You’re excited. You’ve got this wonderful idea for a new website for your business. You can see it now. But you have no clue what goes into building it. You decide to try one of those build it yourself services that claim that they have everything you need to create it. 15 minutes into it you’re already bored and saying to yourself “I don’t have time for this. Time to find someone to do it for me.” Now how do you find the right guy for the job? A friend? A student? Or do you put up an ad on Craig’s List. Hopefully that last suggestion won’t be the path that you choose.
The problem with choosing a friend is that you might think that they’re going to give you a discount, simply because they’re a friend, or you’re a friend of one of their previous clients that they did work for. Some don’t understand that web design is a business, a job that helps to pay the bills. The issue with finding a student that will do it for cheap (depending on what you consider cheap), is that chances are they don’t have the abilities that a well polished development company have, or SHOULD have. If you want your business to be successful these days, you NEED to have a website.
Finding the right company is probably one of the toughest parts when getting ready for this project. You look at their portfolios, how nice their website is, how many years experience they have. You decide to contact one and ask them for a quote. They give you this outrageous price of $9,000 for a 5 page website. And on top of that they have a nice collection of templates to choose from. But none of the templates are even close to what you’re looking for, and certainly not worth that price. You move onward with your search.
What kinds of things should you even be looking for in a web development company? Well, here are a few things that might help:
1. A nice website with several examples of different layouts that show they don’t work from templates.
2. Testimonials from clients proving that they have gone above and beyond their clients’ expectations.
3. Someone that is willing to work with you one on one so that you know exactly what’s going on every step of the way.
4. They should have a test server that allows you to see your site as it’s being built so that you can suggest edits as they are happening.
These are a number of important things that you should be looking for when conducting your search. You want somebody that will sit down with you and walk you through how the construction of a site is done, without getting annoyed at you. Chances are, you’ve never dealt with building a website, and if the person working for you doesn’t have the patience or respect to work with you, then you shouldn’t be working with them in the first place.
The process of building a website is called the “SCOPE.” When you are given the proposal for your website, chances are (if they are a real web design company), they will include the scope of the project within it. Basically it sums up the steps involved, literally, as well as the time frame required for each step. And of course it will include the fees for everything that is done. Keep in mind the proposal may not give an exact price for their services, since often times a client will change their minds about how something should look. If a client goes beyond what is presented in the scope of the project, a developer should be paid for the extra work they have done, unless stated otherwise within the proposal/contract. Here is an example of a few steps given in a proposal; it varies by project needs:
Initial Meeting to Plan for website (Often you will talk about what your goals are, what your core value is, your competitors who is your target audience, what color palettes do you like, navigation items, contact forms, etc.)
Drafted layout (wireframe) of website layout
Website mockup in Photoshop (Once you approve of this, the developer will start coding it out)
Website construction (Front and Back End Development)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) This is what makes your company show up on Google, and other search engines. Being in the top position of any search engine is hard work, and requires constant optimization. Also, don’t expect your website to show up on launch day. It takes weeks and even months for a search engine to crawl your site for it to show up in a spot where people can find you. Patience is a must!
In conclusion, there are multiple steps involved with getting your first website built, and each step can take up to 3 weeks or more, depending on both how well your developer works, as well as how well you keep in contact with your developer. It is recommended that you stay within the timeline stated in the proposal to avoid your deadline not being met, as well as responding in a timely manner. After all, you want more business as soon as possible!