Hands’ tips for #EffectiveMeetingStrategies Click To Tweet

Effective Meetings Outlines
Generally, I have five types of meetings on a weekly basis. There is a strategic day of the week that I have each meeting, as well as certain goals I want to accomplish during that designated time.

 

MeetingDay of WeekAttendeesAgenda
Business Development MeetingMonday

Managing the Sales Pipeline defines your future. Review priorities for the week.

  • Sales and Marketing Manager(s)
  • Sales pipeline
  • Lead generation
  • Inbound/Outbound Marketing strategies
  • Proposal reviews
  • Brand and messaging
One-on-OnesTuesday

Meet one on one with the frontline people in your organization. Coach, mentor, and inspire them!

  • You and 1 other person.
  • Challenges you are facing
  • Priorities
Operations “Managers” MeetingWednesday

There will be plenty to discuss in the middle of the work week. This is usually the height of project challenges.

  • Lead Project Manager
  • Head of HR
  • Quality Lead
Human Resource MeetingThursday

If you’re going to give someone strong feedback or need to terminate employment you’ll be doing it on Friday, so prepare a day ahead.

  • HR Manager
  • Recruitment opportunities
  • Retaining staff
  • Employment benefits
  • Performance reviews
Admin/ Finance MeetingFriday

This is a good day to summarize where the company is financially; at the end of the week.

  • Office Manager
  • Controller (Accounts manager)
  • Bookkeeper
  • Financial
    • Cash flow
    • Purchasing
    • Budgets
    • Accounts receivable
  • Office Environment
    • Improve infrastructure
    • Safe and clean environment

By the end of each meeting, team members should anticipate the next meeting with a purpose, feel valued in the company and have some clarity for managing their priorities. When I follow these principles, I see a tremendous improvement in workflow for me and my team. Give it a try. Email me with any further questions at solutions@ithands.com.

IT Hands provides quality, custom web development services to web companies and ad agencies. Our globally-dispersed team is a tight-knit community focused on delivering excellent results using agile processes. In over 15 years, more than 350 clients have been thrilled by the competency, trustworthy consultation, increased capacity and cost effectiveness we bring to every project.

Tips for Using QuickBooks to Pay Taxes

As the tax deadline draws closer, your business may be in the middle of (or just starting) that annual process we all face – taxes. No one enjoys the process, but keeping organized can make the task smoother and less painful. Here are some tips about using QuickBooks to pay taxes.

Overwhelmed by tax season deadlines? Let this #FinancialAccountingSoftware do the work for you. Click To Tweet

Here are some general tips to prepare for tax season:

  • Plan ahead.
    • Check in with your tax accountant 2-3 months before the year end.
  • Record expenses.
    • Properly record expenses based on cash basis or accrual basis.
    • Account for all your expenses.
    • Consider prepaying some of your expenses (if on a cash basis).
  • Close books.
    • Close your books as soon as possible, so you can turn accounts over to your tax accountant.
  • Expense equipment.
    • Discuss with your accountant about expensing your equipment and software in the year you purchased it by using Section 179 tax deduction.
  • Plan charity.
    • Plan your charitable contributions before the end of the year and get proper tax receipts for each of them.

Our company – IT Hands – has been using QuickBooks Online (QB) for many years. Having all our accounts in one place has made the tax season easier to manage and less stressful. In the early days, we used the QB Desktop Edition, but later transferred to the Online Edition. After 16 years of working with QB, I can honestly say partnering with them was the best decision we made. They have an excellent product and outstanding customer support.

Along with QB Online, we signed up for their payroll feature through Intuit. We found this product to be exceptional and easy to use, with great customer service. When it comes to taxes, we love the fact that Intuit handles all of our payroll tax deduction and seamlessly files all the required monthly, quarterly and yearly reports to the various government agencies. This is the best part of using QuickBooks to pay taxes.

Whenever someone asks my advice on financial software, without hesitating, I encourage them to use Quickbooks Online and the payroll program through Intuit. By using these programs, we let Intuit do what it does best, while we focus on what we do best – serving our customers.

IT Hands has provided quality, custom web development services to web companies and ad agencies for more than 15 years. Our globally-dispersed team is a tight-knit community focused on delivering excellent results. Our agile web development company has served over 350 clients, bringing trustworthy consultation, increased capacity and cost effectiveness to every project. Contact us today at solutions@ithands.com.

