Why Did You Let Your Web Developer Design Your Website?

Tons of information is available on the Internet about SEO and the best practices for web developers. As a two fold project, your website should be designed to be search engine friendly and then professional web marketers need to work on your site’s SEO. That is the best of both worlds because right from the beginning your site will be friendly to users AND to spiders.

But, what if you already have a site that is not producing the results you want? Help is still available.

Too often, business owners complain, “We have a really great website, but we have no traffic. We love our website design, but we want more people to visit our site.” First, a competent SEO professional will do a site analysis. Frequently, they find a gorgeous, visually appealing site with terrific flash and loaded with elegance. What they do not find is a site that is user friendly, meaning it is difficult to navigate or so flashy that people simply cannot find where to click. A shopper will get very frustrated very quickly and leave your site, losing you a potential sale.

Second, the SEO professional finds the sites have not been optimized in any way to be spider friendly. It is not architecturally sound with regard to meeting the needs of search engines. The story SEO professionals hear is the web developer decided something looked really good and just went with it and did not take anything else into consideration.

If this has happened to you, it is time to stop and go back to square one. You may have to have your website totally revamped. Even if you spent a lot of money on your first website, if you aren’t getting traffic, then it is money wasted, anyway. Not reinvesting in your website could cost you a lot in terms of lost revenue.

The longer you wait to update your site the more money your company will loose. The worse thing you can do is nothing at all.

If you looking for web design firm and you are presented with a proposal that is not search engine friendly and is not user friendly, then move along. The prettiness of the site is the last thing you should consider. It does not matter if everyone in your company thinks the site looks good, business today depends on traffic to the site. It depends on exposure and high rankings. Allowing managers, or even a web designer who doesn’t know about web marketing, to design your site is a bad business decision. Ultimately, you will not achieve your goal of creating a web presence.

Choosing a Website and the Right Web Developer

A website is a very important business asset. In some cases, it might be the most important business asset and in others, the only asset a business has. For example, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube only exists as websites (web systems). These businesses do not necessarily need a big building with a thousand workers and a big manufacturing machine. They only require a powerful server and a few employees and the internet which is almost free. Their websites are more important than everything else.

Choosing a website and a web developer is very critical and may determine whether your website will become an asset or a liability to the business. A website may make your small business appear like a multinational business. On the other hand it can humiliate your big business and make it appear less than it actually is.

Websites may be categorized into many categories. But they basically fall into either business, institutional, product, celebrity, news or social websites. I will give you exclusive explanation on what you need to know before you acquire a Business, institutional or social website.

Business websites are very useful and makes up a significant part of the internet.

Depending on the kind of business, it should be clear, attractive, have rich content and have an easy navigation system. If a visitor lucks what they were looking for in your website, they may go away for good. Even if you have contact details to answer more questions, not many clients want to call. They want to see all the relevant information about you online mostly those browsing through many similar websites.

For a brick and motor business e.g. a store front containing the products and their prices; but requiring the user to go and buy the product physically, the website should have: a header and a footer, images of the products/services which are clearly organized with price tags, related products and all the relevant information. It is good practice to organize them in broad categories and narrower categories. An auto-suggest search engine would make easier for visitors, clear contact information, location, a client order form would be great and online after sale services. Whatever business you are trying to acquire a website for, assume you are the visitor and spell out exactly what you would expect to see.

Purely click business websites demand for even more. Such websites do not require any physical contacts between the buyers and sellers. An example would be a software, games or eBook web site where users can download products and make payment online without making any physical contact with the seller. Such a website should be clear, powerful (code that doesn’t crash) and conclusive. This is because it is not only a website but also a business. It should be very organized since it holds very much content. The website should also provide easy and quick after sale services and real time customer interaction.

Institutional web sites are not very different from business web sites; only that they attract a greater range of visitors. When planning to acquire such as website, have in mind the clients, staff, distributors and perhaps the government. Such websites should have vital information e.g. about the institution, contacts of perhaps all the relevant staff members, mission and vision statements and a photo slide show of staff members, events or promises. A video would do well too. Location and maybe on Google map makes it easier for clients to find and visit you.

