Getting a website built is more than just putting words and pictures on a page or two and hitting Publish. Understanding what goes into a good website build can be challenging if you’ve never had to engage someone in that field before.
For starters, it can feel like a whole new language and a totally different world – we do speak another language! So here are some things you need to be on the watch for when talking to someone about building you a website.
1. What platform do they recommend and why?
A bit like buying a new car, it is important to understand what platform (or software) is used to build your website. If you want to buy an SUV you might consider several makes of car and you will want to know that they have a good reputation, service options behind them, support available and the latest technology in use to give you the best value for your dollar.
In website terms, knowing what platform/s a web designer uses and recommends can be an important insight into how they work. There are different platforms available for different uses and types of business so it is worth making sure the person you approach is at least aware of the options available and can give you good reasons behind their recommended platform.
It is also important to understand what the immediate and ongoing costs of that software are. Different platforms provide different cost models, which can benefit your business at different stages of your growth.
2. What other sites have they built?
Having a look at their portfolio of work can provide you with an understanding of their design style and the types of clients they work well with. Have most of their sites been done for large corporates, with complex needs, or do they specialise in a particular niche or types of websites (e.g. do they only do online stores)?
Visit some of the other sites they have built and see how they function – are they easy and intuitive to navigate? Do the pages load quickly? Are the images great quality and does the text make sense? Do they include pop ups on their site or sing ups for newsletters? All of this will arm you with good knowledge about the designers’ skills and expertise and whether they can meet your business needs now and into the future.
3. Do they have positive customer testimonials?
While you are on their website have a look to see if they have positive customer testimonials regarding websites they have built?
- What is it that clients talk about as being positive aspects of working with that person?
- Do they listen?
- Do they offer suggestions?
- Do they accurately reflect the brands they have worked with?
4. How will you know your website is 'working'?
Depending on your business goals for your website, you will want to know if you website is doing what you expect. How will visits be measured, clicks and conversions collated on your website? And will this data be available to you as the website owner?
It’s a good idea to have a clear set of goals in mind before you approach someone to build your site, as a good designer will ask you very clearly about your goals and what you are hoping to achieve. They might also ask you about what you want visitors to do once they get to your website – do you want them to book an appointment or request a quote or perhaps sign up for your newsletter?
Knowing what you want your visitors to do that will help them convert from casual looker to committed customer is key to developing a website to meets your specific business needs.
5. Do they understand current trends in web design?
A professional web designer will be constantly keeping up with current trends and reviewing the horizon of tech to see what is coming in the near future. Like most technology, web design tools and practices are constantly evolving, changing and improving.
Ask them what they do to keep across the latest trends. You will want your website to look great now, not as if it was built several years ago. We’ve all been on those sites that don’t work on the mobile or are so cluttered with words and boxes that we can’t find the information we are looking for. You don’t want to be one of those.
You also want your website to become a platform from which your business will grow and flourish in the future. Make sure they are putting a platform and tools in place that can grow as your business grows.
6. How will they manage your project?
One of the things most clients are not aware of is how web designers manage their individual client projects. Do they have additional software tools that they use to help them manage the project? Will they set clear time frames and deliverables for your project so you can see how it is progressing?
How much visibility of the build will you have while it is in progress? Consider too, how much input you want to have (and that they will allow you to have) into the design and layout of your website and be prepared to take advice from a professional – after all, that is why you are engaging them.
7. What happens after the project is complete and your website is live?
Once your website is live what support and assistance will they provide you to ensure your website continues to be up to date, secure and relevant to your target audience? Do they offer reviews or updates as part of a support package?
Will they be there if your website is hacked (and what will they do to guard against that?) or the website fails for some reason? And what support will be available when you want your site updated to reflect that pivot you’ve just taken, the changes to your office locations or the re-brand you’ve undertaken?
While you are asking and researching all of these aspects, you will be getting a feel for their working style, personality and ability to undertake the job as well as their expertise in your area or type of business. Can they explain things to you in everyday language so you understand what will happen with your website?
Remember, they will become like a long term business partner so you want to find someone that has the expertise, persistence and knowledge so that they can continue to support your business, not just for the immediate timeframe, but well into the future.
Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.
Get in Touch
If you’d like help with your website, email marketing or blogging, then make a time to chat by using the big orange button below. I can help you to:
1. Clarify your target market and work out what you want them to do when they get to your website.
2. Identify a suitable platform for your business that will grow as it grows.
3. Create keyword rich content to update your site and entice your customers
4. Get your digital presence ranking up in Google and other search engines.