Getting a website is a big investment, both in time and money. So how do you know what you are getting? How do you make sure you get what you need?
This is a tough question. There are so many options out there and it seems that everyone does things just a little differently. Here are some tips to do the best you can when looking for a designer/developer for your site:
- What are their skills and experience? How long have they been designing/developing websites? What is the largest site they have built. Larger sites require more work to make sure everything flows well.
- Can you see their portfolio? Remember they are meeting the needs of clients so what you see may or may not be your taste. More importantly, are the sites easy to read? Is the layout consistent and pleasing to the eye throughout the site? Are they easy to navigate?
- Do they provide any kind of search engine optimization? This is an ever-chaning area of web development. What is their philosophy on the subject? What will they do for your site to help it’s visibility with the search engines? Is it included in the price or does it cost extra?
- What platform are they are building the site on? Is it one you can maintain on your own once the site is built? If so, do they provide training? Is there a cost for the training?
- How do they stay current in the field? Are they in any professional organizations and are they actively involved? Do they subscribe to any magazines or visit any websites or blogs regularly?
- Do they work alone or on a team? What is their preference?
- Do they know what the w3c is? This group’s focus is on bringing standards to the web.
- How do they measure the success of the websites they have built? Is it by traffic? By design? Something else?
- Do they include Google Analytics set up for your site? Is there an extra fee for this?
- What do the clients have to provide for the site? Usually, clients need to provide text, images and feedback throughout the project. If you don’t want to provide text and images, do they provide this service and is there a fee for it?
- How do they communicate through the project? Email? Phone? In person? Does this match your preferred style?
- How long will the site take to complete?
- How much will it cost?
- What are the terms of payment?
- What browsers do they test the websites on?
- Can they provide Flash if this is something you want?
- Do they provide hosting and what is the cost?
- Can they set up a shopping cart if you need it?
This list isn’t intended to be all-inclusive but is intended to give you some ideas when you interview someone you are considering to build your website. Your website is an important part of your marketing plan and is too important to not have the right person build it for you. Good luck!