The last category is a social website. These types of website are too important to even think about their prices. The quality should be the most important consideration. A social websites attracts virtually all kinds of visitors and mostly gets more responses than the owner plans for. Facebook for example was created to serve an institution, but now it serves the globe with about a billion followers. Out of these these are several hundred thousand institution, celebrity or product pages and several thousand hackers. When creating a social site and if you believe it is unique, consider all those users. Be clear with what you want to the developer. If its video sharing, let it be video sharing and nothing else. Social websites should not talk much about themselves or about their owners. The users don’t care how it works or who developed it or how they can contact you. They are more worried about the stuff they are sharing and their profiles. Such websites are database driven and one would never tell how large they can become. What you assume is that it will have several million users. The header and footer may have rich colors like blue, red, brown and the body a white background. I bet most of those social websites outside there have that. The text should be black in color, the font type Times new roman, Arial or Tahoma or any other professional not fancy font. The headings should be bold, larger and/or underlined and the contents should be separated by horizontal rule. Make links blue and visited links purple… simple. You do not have to decorate, the website, the content being shared will decorate it for you. This is very important. A social website should have an autosuggest search engine and if necessary paged content. Don’t let them span too long. They should be addictive and free of errors. Most of the users nowadays use search engines like Google and have Facebook and twitter accounts, they also have email accounts like yahoo and Gmail. All these sites are very user friendly. That same user when visiting your social site compares it with those. Make thorough error provision features. A majority of those who will use your site have minimal or no computer skills. Finally it’s good practice to make sure your social site opens well in all platforms and browsers. A social website should open in a cellphone comfortably and fast.

As I conclude, a website is not something you just fix together to get it online. It is just like a magazine that you arrange the contents carefully and choose styles skillfully. Think and plan carefully before building one and select a good web designer. It would better take longer or cost you more but finally become your long term asset.

Questions to Ask Your Web Developer When Getting a Quote

If you are looking into investing in a website but don’t know a lot of information about how websites and web design works, it’s OK, you can relax.

As long as you know the right type of answers to ask your developer when getting a quote, you won’t be taken for a ride. However, taking some time to research what things you would like on your website–specialized text and images, video, slideshows, ecommerce etc.- is extremely beneficial to you so that you have an idea of what you’re looking for and an idea of how to ensure that’s what you’ll get.

This brings us to the first and most important question to ask a prospective developer:

1) Show me your work

Hiring a developer is like hiring any other type of employee, you must investigate their past work, references, and have access to current projects they have contributed to. If your developer tries to give you a link or PDF file of websites that are not in use anymore, you need to tell them you will only look at websites that are currently operational. Have the developer point out and discuss specifically what they worked on with each of these websites. Many times this will reveal if the developer was just a designer for what you see and the back-end programming was all completed by someone else.

2) What will you do for me?

The second question that you should ask should be, “if I give you the opportunity to build a website for my business, what will you do for me?” A sure sign that a developer is in tune with your needs and wants is if they respond back by asking you more details about how your business functions. If a developer immediately starts rambling off all the elegant designs, website headers and web banners they can offer you, they are simply rehearsing a speech used many times before and are offering you the same generic website all their previous customers have received. A developer that is genuinely interested in what your business does, how it works, what you represent, what your short-term and long-term goals are and more, is going to be able to offer you a custom website that is completely tailored to your business’ individual demands.

Once you’ve established the basics and have some insight into your prospective developer, it is now time to pinpoint all the costs and extras that will add up to success or failure such as:

  • How much will hosting cost me?
  • Is the website hosted in the country I’m running my business out of?
  • What is the expectable speed my website will load in?
  • Do I have to renew my domain or will you do it automatically?

Getting a very specific picture of how all the components of your website will work together and how much it will cost you will allow you to determine if this developer will suit you and your business’ needs the best. Your developer should be proud of their previous work and should promise to keep your website effective by offering to keep your content refreshed, delivering a clear message of what and who your business represents, have easy navigation, fast loading time, promotional tools, and ensure you technological support during your training (if a Content Management System) and after. You don’t have to be a website developer to understand what your website should have that will meet your wants and goals. Just figure out exactly what to ask and have specific examples of what you are expecting your website to look like, and you will be able to find a perfect match for a web developer in no time.