1. Are you using a template to design the website?
Be sure to ask your web company if they’re going to use a generic template, or if they plan on providing you with a custom design. You don’t want your website to look like everyone else’s – you want to be able to stand out and form a brand.
2. Is all the work done in house?
Ask your web company if they are a one stop shop. You need to know who is going to be working on your website. Some web companies outsource some of the development work for the website. Although there are some benefits to outsourcing work such as reducing expenses, if your web company can provide all of the services under one roof, the process will be much more streamlined.
3. Do you generate reports? How do you measure results?
It is imperative that your web company generates reports in order for you to track the progress of your advertising campaigns and to see if people are actually visiting your web site. You also want to use an online analytics program to track who is visiting you site, how long they stay on the site and how they found your site. You want to be able to measure your results and see if you’re getting a good return on your dollar. Programs like Google Analytics are helpful in understanding the traffic on your website and you want your web development company to be actively using these metric programs.
“Can you track the progress or growth in business from the work you’ve done?”
“What analytics programs do you use to measure if everything is effective?”
4. Do you do search engine optimization (SEO)?
You can have the most interactive, attractive, state of the art web site on the internet, but will people be able to find you? Ask your web company if they do search engine optimization, which is when you optimize your web page to help boost your rank in the search engines and thus bring you more visitors. If you want to get to the top of the list on Google, your web company needs to provide search engine optimization. You want your web development company to understand search marketing and its current trends so they can help you have a good position in organic search results.
5. What should I expect to see from this project?
It’s best to have a clear understanding of what to expect from your web company before you meet with them. Have them clearly outline what your project will entail, and be sure you understand what they’re talking about. It’s important that both parties agree on what’s to be expected regarding the project. Does your web development company offer packages? Make sure you understand all the different aspects of the project and what is included in website development.
6. Turnaround time for designing my website?
You don’t want to have to wait several months for your web site to be built. To build a good website should not take much longer than two months. Make sure you ask your web company just how long it will take for them to finish your site. They should be able to provide you with a basic time schedule for each phase of the project and update you when they’ve completed certain steps to keep you ‘in the know’.
7. Will I be able to handle my own changes?
Every time you need to update or change something on your site, do you need to contact your web company? Or will you be able to do it yourself? Ask your web company whether or not they’ll install a content management system, or if you’ll have to email them every time you need to make a change. If they do install a content management system make sure you understand how to use it properly before paying for the completed website, you don’t want to have to contact the web company weeks later because you don’t understand how to update your site.
8. What browsers do you support? Is it compatible with mobile?
Not all browsers are created equal. Be sure your web company makes your site compatible with all major browsers. Do you want your customers to be able to visit your site from their smart phones? The answer is most likely yes, today the majority of smart phone users browse the internet on their phones, so you want your website to be mobile compatible. Ask your web company if they support mobile sites, and see what it will take to develop one to fit your needs.
9. What else, besides web, will my business need?
If you need more than just a website, will your web company be able to accommodate your additional needs? Some firms will actually be able to take care of the whole package – from logos and print to advertisements and marketing campaigns. If your needs are greater than just a website, ask your web company about what else they can help you with.
“Can you guys do more thing than just websites? What if I need a logo or want to do a print advertisement”
10. How do you price your services?
Some web companies charge by the hour and others charge a flat rate. You need to figure this out before any work begins on your site. You should also ask them how they determine their prices, and make sure you understand how the system works so that they can’t ‘accidentally’ over charge you.
“Alright – so how do you all determine how much this is going to cost me?”
11. Who owns the site once it is done?
Depending on which company you work with, some firms will still retain the actual rights to their work even after you pay them. Be sure to ask about who retains the rights to what, and how you can obtain those rights, if you need them, once the project is complete.
“Do I have the rights to all of my stuff after you finish the work?”
Source: Image by Libby Levi for opensource.com