These days your website is often the most important asset for your business. Even if you are an “old time” business, often the first touch people will have with your business is your website. So it better look good.
There are millions of web developers, designers, etc. out there and how do you know you are picking a good one? One option is to do it yourself, using one of the several easy-to-use website creation tools on the market today. Or should you hire a developer?
To get a professional, feature-rich website, it may be worth investing in a web developer. There are hundreds of thousands of web developers out there, both firms and individuals. Here are some key tips when interviewing web development shops:
1. Make sure that they are using a Content Management System (CMS) and that it is an open source CMS. A CMS allows you to update the content on your website with no intervention by anyone technical. This is critical to managing updates to the site often and without any cost to you. If the firm is not building your site on a CMS, don’t use them. And if the CMS is not one of the big ones (such as WordPress, Tumblr, Drupal, or Joomla), beware.
Using a developer’s homegrown CMS will provide you with more lock-in with that vendor since it will be harder for others to build on the original developers CMS. Don’t fall for the line that their CMS is better than the ones being used by literally millions of users. Whether it’s WordPress or others, CMS systems can be a big help in making more frequent updates to your site. Content can be changed as simply as a copy/paste feature into a text frame, and voila, your site feels fresh again.
2. Don’t let them give you a quote that does not include “SEO,” which means search engine optimization and is the key to your site getting found on the internet. If a web development shop is not including that in its quote then they also may be overcharging you. No site is complete without SEO. A website is all about being found on the web and SEO is an inherent part of the building of any website. Also, beware of exorbitant SEO charges. Development firms often price gauge customers for SEO since they rely on your not understanding what it means.
3. If your site has a registration feature, make sure all of the currently popular methods of social login are included. This includes, being able to register via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.
Did you hire a website developer for your business? Or did you go it alone? Share your experiences in the comments section below.