It’s time to build your next website! That is awesome news. We hope we get a chance to talk to you about the project. But, whether you hire us or another firm we have some questions you should answer before you even start the process of talking to web firms. Sure, a good firm will ask you these questions. But you want to know the answers even before they ask; it will help you determine what defines a good firm for your business.
The thing about a website is that the same site (or a site that has the same technical functionality) can cost $99 on Fiverr or $20,000 from an award-winning design firm. Yes, the price you want to pay will influence the quality of the final product. Even more, it will impact the kind of process you go through to build the site. Less money=a more templatized and less interactive process. More money=a more collaborative and personalized process.
Different clients, even in the same field, often have dramatically different needs for their website. While one bookkeeping firm is seeking to redo their website to gain more clients, another might want a more informative site to answer questions that clients or client prospects often call to ask. When I work with a company, I like to ask: when this project is successful, what will have changed?
It is easy to think that just building a new website will mean that you will get more traffic. After all, didn’t Field of Dreams tell us that if we build it, they will come? Alas, what works for ghost baseball players, doesn’t always work for website visitors. Just building a new website doesn’t do anything for traffic. It is like getting dressed in a fancy ball gown and sitting in your living room.
If your goal is to receive more site visitors, you need a plan for getting the word out. We often continue to work with our web clients on content creation and other marketing tasks after the site is finished. If you aren’t ready to hire an outsourced marketing team, you should still have a plan to generate more traffic. How will you get them to come to your website?
This is such an important question, but one that companies so rarely think about. Different web firms really do play different roles in the projects they create. Some firms consider their job to be executing a client’s vision. They expect businesses to come to them with content and images ready to go. Other web firms work with companies on all parts of the project, helping them to determine what images they need, what content should be written, etc. Still others will take care of all of the items (providing stock images, writing text, etc). How much help do you want?
A website needs to do a lot of things. It provides general information about what an organization does. It displays contact information. It might collect email addresses for a mailing list. Perhaps it sells things. But, for every organization, no matter how many things the website does, one thing will be the most important. Know that going in.
Websites take work. No matter how good your web firm is, you will need to be a part of that process. So, who in your organization will serve as a point person for the project? Does she have the bandwidth to take on that role? Will she be writing (or directing the writing) of content? Does she have access to the information she will need to run the project? Nothing stops a project dead in its tracks like a company that can’t focus on finishing the last few pages of content.