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Questions you MUST ask of your Website Developer

SteerPoint Design has developed key questions you MUST ask of your website developer prior to the website building process.  The web development process is extensive and very detailed oriented – both the designer and the client must be on the same page.

  1. On what platform will the website be constructed?
    • Some systems are more time intensive than others to change and update.  Unless your business is incredibly unique, don’t allow it to be built in a proprietary system.  It’s 2013 – and, you don’t need to be paying someone a monthly subscription fee!  Sure, certain industries  have prepackaged websites that are geared to the specific category needs of that business sector.  For most businesses, WordPress is the best solution.  It is as easy as using any popular word-processing program and has thousands of world-wide developers continually improving plug-ins, publishing updates and creating new code.
  2. Once the website is finished, will I own it? Own the content?…The Art?  The Code?
    • Every month at SteerPoint, we have situations where we hear “I don’t have access to that”….or, “the developer never gave us that”.  Your development and design fees should include ownership of all work elements – once final invoicing is paid in full.  We are always surprised at how often something gets “held hostage” by an initial designer or developer.  We always try to make decisions that are in the best long term interests of our clients.
  3. Where does SteerPoint  suggest we host our website?
    • We would not suggest having your developer host your website.  All the major hosting packagers – Blue Mile, Host Gator, Rack-Space, etc. – are aggressively priced and have redundancies in place.
  4. Who has control of the website after it launches?
    • As the owner and admin of the website, you, the client, should have ALL usernames and passwords.  This should include access to (1) the website back-end (2) ftp access and (3) hosting package.  Also, don’t forget to have Google Analytics installed.  You should have usernames and passwords to Google Analytics set-up prior to launch.
  5. What steps will you take to make sure the website can get found by major search engines?
    • Is it properly OPTIMIZED for Search Engines at time of launch?Most designers just don’t think of it – it still seems to be an afterthought with some coders! “Build It and They will Come” simply does not work. We tell all of our SteerPoint clients, design is the way it looks; coding is the way it works.  Optimization is about content, architecture html, links, social media and reputation.
  6. If I want to expand the site or add e-commerce capabilities, will I have to start over with a new site – or, can I grow this current website?
    • Third party providers like “Big Commerce” offer integrated solutions that can seamlessly integrate a nearly unlimited number of products into turn-key storefront.  We have clients who use simple plug-ins to send feature items to Facebook posts – linking sales back to the e-commerce portion of the website.  Adding e-commerce at time of launch or, months later is not a developmental problem.
  7. What plug-ins or adaptations can be installed to the website to accommodate existing and FUTURE social media?
    • Who knew how big Facebook would be 3-4 years ago? Or, that Pinterest would grow at over 150% monthly during some months in 2012?  We have already seen how robust Google + social content can positively influence organic search rankings. Whatever the next big thing – your website will be built on a flexible foundation to help maximize the impact social media will continue to have upon influencing organic search rankings.