Four Qualities of a Qualified Lead

If you are in sales, you have to network. You meet lots of people with ideas of web sites, web applications and mobile apps they want to build. You’re used to meeting potential clients, but how do you determine a qualified lead? A qualified lead is someone who has the right budget, decision-making authority, need for the product or service, and readiness to make the purchase in a suitable amount of time. Look for these four attributes in a lead before moving forward with the relationship.

Know these four characteristics to look for in a quality lead. #LeadQuality Click To Tweet
  1. Need for Product and Service
    1. Allow the lead to talk about their business and projects/goals. As they discuss the pain points within the business, you can gauge if your team is able to help them.
    2. Talk about your value proposition. Show the lead what you have to offer, and how your services fit their needs. Leave the lead with full confidence in your company, so that when they have work to do, they’ll think of you.
  2. Decision-Making Authority
    1. Find the right person in a company who can make decisions (this can be tricky, but is very important).
    2. Why is this important? We’ve had projects in which we’ve been contacted, scoped out a project, and then found out the contact had no authority to move the project forward.
  3. Right Budget
    1. Does your prospect have enough money to invest in the project? Be upfront and clear when asking about a client’s projected budget. This can be the quickest way to disqualify a prospect, saving both you and the unqualified lead time and energy.
    2. A client may have a brilliant idea. You may meet with them for an hour, discuss their inspiration, and find that they have a budget of less than $1000. They had a great idea, but their idea would cost $100,000. In a sense, they are going to a BMW dealership with the budget for a used Ford.
  4. Right Timeline
    1. Timeline is also a crucial factor in two areas: when will they make a decision and when do they expect delivery?
    2. If they do not expect to make a decision for six months, that changes your approach with the prospect as opposed to making a decision in the next few days.
    3. If they want a 500-hr web application delivered in two weeks, it is not possible to stage the project for success. Each company is different about what timeline they are comfortable working with. Know your comfortable project velocity, and don’t push your team past those boundaries.

When you are meeting potential clients on a daily basis, be sure they meet these four requirements before you determine they are a qualified lead. Having these standards will save you a lot of pain as you continue through the process of developing a proposal and setting up contracts. Find out more about how to walk through the proposal/contract process with clients through our latest eBook.
Contact us with any questions at solutions@ithands.com.

IT Hands has been providing quality, custom web development services for over a decade to web companies and ad agencies. We are an agile web development company taking advantage of a globally-dispersed team to deliver excellent results. Over 350 clients have been thrilled by the consultation, competency, increased capacity and cost effectiveness that IT Hands brings to every project.

How and When to Get Paid from Clients

If you’re reading this blog, you may have a client who is slow to pay (or not paying at all!) for work done on a project. This blog won’t tell you what to do with that client, but it will walk you through good processes to use for future clients. By the end of this blog, you should be in a better place to get paid from clients

Having trouble getting paid? Here are 3 tips for motivating a slow-to-pay client. Click To Tweet

How to Get Paid from Clients?
Here are some tips from us at IT Hands. To get paid for any projects you do for a client requires clear communication, documentation and motivation. Without these key principles, a client becomes confused, frustrated and has no legal requirement to pay for your services.

1) Make Paying Easy
Make a schedule with your client, and provide an easy way to pay. Quickbooks online uses the feature where clients can pay directly online. This makes paying simple. We use one of the two scenarios for scheduling payments with clients.

Scenario 1: Invoice the previous month’s hours by the end of the first week of a month.

Scenario 2: Some customers prefer to pay for a set resource or minimum number of hours. Here at IT Hands we bill upfront at the beginning of the month. In this case, they use or lose the hours they pay for. If they use more than the agreed number of hours, the extra is billed when we bill for the next month.

2) First-Time Customers

  • Always layout your prices very transparently for a prospect to evaluate before they sign any contract. Don’t hide any fees. Be upfront with all costs.
  • Once a deal is closed with a new client, require a signature on your legally-binding agreement. This seals the deal, giving you and the client a clear-cut documentation on each of your responsibilities.
  • Require a deposit before beginning the project. Depending on the size of the project, the client could pay 25-50 percent for a small project OR pay 80-160 hours worth for a larger project that extends several months. Finally, don’t have a project startup meeting until the payment is made. Apply any initial deposit to the final invoice.

3) Motivate Your Team
Don’t pay commission to your salespeople until the invoice is paid. This is a major motivator for your team to encourage the client to make payments. If the client is not paying attention to the salesperson’s request for payment, then the president/co-founder will need to contact the customer, with the salesperson’s assistance, to collect the payment.

