There are a few factors that often get overlooked when businesses are choosing a web design company. This is partly because of assumptions (that seem natural at the time) which can prove costly later down the line. Here are three I felt worth picking out for you to consider as your make your choice.
THE COST OF YOUR WEBSITE
Let’s imagine that you go to your local builders and ask them to build you a house but say nothing more. Now your builder hasn’t a clue whether you want a semi-detached or a 10 bedroom mansion. The difference in cost would be huge but they’re both still houses.
It’s the same for a website – the more technology and functionality you add into your website the more it will cost. The more time you spend on creating a design, the more it’s going to cost. The more marketing approaches you build to support the website, you’ve guessed it, the more it’s going to cost.
This means there are no hard and fast rules about how much you should spend on your website. You could spend a few thousand or you could spend £20,000 or more.
The real question is not how much do you want to spend on your website but how much do you want to get back. Your website is a piece of marketing technology and that technology has to earn its keep. So spending £10,000 on a website which earns you £100,000 in return is a good investment but spending £10,000 on a website which earns you £5,000 is not.
Your focus for identifying how much you are prepared to invest in your website should be based on what you think its returns should be. So when you review the price your web designers charge concentrate on the return not the outlay.
WEB DESIGN STARTS WITH BUSINESS CONSULTANCY
Building a website is really about putting your business online.
Just imagine moving your business into another market like Europe. I bet you can think of at least 100 major factors you would have to think about to make it a success.
Here’s the thing: Moving your business online is moving it into another marketplace. This means that you may expect a level of advice and consultancy from your web designers especially given their familiarity with the online marketplace. It’s a common mistake most businesses make – assuming that because web designers build websites that they also have the knowledge about how to make them successful. Now there is no reason why you should expect that from them. After all you would hardly expect someone building the extension to your house to be an expert interior decorator.
However, increasing numbers of web designers are recognising that they need to do more than simply build a website in order to support their customers: They need to deliver a level of ‘business thinking’ to the project. So it’s worth asking them how they could help develop and mould your online business and what ideas they have to make your website commercially successful.
BUILDING WEBSITES IS A TESTING EXPERIENCE!
When you build a website what you are actually building is a piece of software.
One of the problems with software is that it is never perfect and will typically include bugs that have accidentally crept in. These bugs exist in every piece of software – and that includes your website.
The question is how do you get rid of them? The answer is by running the website through a series of tests to make sure it works properly and, as you can imagine, the more complex the website (content management systems, e-commerce, quoting systems, etc.) the more testing you have to do.
What you need to know is that there are two stages to testing; Alpha and Beta. Alpha testing is done by the web developers (although ideally not by the person who has written your website) who should have a standard testing cycle for all their websites. Whereas, Beta testing is what you do once the Alpha testing has been completed.
Testing is a joint process and not solely the responsibility of your web designers so make sure that you have fully tested your website before it goes live.
Next week I’ll show you what you can do to make sure your web development goes smoothly.