Questions you must ask your web developer – read this first
You have decided to invest in a new website.
You need more business to fulfil your expansion plans and you are unsure whether your current website is up to the mark.
There’s a developer (or agency) you know who will redevelop your website (or build a new one) for what seems like a reasonable price. Great – that means you will be up and running with new products in no time.
Before you part with any hard-won cash, do your ‘due diligence’.
What exactly are you paying for? Is everything clear? You need to check things out.
Read through the advice below. If you would like to ask us specifically about your website before you make an important decision, contact us.
Are you selling products and services directly from your website? Can your developer describe the ways in which the website will deliver on your business objectives? Is he or she proactive in genuinely offering services that will help you achieve more sales as the website evolves?
Every decision should be based on business objectives. Your website is there to help you fulfil the plans for your business:
- Will your website be able to deliver the expected sales?
- Will your business be able to copy with the increased demand?
You may be looking at examples of websites your chosen developers have produced. They have e-commerce functionality just like yours will have. But is their business the same as yours? If it’s a subscription site, how many subscriptions are you expecting? How till prospective subscribers find your site from amongst your competitors on the web? How will you convert them into subscribers once they land on your site?
How easy is the buying process?
Have you seen a demonstration of the checkout process? Does it meet proven usability standards. Read these articles on e-commerce usability and make sure you don’t lose business because your website is not up to standard.
Choose a web developer who is happy to help you make the right choice
If your web developer is always patient and happy to answer all your questions in plain English, and show you what they mean until you completely understand, you will be able to make the best decision about building your business online. The best partnerships with web development agencies work on trust. If your developer has made suggestions that are proven to be in your best interests, he or she is the right one.
Ask about ownership
When the website is developed and paid for, who will own the code and content?
Why, your of course. But often, this is not the case. So you will need to ask:
- Will you have full rights of ownership over the site after you pay your final ownership?
- Will there be a sign-off date to confirm this?
- Will you have admin access to the site and what will that extend to?
- If for any reason, you later wish to move to a different supplier, are you free to do so and can it be done without hassle?
The contract with your developer
Check terms and conditions – read them in detail before you sign. Thoroughly understand the licence agreement you are entering into. If there is anything you are unsure about, ask your supplier – and, seek independent advice if necessary.
Make sure you understand the contract fully and are able to untie yourself from it whenever it suits your business to do so. Remember, your ability to gain profit from your website depends on it.
Examine closely everything you will be charged for and when. The last thing you want is an unexpected charge for something important that you were unaware of at the start.
Ask people in your network about their experiences – what would they advise? Make yourself aware of what is a reasonable price, terms and conditions for the site you are planning to have. And the level of support that will be provided in managing the site.
All too often, I see business owners put their trust in technical specialists only for it to turn out to be a costly mistake. If you are entering into an online business, it pays to understand how that business works. You wouldn’t open a shop and fail to know about merchandising, pricing, payment processing costs or advertising.
A genuine supplier will be happy to explain everything. As a technical specialist, he will have the expertise and the desire to help you grow your business. And will advise what is in your best interests, providing you with the options you need in order to make the right decisions.
How do you know who you can trust? Call Tresil. We are happy to advise you.
From Day One, you’ll want to know how well your website is performing and for this you’ll need to gather site statistics. You need to know what is working and what needs to be changed in order to increase website traffic and grow your business online.
Ask your web developer to set up the site statistics package so that it tells you:
- The number of website visits
- How long visitors spend on your site (average)
- How long they spend on each page
- Where they come from (location)
- The page they enter your site (it’s not always the home page)
- The exit page
- The most popular pages visited
- How long the page took to load
- Which operating system your visitors are using – this figure will tell you how many visitors are accessing your site using a mobile or tablet
- Which browser your visitors are using
- Which key phrases your visitors use to find you
- Which websites are sending visitors to you
- Inbound links – links your website has gained and where they come from
- Problems with broken links.
The magic figure you need to watch is conversion rate: the percentage of people who buy after visiting your site.
To access your website statistics, you will need the URL and login procedure required to access the software. The person who built your website can set this up for you.
Google Ranks Quality Content
Because that’s what people want.
Be wary of anyone who says they guarantee to get you to the top of a search results page. It is virtually impossible. If you are tempted by such a claim, ask them about the keywords and phrases for which you will rank Number 1. An ethical SEO specialist will be happy to explain the process they go through in order to make you visible in search engines.
Secure the freedom to update your content whenever you want to
Don’t skimp on content quality and that means relevance.
Your website needs to be found. And having been found, it needs to convert your website visitor into a customer. Your website is your sales generation engine. If it is doing its job, it will reap rewards for you. It will pay for itself. Not only that, it will make money for you (often while you are doing something else).
How much can you afford?
If you can’t afford to spend £3000 (for example) on your website, ask yourself why? If it is set to bring you £12,000 worth of business, your investment has paid off.
If you spend £300 on your website yet it brings you nothing, your investment is wasted. As is your precious time.
Don’t forget mobile
How well can your site be viewed on a mobile device? Even more important, how easy is it to click to ‘Buy’ from your site when using a mobile device?
You’ve set your vision, now achieve your goals
Make your decision a financial one. Be clear on your business objectives for your new website and stick to them to get results:
- How many enquiries do you want?
- How many sales do you expect?
All these results are measurable and the process to test and measure needs to built-in right from the start.
It is likely that you will work with different specialists as your website is developed. Each person will have different skills. Technical skills such as web design, web development and search engine optimisation may be carried out by the same supplier, or different ones. Marketing skills such as copywriting, proof reading and publishing social media posts may be done by someone else. Make sure they all work cohesively as a team, are proactive at meeting your project deadlines and together have your best interests at heart.
Never stop asking questions
Always ask the right questions in your quest to make profit from your new website. It is your marketing engine. Remember why your site is there.
- If you can’t afford the best possible website for your business right now, wouldn’t it be better to wait until you can?
I hope this information helps you choose the right specialists to work on your website.
Buying website services has been a daunting experience for some people. But not if you know the right questions to ask. I hope the advice given here helps you make the right choice.
If you would like more advice on avoiding costly mistakes when having your website redeveloped, all you have to do is contact us. When you book a consultation with Tresil, the first half hour is free.
Or if you would like to share your personal experiences, please comment below.
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