My last month’s blog, ‘Four Characteristics of a Frankensite’, examined a pitfall of not using an expert, experienced web developer when having a web site built. As I shared a ‘Frankensite’ is a site that is assembled by copying and pasting coded sections from other existing web sites, and contains inherent defects: the other site pieces used are not optimized for your site, company or industry; multiple web pages have the same descriptions; your keywords are not put into page titles, page descriptions, or content.

The Internet search bar has been raised, and is being raised higher all the time. In the past a simple electronic brochure or static yellow page style web site was sufficient – but not anymore! Even old style site navigation and design affect web site performance, traffic levels, and a site visitors perception of a business. Like fashion trends, web site styling changes over time… due to technological advancements, innovations in electronic devices, and how people access the web (social and mobile). Now, first and foremost, a web site needs to be structured for searches – initially by the search and social engines, and ultimately by customers. A web site needs to be a customer-focused, interactive communication tool with the appropriate social networking tools integrated (blog, e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).

Last month I pointed out some things to be aware of and avoid when searching for web developer services. This month I thought I would shift gears and share some important site build and support aspects a business owner should look for when developer shopping:

  • What does the site ‘build’ package include?
  • Has the developer taken the time to understand what your business goals are and who your target customer is?
  • Can the developer articulate how they are going implement a web site that will achieve your business goals? Or do they talk over your head?
  • Who owns the site when completed? Some developers maintain the copyright on your web site materials… making a future site update involve a complete re-write and re-build.
  • Are you going to be locked into the developer in any way after the web site is completed or will the site be written in an open-source CMS (Content Management System) software/platform that is widely supported?
  • Will competitive industry Keyword research be performed?
  • Will tracking and activity reporting Analytics be installed?
  • Site upkeep/changes/support plan after launch – will you be locked into a long-term contract, or simply operate on a month-to-month basis support plan?
  • Is there a web site marketing plan and process after launch to promote the new site?
  • Any training after the launch?
  • Does the developer give you the passwords they create?

Shop before you buy! Some web site builders are great with writing code, but know little about graphics or design, then others are great designers but can’t write code or write it well – the old adage comes to mind here, a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. With referrals, research, and interviewing complete you can best make that ‘Apples to Apples’ comparison necessary to find the right, expert web services team that can build, deliver, and support a professional looking and fully-optimized web site… one that will help generate more traffic, leads, conversions, and therefore more business.