Just as you would not build a house without a set of drawings or a blueprint, you also should not embark on a website development effort without a plan. If you don't have clear objectives for your site and a well thought out plan, you will likely be disappointed in the results. Planning involves deciding in the purpose of the site and setting goals. You must set a budget for initial development efforts, hosting, and any ongoing maintenance or content updates. You must assign project roles.
Pricing for website development varies widely, depending on the location and skills of your developer and their team. You should choose a team that is experienced, has references, and importantly - someone you can communicate well with. We had one client tell us that "everyone hates their web developer after the project is complete". We pride ourselves on client relationships before, during and after a website launch or services engagement and certainly strive for an ongoing positive and professional relationship.
Goals for Your Website
- Why do you want a website and what is its purpose?
- What is your organization’s value proposition and how can the website help promote it?
- Who are your competitors and do they have an online presence? What about their site do you find appealing (or unappealing)?
- How quickly do you want to launch your site?
- Is this a redevelopment effort or a totally new site?
- Do you have budget for development and ongoing maintenance or site updates?
Site Technical Requirements
- If you have a current site, where is it hosted? Do you know the type of hosting account (shared server, virtual private server, dedicated server)?
- Do you have traffic history such as that provided by Google Analytics? Are there ever “spikes” or large fluctuations in traffic or is it generally consistent?
- For many of our clients we install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer, also known as TLS or transport Layer Security) certificate allowing for encrypted communication across the internet. This provides the "http:" connection. Does your site need this type of security?
- Are there any special accessibility requirements?
- We are experienced with a variety of programming platforms and are experts in the Joomla content management system. We will provide recommendations regarding the best tool or platform to help you meet your goals. Do you want your site to be developed using a particular platform?
Website Features and Functionality
- Will the site require a registered user sign on to view certain content or to make purchases?
- How many levels of users will there be?
- Do you have your site architecture in mind? We generally spend a good deal of time with this question as it is a very important step in the design process.
- Will you have videos on the site? We can provide advice on whether to store the videos on your host, through YouTube, or a service such as Vimeo.
- Will you be selling products on your site and if so, how do you want to accept payment? We are experienced in setting up PayPal Buy Now buttons, and in advising and implementing gateways such as Authorize.net.
- If you are selling products there are particulars including taxation and shipping which we will need to discuss to be able to implement your shopping cart.
- Besides potentially e-commerce implementation for selling products, there are numerous other ways to monetize a site which we may need to discuss including:
- Simple memberships
- Recurring subscription revenue
- Event registration and collection of reservation fees
- We are quite experienced at integrating third party solutions such as importing real estate MLS listings and tying into recurring subscription solutions such as Recurly. Will this be needed on your site?
- If you will be using your site for lead generation we will want to know what type of lead information you need to capture to help us with designing your calls to action. Also, do you store your leads in any type customer relationship management (CRM) system?
- For your textual content will you be providing this? If you have a current website you may want to reuse or re-purpose some of your existing content.
- Images and video are extremely important factors for a site’s success. Do you have your own images that you will provide or would you like for us to arrange for a photographer or provide stock photos? In any case you must have the right to post the content that we use on the site.
- Whether video, images, or text you should work to have the highest quality content possible.
Ongoing Site Maintenance
- Our sites are generally developed using content management systems such as Joomla or WordPress that are relatively easy to maintain as far as basic content updates. Will you want to make content updates or is that’ something you would like for us to do?
- We generally provide video training that you can refer to for basic instructions and most of our clients find it very sufficient for their needs. We also offer onsite training. Will you require onsite training?
- Our basic hosting package provides annual code updates (within major versions) and annual backups. We offer more comprehensive support plans for sites that are higher traffic sites or which receive frequent content updates. This is something we will want to discuss with you.
Mobile Friendly Design
All of our sites which we now develop are mobile friendly or “responsive”. This means that they display differently depending upon what type of device is viewing the website. Older sites >“shrink” for smaller screens and do not provide the site visitor a good experience. Responsive sites will “stack” when viewed with devices such as iPhones and Androids. This is essential in today’s environment and is even a factor in Google’s search engine results.
Professional Web Design
We strive to provide a high quality of work with exceptional service and competitive pricing. If you would like a no obligation, free consultation to see if our services would help your business or organization please feel free to contact us today at (205) 414-1902 or drop us a note.