Having been in the web design industry for over 10 years now, one thing is for certain, the relationship between investment and your online presence. Regardless of who you hire to build your website, you must see this as a long-term investment rather than just another expense that’s not going to lead to something successful.
Your website is an extension of your business and just like your products or services, it needs to generate income and prove to be a good return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, I still see people thinking of their website as just another expense which ultimately leads them to nowhere. However, this partially may be the fault of the web designers they’ve worked with in the past. It’s disturbing to me how someone could build a website for an individual, business or non-profit organization without lead generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or design factors built into a Project Proposal?
It’s an investment into your success
You MUST think of your website as an investment – something that’s going to help your business grow and lay the groundwork for your long-term success. It’s too easy to build someone a website, hand it over and say: “thank you, it’s all yours!” Forget thinking about how people will find the website online, any associated marketing or the purpose of the website for both the business and its customers. Sadly, I see this everyday.
By treating your website as an investment, as opposed to just another transaction, you are almost guaranteed success. And when I refer to ‘an investment’, I mean having a plan. Yes, you’ll need to lay down some money upfront (have a reasonable budget) with a good web design company who cares about you, your goals and your industry. You should receive a thorough Project Proposal complete with goals, business needs, target audience needs, solutions and timelines.
Seek out a long-term partnership
I would suggest seeking out a web designer or agency who is devoted to your website’s long-term success factoring in lead generation and conversions. This isn’t difficult to achieve, especially if your website is built on WordPress. Things to consider are great hosting, professional email addresses, ongoing website support & management, branding and a clean user-friendly design. And last but not least, responsive website design, meaning that it works beautifully whether your audience is viewing on their desktop, tablet, or especially a mobile device (Google will penalize you if not).
Here are some questions to think about:
- Has the web company or agency engaged with me? Have we had an initial meeting in person or on Skype? Do they know my vision, goals, or my company’s ‘why?’
- Has a Project Proposal been submitted to me, covering the essential aspects of the website such as: functionality, my target market, industry scope, pricing, deadlines, SEO implementation, design, lead generation and legal jargon?
- Throughout the course of the building process has a designer mocked-up a sitemap and prototype showing how their solutions are going to work in a live environment? Is my website not only functional but user-friendly enough for the average person?
- Finally, what processes have been put into place to ensure you have ongoing support for management, updates, back-ups and security of my website? Like any purchase, you’ll want peace of mind knowing that if you’re investing serious money here, that it will be maintained over the course of its lifetime.
Anyone who’s serious about their business doesn’t overlook its online presence and all of the above play a key role in its success. Be prepared to invest more upfront (doing this from the start always results in long-term success and less money spent down the line to clean up the mess). As the saying goes, If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. Also know the company you hired, how they work, their vision and what you can expect from them going forward.
I hope this helps out, and if you decide take this advice you can be assured that you’ll have a profitable online presence that lasts.