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In today’s connected world, a company website is perhaps the greatest promotional tool available to a business. Not only is your site available 24/7, it is also frequently a potential client’s first point of contact with your firm – so it’s crucially important your site creates the best initial impression.
In recent years there has been a glut of personal, do-it-yourself website-builder tools come on the market but, to achieve the best results, you should consider employing the services of a professional design company.
That said, not all design agencies are created equal and it’s important you do a little research before choosing who to partner with. Here are just a few questions you should ask your next website developer:
How do they research projects and how long will your site take to make?
The goal of any business website is to comprehensively reflect the aims, aspirations, products and services of the company so it’s important your design firm takes a proactive approach to the development and thoroughly researches both your firm and its market. Failure to do so can result in a site that doesn’t work well at promoting your company.
Also, it’s essential everyone is clear from the outset how long the production is likely to take. While so-called “job creep” is common in most web productions (most often caused by the client asking for new things), your designer should still have a ballpark idea of how long the project will take. You should also confirm how/if you’ll be billed for any alterations or fixes that might be required i.e. as a flat fee or at an hourly rate.
What is the full range of services you can expect as part of the package?
Many developers these days take a holistic approach to website design, offering not just site production but also extra services like graphic design, image optimization or social media promotion as part of a bigger package. You should agree on everything you expect to be included within the development – and get it in writing.
Is Search Engine Optimization included and what is their track record?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential if your site is to perform well on directories like Google and start giving you a return on your investment. Most agencies offer at least some form of SEO in their design packages as a lot of the most important work involved in getting higher rankings takes place during the production phase. You should ask if this work is included in the price.
Also, you should ask for references or proof of their success at SEO. In truth, you will likely get a pretty idea of their skills from how easy it was to find their company site online. For example, web production firm ALT Agency rates highly under searches for their local area, “web design Coventry” giving a clear indication of their skills. Checking a company’s own success with SEO can give a very good idea of their web marketing prowess.
Will I be able to update the site myself?
These days, it’s very rare for companies to produce static websites that require updates to be made by a developer – but it can still happen. Be sure to check that you’ll be able to make updates yourself using a Content Management System (CMS) and also confirm what training will be given.