A Last Resort
Depending on the circumstances, if payment is being delayed, we’ll put a project on hold. This is a last resort. We don’t do this often, as it slows momentum. If a client is unresponsive, or unreachable, we will send bills to a collection agency.

In business, cash is essential. Your business will crash without money to support it. Having good processes in place will help you put most of your energy into serving your client with excellence. This starts with good documentation, clear expectations and an easy process to pay. Have more questions on how to get paid from clients? Contact us.

IT Hands has been providing quality, custom web development services for over a decade to web companies and ad agencies. We are an agile web development company taking advantage of a globally dispersed team to deliver excellent results. Over 350 clients have been thrilled by the consultation, competency, increased capacity and cost effectiveness that IT Hands brings to every project.

Great Clients and Challenging Clients

The other day I was listening to a podcast by Michael Hyatt, whom I highly recommend. He put into words a question I have been mulling over for quite a while: How should I think about clients who take a disproportionately high amount of my time and energy? And what are the different types of clients?

Find out how to handle that high-maintenance client. Click To Tweet

Most likely you have dealt with this scenario: You open your inbox to glance through emails, only to come face to face with harsh words from a client frustrated by unmet expectations. Instead of moving forward with other partners’ projects, you are stuck trying to satisfy a single client.

At IT Hands, we’ve discovered that all our clients can be divided into 1 of 4 quadrants, 4 types of clients. There are certain characteristics that make up these types of clients, and a certain way to respond to each.

ITH Blog Graph

ITH Blog Graph 2

The Perfect Client: This high profit/low maintenance client can be so refreshing. They understand the team, the process, and communication flows easily. These types of clients are reasonable and understand that challenges come up. They also pay you for your services.

Suggested Improvements: Give this dream client some well-deserved appreciation!

The Big Client: Those high profit/high maintenance clients that take a lot of time and energy are often the most difficult clients to evaluate. You need to be honest with yourself about them. They’ll pay you without question and return for future projects, but have high, hard-to-meet expectations.

Suggested Improvements: Lower their maintenance levels by clearly writing down what you hear as their expectations. This will improve communication. If you are not able to improve your process and expectation setting with this client, strongly consider parting ways. They are not the best fit for your company and process. Use your energy elsewhere in building a strong base of clients that match your company’s process more exactly.

The Quiet Client: The low profit/low maintenance client is that quiet customer you have had for a long time. With these clients you’ve done a good job setting expectations and creating a solid foundation for the relationship.

Suggested Improvements: Thank this client for their positive relationship. Offer to increase the project size or volume with them. This may not always happen, as this client’s business may not need as much attention.

Beware the Draining Client – that low profit/high maintenance client. These customers bring immense amounts of stress into a business for you personally and for your team. They don’t try to understand you or your team, can’t be flexible with the process, throw fits rather than communicate, and have impossible expectations. More than likely, they’ll try to negotiate down your set prices.

Suggested Improvements: If this client won’t lower expectations, treat you (and your team) with more respect, or at the very least make it more profitable to work with them (which would land them in the Big Client quadrant), then it’s best for both of you to part ways.

Conclusion
Each client comes with their own set of rewards and challenges (well, except for the Draining Client). It is important to minimize challenges as much as possible through straightforward processes, clear expectations and transparent communication.

At IT Hands, we are a process-driven company focusing on clear communication and deliverables. One way we gather a client’s expectations is through our questionnaires. Take a look at them and use them to set clear expectations and improve communication with your clients.

IT Hands has been providing quality, custom web development services for over a decade to web companies and ad agencies. We are an agile web development company taking advantage of a globally dispersed team to deliver excellent results. Over 350 clients have been thrilled by the consultation, competency, increased capacity and cost effectiveness that IT Hands brings to every project.

Codeception: A Proven Automated Testing Tool

Testing is crucial prior to publicizing a software product. There are two types of tests: Manual and Automatic. Both have their benefits. For this blog, we’ll be doing a quick overview of the time-saving qualities in automatic testing, focusing on a great automated testing tool.

This automatic testing tool will enhance your software testing services Click To Tweet

Manual Testing: Time-Consuming
As the name implies, manual testing requires a high level of human resource engagement to test projects. It becomes more time consuming when there is a requirement to test the application/product on different platforms. This requires that the same steps be repeated to validate the expected result. If there’s a bug or defect, this process will be even lengthier, as the manual tester must repeat each step again and again. In short: manual testing takes time – lots of time.

