5 Things To Think About When Creating or Updating Your Website
If you’re looking to update your website, or maybe even create one for the first time, then cost will undoubtedly be a factor in your choice of whom to work with.
However if you choose to go with a company that quotes you £750 over one that quoted £1500 just because it’s cheaper, then you could potentially waste £750 rather than save it.
Of course the £750 website may be just as good as the £1500 one – and you won’t necessarily get a site twice as good if you pay £3000 – so price really is only one of the factors to take into account when making your decision.
Here are some equally important considerations – and questions you can ask.
1) What will you get as a minimum in your newly created website?
i) Will it have all the information expected by your visitor and will it be easy and intuitive to find that information, as well as being eye catching and appealing.
ii) Will it be created with a ‘mobile first’ perspective? All websites will (or should) now be created in a design that automatically adjusts to display itself properly on all different device types – PC / laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. However, with mobile searches these days being on average twice that of PC’s & laptops, Google now looks for an exemplary mobile experience from your website.
iii) Will it be Google friendly? As well as it presenting well on mobile devices, the speed your website loads is another increasingly important factor that Google looks for when deciding how highly to rank your business’s website in its search results. Your website should also be set up with the basics of good on-page SEO, including site & page titles, descriptions and your targeted keywords within the page content.
iv) Will you be able to track your website’s performance and traffic? It’s both interesting and important to see how many visitors are coming to your website – and a lot of other information about their journey besides. Having a piece of code from Google Analytics placed on your website will mean that you can closely monitor your visitor’s activity.
v) Will you get an email address linked to your website name? It looks a lot more professional when a business has an email address like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ rather than ‘email@example.com’ When you have your own website (domain) name it’s straightforward to set this up.
I would suggest these are now the bare minimum of requirements for any new website.
2) Will you have to supply all your own content?
Web design companies will vary in how much of the content they will expect you to provide and how much they are prepared to create for you by taking time to understand, interpret and present your business.
Some may expect you to provide all the written content yourself and then do little more than copy and paste the text you provide them with, directly onto the website page(s).
Most will ask you for an outline of your business, your key products and services, features and benefits etc – and then distill it into the website copy.
If you struggle with providing this content yourself and need help in identifying and bringing out the best in presenting your business, then some companies will take away the pain and time in creating the text for your website and do the majority for you.
Obviously the less you do and the more they do then the more it will cost. However it ‘should’ result in a better website because they take time to understand your business and present it in the best way for your visitor. You still work with them to fine tune the final copy once the major work is done – and get it exactly how you want it.
3) Will you be able to manage and update your website yourself once it’s completed?
You may well prefer your web design company to make any ongoing updates to your website once it’s completed, but most people would at least like the option to do it themselves. You certainly should not be held to ransom to have to come back to your web designer whenever you want to make a small addition or amendment.
Another reason you should ask your web designer for your own login details to your website and that is if anything should unfortunately happen to them, you will still have access and control of your website.
Most web designers will be happy to give you some basic training on how to make updates to your site. I do this and have some clients that are now quite happy to make minor amendments to their website, but then still come back to me for any more detailed work.*
I personally have a Monthly Maintenance Programme (see more below) within which there’s an allowance for minor amendments built in.
* If you cause any issues within your website when making amendments it should be expected that your web designer will charge you (a reasonable amount) for putting things right again.
4) What after sales support will you get in maintaining your website?
Once completed and live online, a website is unfortunately not something you can just totally ‘set and forget’.
Like your car, it needs a little bit of regular care, attention and maintenance to keep it in good condition – and yes, to even prevent it breaking down.
i) There will be regular updates to the various software that work in the background of your website. These updates may be to address security issues (to reduce the risk of your website being hacked and taken over) and need to be kept up to date.
ii) It’s important to have Firewall Security software to not only block any malicious attempts to gain access of your website, but also keep a track of any such activity. Installation of Firewall Security software shows you just how often others are trying to gain access to your website. It’s surprising and scary.
iii) It is also good practice to make regular Back Ups of your website so that if anything does happen to your site then it is quick and easy to restore a recent, ‘clean’ version.
I don’t mean to be the scaremonger here, personally I’ve only ever had one site hacked in 5 – 6 years – but trust me when I say, “prevention is better than cure.”
iv) On a more positive note, ongoing maintenance support can also include keeping you updated on any new innovations in technology or styling that could help your website perform better for your business.
Many web design companies can show you how to monitor and action the first three measures yourself, or may be able to take care of everything for you in a Monthly Maintenance Package for a reasonable ongoing fee.
5) Will you get any other help you might need to drive more visitors to your website and convert them to customers?
Having a website really is just the beginning in attracting new customers to your business and getting existing ones coming back for more.
You can try different things on your site, adding new content and features to try and increase your ‘conversion rate’ of visitors to enquiries, but you must also look at how to get more visitors to your website in the first place.
This can include working to improve your position in Google’s search engine results, increasing your social media activity and followers, building a customer database that you can begin to communicate with regularly – and even lots of ‘old school’ offline strategies such as local ads, promotions and flyers.
Can your web designer help you with this, or introduce you to other’s who can?
There really is quite a bit more to creating a website than just creating a website. A successful website at least, one which will really work for your business and pay you back many times over.
When you’re deciding upon the right person or company to work with you then you should at least make sure they can fulfill the bare minimum requirements of point 1) – and most importantly have trust and faith that they will deliver on their promises.