Seven Question to Ask to Get the Website you Want

Whether you are looking to develop a site from scratch or redesign your current site, you know the importance of a well-designed website.

If you are like most people who are looking for a website designer, you start with a search on Google or Bing and find you have several to select from. But how do you select the right company?

It is easy for anyone to call themselves a website designer, but it takes more than just knowledge of Photoshop, computers or the Internet. Websites need to do well on search engines, be easy to navigate, and work on a variety of computers, mobile devices and browsers.

Before you put down a deposit on your website project, ask these seven questions.

1) Can I see examples of your work? Take a look at several of the websites they have created. You may not like all of them, but they should all seem easy to use, function correctly, show a variety of skill sets and not all look the same. You should like some of their work and feel comfortable that they have the skills to create the site that you need.

2) Will I have input into the design/layout of the site? You may not know exactly what you want at this point but you should be a part of the design process. As a designer, their job will be to give you ideas and examples and then allow you to provide feedback. A good designer will let you know when your ideas may not be best for the site, but they should also take into account that you know your customers better than anyone else does.

3) How will site updates be handled? There may be some updates that you need to make yourself – daily specials, industry news or adding photos to a gallery. And other changes that are best left to the professionals. If you intend to update the site yourself, make sure to review the process. Is it easy to use? Do you need to purchase software? For updates that the designer will be doing for you, ask how long updates will take and how are costs determined.

4) Will my site appear on Google and Bing? There is no magic formula to get all sites to appear well on the search engines, but there are things that can be done to help ensure this happens. Your designer should have a firm understanding of those elements and build several of them into the website. Things like META and ALT tags, internal text links, file and image names that include search terms, etc. There are some very good designers that do not deal with search engine optimization. If you decide to go with them, you should have a website marketing company on your team and have the designer and marketing company work together from the start.

5) Will my site be able to grow with technology and my company needs? Technology is always changing. Some of it we can predict and some we have no way of knowing what’s to come. Your site should be as scalable as possible to embrace the technology changes that come along. Also, if your future plans include an online store, be sure the designer you select can grow with you. This will save you the hassle of moving the site later on as your needs change.

6) Where do you host your websites? Many designers are resellers for other companies. In a lot of cases this is ok, but if there is an issue with the web server, can your designer take care of it or do they just need to sit and wait? Are the web servers monitored to ensure they are working correctly? Be careful of low cost hosting, it may be a lure to get you to sign up or may have restrictions on bandwidth and file storage.

7) What are the fees in creating, hosting and marketing my site? This is an investment in your business and future, so don’t make a decision solely on cost. Cheaper is often not better. There is a reason it is cheap. Also, have everything laid out in writing and very clear. You don’t want any surprises or hidden costs along the way.

Don’t hesitate to ask these and other questions. You are looking to hire a website designer that will create a site that you will be proud of, at a fair price and in a timely matter. You also want to be educated enough to know exactly what you are and are not getting.

May 1, 2013

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