Automated Testing: Time-Saving
Automated testing greatly reduces challenges and shortens the timeline for software testing by decreasing repetitive steps. You can define the steps of the test by writing the test scripts for any feature and allowing the test to run anytime. To write the test script, you have to choose an automated testing tool. Many automation testing tools are available, both paid and open-source.

Benefits of Automated Testing

  • Saves time
    • Executes tests faster than manual testing.
    • Targets multiple platforms at once.
    • Increases test coverage (deep test cases are very hard to repeat every time and here it has to be written only once).
  • Results in a reliable product
    • Ensures accuracy in testing (a tester can lose focus with repetitive steps making a feature prone to error).
    • Allows the development team to use test cases as they build a project.

What Tests Should Be Automated?

Time-extensive: Those features that are going to take time while testing.
Difficult or Boring: The features that are overly mind-engaging or mind-numbing to test manually.
Repetitive: Features that need to be executed every, single time a test is done.
Consistent (frozen) features: Features that are consistent/frozen and do not change.
High-Risk features: Those most important features that involve high risk, and need to be done precisely.

Codeception: An Automated Testing Tool

There are many tools available on the market. Codeception is an open-source, free-testing, automation tool built on top of PHPUnit. It is a Behavior Driven Development (BDD) style testing framework, using the Selenium Web Driver to execute the test cases on different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or PhantomJS.

Installation

Codeception is very easy to install with Composer. You can find Codeception packages under Packagist, the PHP package repository (you’ll find installation instructions there as well).

To install Codeception, using Composer, use the following commands. Assuming you already have Composer installed, execute the following command:

$ composer require "codeception/codeception"

Once Codeception is installed on your machine you need to generate configuration directories and files by using the following commands:

$ vendor/bin/codecept bootstrap

The bootstrap command will generate the default directory structure in your working directory. Once this command is finished, it creates a tests folder inside your project folder, which contains different subfolders for unit tests, functional tests and acceptance tests, along with configuration files. Now we are ready to start writing test cases for our project with our automated testing tool.

Create Your First Test Case

Codeception comes with a rich set of commands that are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. To see all the available commands and options run the following command:

$ vendor/bin/codecept -help

Create Acceptance Test

To create the test case, use the generate:cept command on your console followed by the acceptance option and then the test case name. Here’s the command that will create our first acceptance test case with this automated testing tool:

$ vendor/bin/codecept generate:cept acceptance FirstTest

The above command will create a file under tests/acceptance folder with the name FirstTestCept.php. So now we can start writing the code in this file.

The following will be a default code inside the file generated by the codeception generate command:

?php
$I = new AcceptanceTester($scenario);
$I->wantTo('perform actions and see result');

Add Test Code Inside the File

?php
$I = new AcceptanceTester($scenario);
$I->amOnPage('/');
$I->see('Home');

Before executing your first test case you have to do some configuration changes. To change your acceptance.suite.yml file you need to add any working url under the PhpBrowser url option.

class_name: AcceptanceTester
modules:
    enabled:
        - PhpBrowser
            url: http://localhost/project_name
        - HelperAcceptance

Run Your Test Case

$ vendor/bin/codecept run

This command will run your test and show the result if it passed or failed with colors indicating – pass (green) or fail (red). In order to test on real web browsers, use the Selenium driver, make a few changes to the acceptance.suite.yml file and rebuild the Acceptance class. Codeception includes a lot of functions to write full scenario test cases. For more details check Codeception official documents.

Cest-Formatted Tests

Previously, we created an acceptance file with the Cept format, but that is not the only the way we can create test cases in Codeception. Cest tests are also available in Codeception. The basic difference between those is that in the Cest format you can write multiple test cases.

Input this code:

$ vendor/bin/codecept generate:cest acceptance SecondTest

This will create a file inside the acceptance folder with the name of SecondTestCest.php and the following is a default structure of this file.

class SecondTestCest
{
  public function _before(AcceptanceTester $I)
  {
  }

  public function _after(AcceptanceTester $I)
  {
  }

// tests
  public function tryToTest(AcceptanceTester $I)
  {
  }
}

The before and after function do as their name implies, run the before and after test cases written in the file.

Conclusion

At IT Hands we have found Codeception to be the right automated testing tool for past and present projects. It’s been a good choice for us and we highly recommend it to any other company looking for automated testing.

Are you in need of some automated testing for a current project? Contact us today at solutions@ithands.com.

5 Keys to a Clear Website Estimate

Five Keys to a Clear Website Estimate

As an Web development company owner, a big challenge is providing a clear website estimate to potential clients. If done right, an estimate can give your client a clear understanding of the price and work involved in the project and start the project on the right note.

