A little self-indulgent I know, but bear with me here. I can happily say, without agenda, that above all else we want people to be totally happy with their website. Be this with us, or with another company, we don’t mind as long as they’re happy. With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful share a few pearls of wisdom on things to consider when you’re looking into getting a website for your business; It can be difficult to keep focused among all the sales talk and lovely designs. You are about to invest considerable time and hard earned cash in possibly one of the most important aspects of your new (or re-branded) business and you don’t want to waste either. Here we go:
What is the purpose of your website?
You are about to invest time and hard earned money in a web presence, but what is the objective of having a website? Is it to allow you to merely refer customers to the site for detailed information on your services or products you are offering; in effect an electronic brochure. Or, for example, do you want to sell your products or services directly to customers. It is important you are clear on the objectives of the site.
What do your competitors’ websites look like?
Do some research on your competitors websites, take a good look at several and see what they are offering in terms of design and any particular functionality they may have which you particularly like. Does this essential research throw up some great ideas you can use for your own site? For example, some sites incorporate an on line chat facility, or offer you the ability to book or pay on-line, offer a subscriber facility, etc.
Does you’re website need any “must have” requirements?
For example, if you are a club or charity you will probably want the ability to make and update content directly to the site yourself. This means the site needs to be a Content Management System, or ‘CMS’, this provides you, or a group, controlled access to update content.
Terms of Reference
Get a list of questions to ask your potential web design company for example:
– How are the costs derived – Is it based on pages and content, or is it a fixed cost?
– Are there any annual support charges – if so what do they include?
– How often is the site backed up?
– If the site does need to be re-stored is there any charge for doing this?
– Does the quote include any training if you are looking at CMS?
– Who owns the domain name i.e. www? Make sure you are the owner.
– Who owns the content and source code in case you wish to transfer to another company in the event you fall out?
– Does the cost quoted include e-mail accounts and set-up?
– Does the quote include any search engine optimisation (‘SEO’) of the site?
– Will you be offered any regular analytics so that you can monitor the effectiveness of the level of SEO you have selected?
– What is the typical lead time from conception to ‘go live’ of your new site?
– Security and hacking – what preventative methods are provided to ensure that the site is not hacked or infected?
Even if you know a lot about the company you have chosen – say perhaps they were recommended by a friend who swears blind they are awesome and will produce the best website on the plant – always check their site portfolio. Lots of design companies have lots of different design styles and lots of different designers. It’s so important to find one that suits you and your business. Your website is your online shop window for your business, if it doesn’t look right, or if it conveys the wrong message, then what’s the point? You can also ask for references so that you can talk to some clients who have experience of working with the company you are potentially going to invest a lot of time and money.
Diverse range of clients
Another important thing to look for is the range of clients your prospective designer has worked with in the past. If you’re looking for an e-commerce site to sell designer shoes, it might not be a fantastic idea to use a web design company who has only ever made brochure style websites for the construction industry. Instead, look for a company who has experience not just in one sector or web design style, but multiple. This ensures that they either have experience of your style of business, or are diverse enough to listen to your needs.
A large number of our lovely customers have come via equally lovely referrals; we’re very proud of the reputation we’ve built at PS-Web. Not just this though, our customers know they can call us day or night with any issue and know we’ll work tirelessly to help. We believe good service is the most important thing we can give. Make sure that the web design company you’re looking at has a reputation for not just good prices and nice design, but for being nice to work with! Nothing is more frustrating or difficult that working with people you don’t gel with, but feel obliged to go along with. We are totally confident that if you were to call any one our clients, they will all endorse us and our service wholeheartedly – still worth that call though!