Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

Top Ten Things to Do Before Hiring a Web Developer

August 6th, 2018

Before approaching web developers for estimates on building your new business’s site, there are a few things you should think through first so you are fully prepared for the questions you will be asked. Here’s a list of ten things to be clear on before making that important next step:

  1. Be clear on your business plan. This may sound obvious, but it has happened where I’ve been asked to build a website when the potential client only had an idea of what they wanted and no business foundation planned out at all. Are you sure you have a viable business idea that will provide you with a reasonable ROI or is this more of a hobby that you just want to dabble in? It is important to be clear on your intensions of what you want to accomplish first.
  2. Be clear on your business name.  Make sure you have a registered business name before creating any of your marketing materials. It could be a costly mistake to have to go back and change everything if you find out your business name has been rejected.
  3. Be clear on the product you sell or service you provide. Ensure you are clear on the product or service you offer so your developer knows what site features and design will work best to enhance them. Ask yourself if they are digital products or systems or a service for hire? How many products and how are they sold?
  4. Be clear on your brand. This does not mean you have to have your logo already designed (some web development companies can also design your logo and other stationery/marketing materials for you as well), but it does mean you need to be clear on the message you want to give others about you and your business. This is actually not an easy or quick process but makes a significant difference if you are clear on this before moving on to anything else. Often the designer/marketer that you hire to create the visual brand for you can help with this process or I recommend checking out BrandU where they help you through your brand definition process step-by-step. Once done, you will be very clear on not only the essence of our brand, but also the “look” of your brand so you can simply hand over your results to your designer to create it for you.
  5. Be clear on what you want your website to accomplish.  A site that does not have a clear call to action is not going to be effective in fulfilling its purpose. When visitors come to your site, what do you want them to do once there? What is your primary call to action?
  6. Be clear on how you are going to get site visitors into your database. The odds are slim that someone is going to purchase from you on their first visit to your site, so you need to plan out a way to capture their name and email address so you can keep in touch with them on a regular basis and develop a relationship with them.
  7. Be clear on what features you want on your site. Will it be a static “brochureware” site with standard 4-5 pages or do you want something more dynamic with features such as a blog, calendar, search function, photo gallery, shopping cart system, newsletter system, membership signup etc.?
  8. Be clear on your budget. Your developer needs to know a price range that you’re looking at so they can recommend a site build that will fit within your means. Keep in mind that your website is your primary marketing piece due to it being accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You don’t want to skimp with such an important and prominent showcase of your business! Don’t be fooled by the cheaper template options or “do it yourself” applications out there where, unless you have studied the intricate nuances of how the Internet works, search engine optimization and effective layout design, you run the  risk of scaring off your perfect customers instead of attracting them!
  9. Be clear on website maintenance.  Once your site is built, who is going to maintain it? The reason why this is important to determine before your site is built is due to the different ways it can be built. If you want to be able to update the site yourself, then you need your site built in a CMS (Content Management System) platform. This will put your site design into a template where you log in to make updates. Now before you get excited about the thought of saving all that money on doing this yourself, consider these points:
    1. Do you know enough about content layout and copywriting to make an effective marketing piece that looks professional to your perfect client?
    2. Do you know how to optimize images so they don’t slow down your site’s performance?
    3. Do you have enough time to do updates to your site?
    4. Are you aware you can’t write off your time that you spend on doing things yourself where you can if you have a professional take care of the updates for you? As you can tell, I am biased on this point… the reason is from working with over a  hundred clients over the years, these points always come up and they soon find out that even though it seemed they could “easily” update their site themselves, it rarely turned out that way. I heard from many that were extremely frustrated because they were working in an environment and medium totally foreign to them. Meanwhile they were wasting valuable time trying to learn to be a web developer instead of spending it on getting clients! Mind you, some people are more computer literate and can pick up on the more technical aspects required and they manage fine; however, it is still important to learn good copywriting skills and understand what makes an effective website before going the DIY route.
  10. Be sure you do your research on who to approach. You want to find someone with experience and skill who will partner with you to help you build your business. You want to avoid programmers who only do exactly what you tell them as opposed to others who can offer ideas, suggestions and be a part of your  team to be there as a valuable resource when needed. Always ask to talk to their clients to see what their experience was working with the developer. Be aware of those that claim to be developers when in reality, all they learned was how to use a “do it yourself” software like Microsoft Front Page. The quality of your site – both in design and in how it is coded – is very important on many levels so ensure the person you hire understands how to design and build a quality product for you.

