10 essential questions to ask your web developer

I am always saddened to find small and medium businesses that have spent a lot of money on purchasing websites that don’t deliver customers. Although some have tried to get something for nothing with low-budget options, most have spent a large amount of money to get a site that does nothing to promote their business. If you are contemplating building your website or improving an existing one, here are ten questions you should ask your web-developer.

1. Who will write the content of my website?

The most important thing about building your website is what it says to people—the marketing messages. The words on your website tell people what you do, where you are, why should they buy from you and most importantly what to do next. If you already have a business and marketing plan writing your website will be quite straightforward (although you must write concisely and clearly). If you have no marketing material to start with you will need an experienced copywriter who can tell an attractive story about your business.

2. Who will design my website?

As much as I respect web-developers for their programming and technical skills I haven’t met one who can make a website look appealing and attractive. If you want an attractive and professional looking website you can choose an existing template to modify or instead you will need to engage a graphic designer experienced in web-design.

3. What images will be used on my website?

You need good pictures on your website. One of the hidden costs of a website, that often gets forgotten, is purchasing stock images or engaging a photographer. You might be a business that has a library of images, which is fantastic—it will save you hundreds of dollars.

4. Will my website be responsive on mobile devices?

Nowadays, because more and more people browse the web on their smart phones and tablets if your site is not mobile friendly, people will not read it. Google will favour mobile-friendly websites in its search results, which means it will punish non-mobile-friendly sites.

5. Is my website SEO friendly?

There are many things that make a website search engine optimisation (SEO) friendly. These include good content, rich in keywords, web-optimised images (with alt text that helps Google to identify them), fast download speeds and meta-descriptions.

6. Can I make changes on my website?

The most important thing for a business is to be able to change their own content easily and without having to understand web programming. If your website will not allow you to change the content yourself you will get frustrated and will probably waste a lot of money in changes. Believe it or not there are still websites being sold that need the developers to change the content!

7. What content management system will you use?

Nowadays there are lots of free programs available that allow small to medium businesses to build flexible and user-friendly websites. Known as content management systems these websites allow users to add content and images into a “back-end” which will be displayed on a screen in a set way (the “front-end”). WordPress is now one of the most common but there are others such as Joomla.

8. Will my website be user-friendly?

A user friendly website is easy to read, easy to find your way around and quick to download. Being easy to read means that the font is simple and large enough to read; that there is good contrast between the background and the text colour; and there are clear headings and visual cues on how to find your way around. It is important to choose colours that are not going to cause problems for colour-blind people. Navigation menus must be easy to follow and obvious. Slow download times just frustrate people and they give up.

9. Will my website build my brand and reputation?

Branding is important in building your website. Logos, fonts, colour schemes as well as clear messaging help people to recognise and identify your business. Having a site that is not branded the same way as the rest of your business risks readers not recognising you and going elsewhere.

10. Will my website have calls to action?

Once you have got people to visit your website what do you want them to do? A good website will be designed to channel people to where you want them to go. It might be to a special offer, to a newsletter signup form or just to the contact page so they can ask for more information.

If you need help building your website contact us.