How to choose who should build your website?10-May-2011 I have touched on this in my other article "Why your cousin shouldn't build your website" but I thought I would arm you with the questions you need to ask and more importantly the appropriate answers.
First of all, here is a checklist of what every website should have as a minimum.
Cross browser compatible - Your website should work in all the popular browsers. They are:
- Internet Explorer 8
- Firefox 3
- Safari 3
On-page SEO - this involves researching relevant keywords to create themes of keywords for each page of the site by using unique title, keyword and description, alternative text tags for images, naming images and pages with relevant keywords.
On Page SEO includes:
- Unique Meta Keywords on each page
- Unique Meta Description on each page
- Unique and appropriate Title tags that are unique on each page
- Best use of Heading tags
- Unique and descriptive image names
- Unique and descriptive page names
- Logical and easy to use navigation and information display
- Site map
- Unique and descriptive link text
- Unique and descriptive alternative image text
- Well formed structured code according to web standards
Google Analytics - So you can measure and improve the site over time based on actual real statistics from your users.
301 redirects from the old website to the new one - by mapping the old page address to the new page the user can search then click on the link and be redirected to the new page and not causing a Page Not Found error. This also transfer's the existing Search Engine Rank from the old page over to the new page so you don't lose those hard earns page ranks.
So now you know the basics lets move onto what questions to ask your web builder.
How long has the website builder been building websites, and can you see their portfolio
You should be looking for someone who has at least 2-3 years experience and when you view their portfolio ask yourself if you like what you see. Is there a wide range of designs and types.
Will the website builder be coding the site themselves or outsourcing it
Quite a lot of designers will outsource the build of the site. That is not necessarily a bad thing but you should be aware of it, the risks are higher if they outsource overseas however designers don't tend to be good at the technical stuff and technical people tend not to be good with the design stuff so outsourcing is common. Make sure there is a fixed cost and a clear brief.
Have they considered in the design new sections to the site and future growth to the navigation
If you add three more sections to the site will the navigation accommodate it. If your pages have lots of text in them will the design work. Your site needs to be flexible so make sure you think about this.
Does the website builder know about web standards and do they adhere to them, not necessary but nice have
Ask them if they validate their site and if so ask them why. The answer should be for cleaner code, future proofing the website with newer browsers and easier for search engines to scan and index the website.
Does the website builder do SEO on each page and what do they do
The answer here should be researching keywords for your business, using unique keywords per page in the following parts of each page.
- Meta tags
- Title tags
- Image alt tags
- link title tags
- Image names
- Page names
- Using Heading tags
- XML Site map for the site
Can the website builder explain Website Statistics so you know how your site is performing
Ask them to provide you with statistics and explain what they mean, this is the only way you can improve your website performance, to analyse the past.
Does the website builder have past websites that have proven results.
Ask them if they have any case studies on websites that have improved in the Search Rank or had an increase in visitors or leads generated from the website.
This is most important as there is no use having a website if no one looks at it. The answer you are looking for is YES and to provide you with these website. It would be preferable if you could call this client and ask them about their experience with the website builder.
This will not guarantee you will get a great web person but at least you will narrow down the list.