Do You Need a Web Designer Or a Web Developer?

August 5th, 2018

Look and Feel Hooks the Visitor

Your website literally has only seconds to make a good impression on your site visitor. Whether they realize it or not, people surfing the Internet are quick to judge. They are ready to jump ship – so to speak – at a moment’s notice. That is precisely why you need to know if your web professional has design skills.

Web designers have the skills and knowledge it takes to create attractive layouts and color schemes that lead the site visitor through the material on the page in a predetermined manner. By using a variety of design techniques, design professionals draw attention to specified areas of the web page according to a hierarchy. So, if your website had a primary goal of signing up members for a newsletter and a secondary goal of contacting you with questions, the web designer would design the web page to draw the attention of the visitor to those areas of your site in that order.

As you can see, the designer’s skill set is directly related to keeping you visitor on the site and directing attention to the proper place. Accomplishing this in a subtle manner takes creativity, something that designers possess in abundance.

Functionality and Ease of Use

Keeping someone on your website is great, but if they have a hard time getting things done, they’ll get frustrated and leave. This is where the developer comes in – well, sort of. Because ease of use is subjective and programmers are usually more objective in nature, you may have a different view of what is “easy” to use. But the key is whether your web professional can make the website do whatever it is you’ve determined “easy” to be.

An example might be a sign up form. You decide that it is not very practical to have your site visitor fill out 30 fields only to have it display an error and require that the form be completed again if they enter an improper zip code. You determine that the solution is to have the website check each field as it is being filled out. “If an invalid value is typed in”, you say, “I want the visitor to be notified immediately”. Well, a developer can make this happen. Web developers are programmers and their job is to make the website do what you want it to do. These type of individuals usually are trained in following specific protocols and are not as free thinking as designers.

The bottom line is that you’ll want both skill sets. A web designer to help you direct the visitor to a specific goal and make them feel good about doing it, and a web developer to make your site serve the wants and needs of the visitor to make it easier for the visitor to use the site. Some individuals are familiar with both aspects of building a website. However, if you find out before the project begins, you’ll be in a better position to make your hiring decision.

Change Your Web Development Company Or Be Ready For Less Traffic to Your Site

August 4th, 2018

When we are designing a new website for our company, we are always thinking broadly and apply all what is new and what is good. But as soon as the time passes by, few of us start thinking that we have done enough on our site so why shall we change. That is true for your web development company as well. But actually that should not be the case in today’s changing world. Your website should change something in look and feel as well as content couple of times in a quarter.

Suggesting a change in site and suggesting new technology upgrades to the site is a job of the web development company you have hired. Because you must be busy at business while their business is your website development and upgrades. So they must suggest something that could give you an edge over the completion. Find out here what you should expect from web Development Company of yours.

Have you implemented Div based Design?

It’s proved that div based sites load faster and search engines crawl them easily compared to tables. If your site still runs tables, you might be missing few of your possible leads as it has less Search engine exposure. Ask your website developers, when will they do it for you?

Have you implemented AJAX on your site?

AJAX refers to Asynchronous JavaScript, a dynamic effect that can give a great look and feel to your site, that is also called web 2.0 standards. Such standard describes how you can keep your customer focused on landing pages; see lot of things on one page with loading effect and not taking user on different pages for various actions. Find out if your web company knows this?

Can you add your content and images on your own?

If you have a defined content management system for your site, you certainly have a good web developer with you. If your site doesn’t allow on the fly changes, you have not hired a good web designing company for you. Change them now.

Do you have Product reviews, Blogs, Forums on your site?

Normally Product reviews, blogs, forums kind of features increase user participation.  All modern sites love to have such features on website. But you might not be aware of such trends, while web companies are. So they should suggest that it’s time to change, let’s move on.