We are all living in a digital age where having an online presence is literally worth its weight in Gold. If you’re not online these days, do you even exist? To most humans on Earth, the answer to that is no. The same applies for business owners trying to inch their way into the economic giant that is the internet. If you’re not online advertising your trade, how are you going to be seen by the billions of potential clients glued to their phones, tablets and computers 24/7? The answer is to have a well-made, frequently maintained website.
Having your own website is imperative to succeed in today’s market, but with so many websites vying for consumer trade, how can you guarantee that yours is going to attract its intended audience? Trying to persuade millions to choose your products and services is a tough gig, and one that a web developer was born to do.
Website designers and web developers catapult people’s companies into profit every day using improved SEO (search engine optimisation) methods, and by offering guaranteed ROI (return of investment). Choosing the right web design agency to boost your company is a hugely important decision, and it pays to do your own online digging into what each one can offer you.
In this article we are going to discuss some key questions that you should think about asking your website developer, before trusting them to build a profitable site for your company.
Do I own my website?
Aside from the text and photos you put forward for the website, it’s important to note that most web developers own the right to any website they have created. If you know how to program the website yourself, then ownership rights are entirely yours to do as you please. Otherwise you have the permission to use the intellectual property of the website creator and the platform, in accordance with their rules.
Ask your chosen web developer about their policies on ownership of your proposed site. Take into consideration whether you have the time and skillset to self-manage it in the future.
Which content management system (CMS) will be used?
The CMS used by your website developer could literally make or break your business so find out which one they use for their projects. The top CMS platforms include features such as options for personalised customisation, social media integration, and great supporting tools to boost your site’s SEO. Some of the top content management systems used today are WordPress, Shopify, Drupal and Magento, each having its own different purpose and intended market.
Have you developed a website similar to my industry?
If you want your website to capture the right audience, then it would be optimal (but not a prerequisite) for the web developer to have worked on similar projects in the past. This will give your website an advantage to begin with and, provides you with an example of the designer’s previous work in your field.
What are the ongoing fees after my website goes live?
In terms of the cost, it pays to do your homework, as each company will have their own policies and pricing system. If you are going to pay an overall price, consider which features are included and those that are not, and which (if any) you can produce yourself.
For any new business you will need brand photography and content writing, which is often outsourced by the agency. Remember, you need modern, eye-catching images to draw consumers in, and up to date content that is clear, compelling and insightful to satisfy their queries and concerns.
Consider finding a web design agency that has their own inhouse copywriters and access to quality brand photographers. The more your web developer can offer, the less problems you will face, and the less money you will have to spend outsourcing.
Do you offer ongoing support and website maintenance?
For the future prosperity of your website, it will need regular updates and maintenance. Find out if the software used to create your site is user friendly and self-maintainable, or whether the company provides ongoing assistance for a reasonable fee. Keeping your content fresh keeps your clients interested, so it’s important to ask what kind of future support your web design company can offer.
Who can I contact if my website goes down?
In the instance where your website might crash, how quickly will your web design team respond to get it up and running again? Find out if they offer after hours service and at what price, because a crashed website equals zero trade.
What do you offer in terms of online marketing?
While some companies offer full digital marketing as part of the package, some only offer the most basic, entry level service, which may keep your website in a low traffic zone. I suggest looking at one offering outstanding service in professional marketing that will guarantee your site is prioritised amongst the masses. Keep in mind that some agencies do not provide digital marketing services at all, so find out what your proposed developer can provide.
Can we meet before the commencement of work?
Meeting with your website developer can ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the overall completion and launch. It is a good way to find out which services are outsourced and gives you the opportunity to discuss your overall vision
How long will it take before my website goes live?
Depending on the popularity of the web design agency, you could see yourself waiting a few months for your website to be online and fully functional. Find out before you sign the contract just how long your proposed website will take to be completed, and if that suits your desired timeline.
Will my website be compatible with mobile phones and tablet devices?
With more people choosing mobiles and laptops over desktop computers, you want to make sure your website is compatible with them all. Find out if your web development agency is familiar with responsive web design practises. This area is consistently advancing, so they should be able to adapt, and work with the latest software for web design and development.
Having a website for your business is the most lucrative form of advertising, and the key to international success. A website is your ticket to the global market, eliminating past geographical barriers, and providing potential investors with a place to do their own homework.
Before you trust in any old web developer, write down a list of questions you need to know, using the above questions as your beginner’s guide. No question is too simple or complicated when it comes to growing your business online.