At IT Hands, we’ve experienced the good and bad of estimates and formed five key points to create a clear estimate for clients.

Provide thorough estimates to your clients with these 5 pointers. Click To Tweet

Understand the Scope

Understand the scope

Think like a reporter. Your client has objectives for their project, but it’s up to you to figure out how those define the scope. Ask the right questions and understand their business objectives before you even get into the technical requirements.

Think through the project scope and even offer any suggestions to enhance their technology or minimize cost. Be consultative! Clearly define for your client what requirements are in scope or out of scope in the project.

As you are able to look back on the list of requirements and discuss points with your client, you will be more confident with the task before you and your client will know you will follow through on your commitment.

Make Good Assumptions

Make Good Assumptions

At a certain point, you have to stop gathering requirements and make some assumptions. These assumptions have to make sense both for the tech on your team and the business you’re serving. The most important part: Make sure you’re absolutely certain what those assumptions are for the client. (Read Chris’ blog for more on this topic)

Here are a number of common assumptions that we have thought through in some projects:

  • What browsers (and how old of browsers) will be tested in this project?
  • How fast will the site be expected to load?
  • Where will the images come from? Who will provide them?

Involve Your Delivery Team

Involve your team

Don’t be a postman. Meaning: Don’t blindly deliver estimated hours from the development team to the client. Make sure the team understands the entire scope of the project. This is especially true for custom development work.

Also, don’t ignore your delivery team. If they receive a project in which they disagree with the estimate, you’ll have a group of unhappy developers. Many projects derail when the business development side and the developers lack communication from the very beginning.

Define the Project Management Methodology

Define the project

Sometimes, you just don’t have enough knowledge of the project to give a clear website estimate. What do you do? Just be sure you have a trusted method as you move forward with the client.

There are many types of methods of working through a project. At IT Hands we follow an Agile/Scrum methodology, which gives the client the benefit of a quick iterative process providing consistent feedback and readjustment of deliverables. Using Agile methodology allows a project to naturally evolve from an idea to an excellent product.

Understand Timeline and Budget

Understand the timeline

Understand the expected timeline and budget of your client before you present an estimate. It’s better to overshoot and save the client time and money. If you don’t know the budget, then be sure you have a strong level of trust with the client throughout the process.

Don’t get into details when providing an estimate. If you breakdown your estimate and provide too many details, it gives the client a chance to nit-pick the numbers or demand a discount. If this starts, it could be a sign that the project may not be successful.

Conclusion
When you present a clear website estimate to the client, you should already have a feel for what the client will say. The client should have provided a timeline and budget, which you can meet. If you don’t think the client will say yes, you’re probably right.

Looking for a format to follow when developing a project estimate? Download one of our free questionnaire templates to get started on your next project estimate. Click Here.

Benefits of FTEs: A Better Staffing Model

In the web business, there are two common approaches for engaging clients in project development: Fixed Cost or Time and Materials. Yet I would recommend another, often overlooked method: the Full-Time Equivalent model (FTE). There are many benefits of FTEs.

What is an FTE model?
A Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is a unit that indicates the full workload of a single team member across various contexts, often measuring a person’s involvement in a project. An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to one full-time person, and an FTE of 0.5 equals half of a full workload.

It is common for FTEs to be available for commitments of half-time (80 hours/month) or full-time (160 hours/month). If a client needs additional FTEs, they can be provided with a mutual agreement and proper notice. Other team members such as a frontend developer, UI/UX designer, tester, network support, or solution architect/consultant could be available on an uncommitted basis and billed per hour.

This outsourcing model helps IT companies scale their business with less risk. Find out how. Click To Tweet

Benefits of FTEs: Why
When a software company expands resources for a project, having an FTE minimizes risk. If you’re facing a project where the client does not have details planned out, having an extra pair of hands on board for a set time and price may be the best option. The person will be under contract, and under your direction, like any of your own employees. At the end of the project, with proper notice (usually around 30 days) to the web company that the developer belongs to, you can be less one pair of hands without the hassle and negative effects of laying off an employee.

Benefits of FTEs: When
You should consider investing in an FTE if you have:

  • a strong, trustworthy relationship with a partnering Web development company.
  • a large, in-depth project in your hand which will keep 1-2 people busy for at least 6 months.
  • considered hiring employees to do the work.

Benefits of FTEs: Company and Client Responsibilities

The following describes the responsibilities of the web company that provides an FTE and your business on the receiving end.

