So, you have finally decided that you need a website. What are the most important things to consider before you hire someone to develop it for you?
1. Do you even need a web developer?
This depends on your own ability to develop and implement a website. Yes, there are web tools and templates that will help you developed your own but depending on what you will use the site for it is important to make sure you pick the right tools.
You can go to the store and buy a box brownie mix, follow the instructions on how to make the brownies and then take them to a bake sale. This doesn’t mean that people
will buy your brownies. You might not even be able to give them away. It’s all in the presentation.
2. What will the website be used for?
Websites are created for a number of different reasons. Some are created to simply give basic information about your company and its products and services. Other sites offer an interactive experience where your clients can purchase items and/or communicate with you.
I recommend that you take the time to review other sites in your industry to get an example of what you want to do with yours. Bookmark these sites to review with the web developer that you choose.
3. Do you already have marketing materials?
The information on your website is generally the most overlooked and important aspect of your site. Have you already developed and used brochures and other marketing materials for your business? This will be one of the first things that your web developer will ask for.
If you do not have anything they will need to be developed otherwise this will increase the cost of developing your site.
You can also use your business plan as a start for this process. You do have a business plan right? (If not please read the article on developing your Micro Business Plan)
4. Will you be able to update the site yourself?
For your site to be effective it will require periodic updates. The days of the static sites that never change are over. You will want your site to change on a regular basis so your customers will return over and over again.
It can be something as simple as specials for the week or month. Or maybe even a spotlight on one of your staff or customers.
You will want to be able to do this without having to always contact your web developer. There are many very simple ways to get this done by you, a family member or someone on your staff.
Make sure that the site is developed so that you can do this yourself.
5. What do you know about the web developer?
How do you know the web developer? How were they referred to you? Is this something they do for a living or is it a hobby? Remember you are running a business. It is best to deal with someone else who is running a business as well. This way your business means as much to them as your customers business means to you. A hobby is something you do when you have free time. A business is something you make time for.
Ask your developer to send you samples of other sites they have done and the contact information of the persons that they did the sites for. Do not take it on their word that they have good work habits and will deliver on schedule. People have the best intentions. But things happen.
6. How much should you pay for a basic site?
Websites come in all shapes and sizes. The cost of your site depends on what you plan to do with it. A basic site can just provide information. A more complexes site can allow people to purchase things directly from the site. The cost can vary depending on the web developer and the tools that they use.
A basic site starts at about $500 and will up from there depending on what you want to do with it.
Make sure to do your research before selecting a web developer. All are not created equal. Make sure to also get the quotation and project plan based on the number of pages that will be developed for your site.
And please, please, please, make sure that you get all the account and login information for your site once the site is completed.
Marc Parham is a small business expert, author, business coach, and radio show host. email@example.com www.capbuildernetwork.com