A website is your 24*7 online sales rep. While most businesses today have some kind of an online presence, very few are able to leverage it to grow their business. For your website to function as an effective sales tool, you need to invest in building a high-quality website. A quick one-page website on a do-it-yourself platform may be inexpensive, and may give you an online presence, but will do little to help you get more customers. There are several things that you should discuss with any web development company you are evaluating to get the best possible returns on your website development efforts. Following is a list of the eight most important things that you should consider before signing off on a project.
- Choose the right platform
Selecting the right platform that gives you all the features and functionalities to meet your requirements is extremely important. The platform should also be suited to handle your future growth requirements as well. For example, handling a higher volume of traffic, adding functionalities for e-commerce or online bookings etc. which you may require down the line. Platforms also vary significantly in terms of the ability to customize the look as well as functionality. It is important to understand the various options available to you and the pros and cons of each before making a decision.
- Use the least number of plug-ins
Inexperienced developers use plug-ins extensively for every minute functionality required on the website, for example adding a Google Analytics code or Facebook Pixel. Excessive use of plugins causes your site to slow down, increases the maintenance requirement since the plugins need to be periodically updated and makes the website prone to hacks. An experienced and quality focussed developer would use the minimal number of plugins when developing our website. Also, they would only use plug-ins that have a large number of users and hence have a proven track record of being safe and effective.
- Responsive website design
While 99% of the developers you work with will claim that the website they develop is responsive, few have the bandwidth and resources to actually do a quality job. Making a website design responsive is a time-consuming process since it requires testing the webpage on multiple browsers, devices and screen sizes. Just to give you an example, a web page will format differently on an iPhone 6 vs an iPhone 5S. A skilled developer would test every website on multiple devices and screen sizes to ensure that it is actually responsive and formats properly.
- Optimize the website speed
One of the biggest factors overlooked by most developers and customers while developing a new website is loading speed. A slow-loading website will not only cause you to lose customers due to poor user experience but also cause your website to rank lower since speed is also an important ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. Optimizing a website for speed is a time-consuming process and requires multiple iterations of problem-solving and testing. For more details on why website speed is important, check out our blog post.
- Set your website up for SEO
Think of Search Engine Optimization even before you start building your website. Several factors including the platform your website is built on, selection of plug-in, quality of backend code etc. that determine the ability of your website to rank in Google search. This saves you valuable time and money later on when you want to work on SEO since you will not have to change too much with the website. In rare cases you may be required to trash your existing website and build a completely new one. As a word of caution, building a website optimized for search does not guarantee that you will appear on the first page of Google search results. There are several other factors that determine your search rank. But having an unoptimized site means that your chances of ranking would be fairly low.
- No Themes
More often than not, developers will use ready themes to build your website. A theme is like a template where you can select from a set of built-in layouts and update the content, fonts and colors. The same theme may be used by hundreds, if not thousands of websites across the globe, thus making your website not unique. If your website is built on a theme, you should not be surprised if you come across a website that looks exactly like yours.
Obviously themes are not easily customizable. It is not uncommon to run into a situation where you want to change things on the website but will be told by your developer that they are unable to do so. The other major disadvantage with themes is that they have a lot of extra code which makes the site slow to load and not SEO friendly. Themes also make your website harder to maintain and quickly become obsolete. It is highly advisable to build a custom website, to save significant time and money later on.
- Easily Transferable
Ownership rights are probably one of the most important things you should clarify with your developer before you start on the development project. There are several instances when a company wants to move away from their existing web provider but realizes that all the content, images and in some cases even the domain name of their website is not owned by them. This is obviously not a desirable situation to be in. The website is your digital asset and you should ensure that you have complete rights and access to it.
- Unlimited revisions
Most developers will offer you a fixed number of iterations to make changes to the website design. Anything beyond this will be billed additionally. It is important to have clarity on these terms to avoid paying a huge amount of money for things that could have been easily avoided.
We are one of the leading web design and development companies in South Jersey. Get in touch today to understand more about how we can help you develop a quality website inexpensively to meet your growth and business needs.