Is your website looking old and dated? Is it performing as well as it should? Is it generating business?
These are just some questions you should be asking yourself about your website. If you feel you need to update it and get it performing better, then you need a plan!
Think about what you want your site to achieve for the business, more leads, more conversions, greater retention.
If it looks old then have a look at other websites especially in the field of your business, see what your competitors are doing. If their site looks more modern and is responsive and yours isn’t then look to update and upgrade. New technologies and standards are being introduced all the time so there might be some features that you would like on your site that you haven’t thought of before.
Make a list of sites you like and features that would work for your business. Also add to the list things you don’t like, this will help when it comes to designing the site.
If you are going to develop the new website yourself the you will need to know how you are going to make it. Some service providers such as GoDaddy, 123-Reg, WIX offer web building tools that you use to build the site. These are ok for a basic web site but can be limiting. They provide help files as part of the tools. If you would like greater functionality and a website that is designed and built to your exact specifications, then it would be better to engage a web agency.
Making a plan
Before approaching a web agency create a brief of what it is you are wanting to achieve, include features that are needed, are you selling from the website if so then you will need an e-commerce site, is it just an information site? Do you want social media links? Do you want a blog? Your site will need to be hosted, can you get the URL you want? These are more questions to ask the agency.
Make a list of the pages you think you need, for example:
- Home page
- About Us
- Contact Us
This will help the developer to understand the size of your website and work out how long it will take to build.
How quickly do you need the website, if you’re building it yourself using one of the building tools provided by the service provider you could get something working relatively quickly, depending on the complexity of the site from a few days to a couple of weeks. A web agency will be writing code and have designers/artists creating your site, this takes longer but you will have the website you want.
Once you have as much information as possible about your website then contact two or three agencies and ask them to quote for the work. They will most probably come back with additional questions to help them with the quote.
Look at the agency’s own websites, they should be good, but one might stand out more for you another. If you know someone who can recommend an agency, then these would be good to include in your shortlist of agencies.
When asking for a quote keep in mind what your budget is, you can ask for quotes to be in that region and then the developer will know the approximate size of the project.
As part of the quote from the agency they should include a timeline for when the work can be done and when your website can go live.
When you have all the proposals back review them carefully as they might have added ideas and solutions you did not think of, the costings will be different and ongoing hosting costs will be different.
Another thing to consider is that you have the website built and hosted by the same agency, this means if there are issues or something breaks and the website goes off line then if can be fixed very quickly. If its built by one agency and hosted by another you have the time delays in communication between the two, which means your website could be off line for longer.
Choose and appoint your web agency.
Now you have chosen your web agency to build your website one of the first things they will do is identify all the elements and tasks required to build the site (this will ultimately change a bit as new features are requested or some might not be needed any more). They will then produce a project plan showing when each feature of the website will be built. There will be milestones when certain things have to be done by, e.g. with you supplying all the assets, or them getting the first designs to you for approval. Having this project plan is good for both parties to allow visibility on progress.
At each milestone you should have the progress demonstrated to you or you will be given a link to the demo website. This is good for you can see the progress as each stage. At these milestones you will be asked to sign off the work to date, this will usually tie in with the payment schedule.
Once all the milestones have been completed you will have a nice shiny new website to show the world.
Now all you need to do is tell the world where they can see your website. This can be with advertising, PPC (Pay per click), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, Social media marketing. Your web agency will be able to help with this too, so use them.
To summarise, plan as much as you can, get as much information as you can, gather examples of what you like and don’t like. This will make the development as clear as possible and have no ambiguities which also means the build will run a lot smoother.
That’s it for now, thanks for reading. If you’d like to know more about Webnetism CMS:42 and how you can easily manage your uploads through it please.