 

Web Company’s Responsibilities

Your Responsibilities

Healthy Outlook

The company is responsible for minimizing distractions to the FTEs and providing a task-friendly environment.

Prioritization of Workload

You manage the employee like your own, providing priorities for project work or maintenance and support.

Skilled Resources

The company is responsible for replacing an FTE with an equally-talented, sufficiently-skilled person in the event the FTE is no longer available.

Daily Workload

You are responsible for assigning enough daily work for the FTE to fulfill the full-time (or half-time) commitment.

Available & Responsive

In addition to dedicated FTEs, the company’s leadership team is available to aid clients with any challenges.

Performance Assessments

You provide evaluations and written feedback to your FTE, so the employee can improve the quality of work.

Performance Challenges

If an FTE does not do quality work or try to improve, the company will provide a sufficient replacement.


If adding an FTE to your team seems like a good fit for your business, turn to your trustworthy, outsourcing partner. If they don’t do FTEs then Contact us to ask questions or start an FTE contract.

10 Reasons to Hire an Offshore Team

It is common for me to sit down with the owner of a web company, marketing firm, or ad agency and hear about their past experiences with an offshore team. Honestly, the stories I hear range from devastating project derailment to positive interactions that turned into long-term trusted relationships. I get it. There’s risk involved in outsourcing.

Should you hire an offshore team? Here are 10 reasons you would want to. Click To Tweet

The reality is many firms know there’s also a lot to gain from outsourcing. When does the benefit make it worth looking into the dynamics of working alongside another team? Are you wondering if this could be a strategic move for your company’s growth? Below I’ve listed 10 common reasons a business hires offshore teams.

While some of these have similarities, there are definitely differences between each of the reasons. Overall, hiring another company will allow you to expand your business. Everyone has a different vision for how to incorporate a team into their business’ growth. Here are 10 reasons CEOs of web and advertising companies seek offshore work.

Capacity
When you face an influx of business, you don’t have to turn away the work. Access to extra capacity gives you the opportunity to scale your business without hiring full-time resources. You can even take on extra hands through a Full-time Equivalent Model. This would give you a project team, without having to hire another employee in-house.

Technical Competency
Focus on your technical strengths. Let the team handle the rest. For example, you can focus on keeping the design in-house and send PHP work to the overseas team. Don’t stretch your own technical reach too thin. Do what you do well, and bring in a team working to add more tech skills.

Consultative
Are clients coming to you with countless questions? Use this as an opportunity to tap into an offshore team as your tech resource. Your team can even develop the scope of the project for your clients and draft proposals. You become the expert consultant, and let a team back you up with project reviews and proposal drafts.

Cost Effective
Are you trying to work within a limited budget? Whether covering part of a project or a full project, you can pull in quality service at an affordable rate. Unlike hiring a full-time employee, who requires health benefits or PTO, a team working from another country takes care of their employees’ job security, health insurance and pay.

Moving to SaaS Model
Moving to a SaaS (Software as a Service) model? Use your in-house resources to build out your SaaS, and use your offshore team to manage existing clients or new web projects. This gives you the freedom to focus on growth in this specific area. The project team takes care of the rest.

Scaling Your Business
When you consider expanding your business, take the low-risk growth strategy. In general, outsourcing is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to scale your business. Don’t over extend your business past its limits. This gives you a safety net, and spares you from firing additional employees if business slows.

Focus on Business Development
As the CEO of your business, you should be focusing on strategy, growth, and team development. Take the project management and technical details off your desk and hand them to a trustworthy partner. Or if you are a networker, make the connections with companies, while sending a reliable team the offshore work.

Finding a Certified Team
Some contracts require developers to be certified in certain technologies. Don’t spend valuable time for your developers to be certified. Bring in an already-certified, offshore team. Your developers can focus on their job.

Support Your Team’s Skillset
Some web companies have employees who are driven toward design while others like development. You do the designing, and let the team manage the behind-the-scenes framework and website development. Keep what you like and what you’re good at in-house, and hire a team to fill the gap. This will make happier employees and a better work product.

New Initiatives
Looking to roll out new initiatives that you keep putting off? Don’t wait to start. You can start extension builds, personal projects and company website redesigns through a project team.

Did one of those 10 reasons resonate with you?
If you’re considering outsourcing, choose your potential partner wisely. If you find a trustworthy team, your relationship can last a lifetime and build up your business.

At IT Hands we provide our partners quality work and transparent communication for a reasonable price. We also encourage any partner to come visit us to see our work environment and team culture. Interested in working with us? Contact our team at solutions@ithands.com.