Need to have a website created or updated for your business? This post is for you. Breathe easy, the process can be pretty simple and painless. This post is to let you know what to expect.
Finding the Right Web Team to Help
You wear many hats for your business, but website creator does not need to be one of them. In most cases, you will save time, money and headaches by hiring a pro to do this work for you.
That does not mean that the process won’t need your time and attention. You get the best results when you give your web time the inputs they need.
Here are the things you should ask before selecting a web development team:
- What host and content management system will be used? Will the account be in the web developer’s name or your name? (You want the latter.)
- Will you or a non-technical person be able to update the content on the new site? Even if you don’t want to update the site, you don’t want to have to pay a developer for simple content changes.
- What will you need to provide? Often, you will need to set up one or more accounts for the developer to use plus content and/or images.
- How much time will be needed from you as the site is developed?
- What is the process and timeline for the work?
- Cost, for the initial setup and any ongoing maintenance should be considered.
Be Prepared for These Things
There’s a whole world of vocabulary in the web development world. Even someone who tries to avoid jargon will likely mention things that you do not understand. Ask questions! You do want to know what you are investing in to avoid making a costly mistake.
Some things that every website project will involve:
Domain – Your website address or URL is the domain. You will need to purchase a domain for the development team to use. Be sure you purchase and own your domain! Your domain is an important business asset.
Website Host – This is the server that your website will be placed on and made available to web searchers. I generally favor reputable hosting providers over services that are not hosting-focused. There are a lot of security risks involved with having a server connected to the internet and you need someone who’s on top of all that. Ideally, you want to create the hosting account that your website development team will use.
Content Management System/CMS – A CMS should be used to create your site. This will make it easier to update and keep pace as technologies change. Common CMS options are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. There are others that are bundled with the hosting service like SquareSpace and Wix.
In addition to these elements, you need to be prepared to share your business goals and priorities with the website team. The better they understand your business, the more reflective of your business your site will be. Give them details.
Also provide the team with content, either specifically written for the website or done for other reasons. The same goes for images. Images that are specific to your business are almost always better than stock images.
Most websites are created in an iterative way. Don’t be afraid to point out what you like and what you want to see changed. Be willing to listen to your team as they recommend best practices. Work together to find the solutions that represent your business, speak to the needs of your customers and prospects, and represent best practices.