“Websites promote you 24/7; no employee will do that,” marketing consultant Paul Cookson once wrote.
It’s difficult to fully understand the importance of a great website, because its function as a part of your business is multi-faceted. It’s not only your store front; it’s an advertisement for your company. It’s a place to establish your brand. To address criticisms, or highlight praise.
While figuring out just what your website is doing for your business can often be an in-depth and complicated question, understanding what your website needs to have in order to be successful is relatively easy. Here are 5 questions all businesses should be asking their web designer.
What Services are Included With My Web Design?
Many business owners assume that requesting “a website” is a fairly clear directive. You have a business; it needs a functional site. The reality is that website design today could involve any number of features and services, and not all of them are standard.
Some might be an absolute requirement for your company, while others will be fluff you’ll never really use. Knowing the standard for your industry is important, but as a baseline, know whether you expect things like social media services, logo design, IT assistance, website hosting, maintenance, point-of-sale-security, mobile-friendly design, etc., and whether they are included in your deal.
How Easy Will it Be for Me to Update My Site?
There’s a reason that approximately 75 million websites around the world use the Wordpress design platform -- it’s easy to use. Many business owners aren’t in the business of being coding experts, but would like the ability to quickly release information about sales or new products without having to wait two days for a response from their site manager. Make sure that you’ll be able to update your website as needed, without too much delay.
Will the Site Conform to SEO Best Practices?
Search Engine Optimization is a vital practice for getting your website on page 1 for relevant keywords. While SEO is a constant practice you should either handle in house or hire a marketing firm for, there are many technical SEO best practices for websites that go hand-in-hand with content creation and link building. Having alt text for images, supplementing Java and Flash plug-ins with on-page text, and creating crawlable link structures are all examples of SEO friendly design.
Are You Familiar With the Psychology of Good Web Design?
Some of what we know about great web design is intuitive at this point -- a mobile page with buttons that are too small to click on isn’t going to fare well; readers aren’t going to enjoy lime green text on a black background.
Some aspects of web design, though, are well researched yet less widely known. For example, studies tracking users’ eyes as they move across a page show that people not only naturally move from left to right (affecting where you should place important prompts) but they also skim quite frequently. Creating focal points as “anchors” for their eyes can help get your point across better. Colors, shapes, and even typography can have a surprising effect on user behavior.
What’s the Cost?
While this might seem like an obvious question - and it is - people often make assumptions about pricing that aren’t actually standard and can lead to sticker shock when the invoice is handed over. You’ll want to know, for example, if the company charges by the hour, by the web page, or if there is simply one price for the entire project.
It’s also important to know about what sort of after sales care is included in the cost. Are additional tweaks and instructions in the month after completion okay, or will you be getting billed by the hour? If they host your website, what’s the ongoing cost for that? Get information now so that you won’t be financially floundering later.
Whether it’s understanding how to optimize your website for search or creating a mobile friendly layout, it’s important to work with a web designer that will help propel your company forward.