Building a website can be an expensive process. Over the last year, we’ve built sites from 2 thousand to fifty thousand pounds, from simple one page ‘online business cards’ to fully responsive ecommerce behemoths, with so many bells and whistles it’s like encountering a travelling circus. In both cases, the dialogue between client and firm raises a number of questions. Here are some of our recommendations on what you should ask, prior to commissioning any kind of new website, and in turn what our answers might be.
Do you handle web development in-house?
One of the potential problems of the web is its lack of transparency: it’s difficult to know how big firms are, how many people they employ, or whether the minute they’re secured your contract they’ll be getting on Elance to look for someone to fulfill their end of the bargain for them. Great design happens – as with any team enterprise – when deployed by a team whose been working together for a while. In particular, we find that great designers are rarely great coders – those two almost always need to be separate roles. Here at Lewes SEO we let our designers do what they do best – be creative – while our coders do the same, only their skill is to be technically savvy and put into PHP what the designers have envisaged. That marriage between head and heart is, in our opinion, what makes great websites come to life.
Is the site going to be responsive/adaptive?
In our opinion, all sites now need to be responsive. It’s simply the way the web is going and, designing a site only functional on full size screens is going to inhibit the growth of any company. Going responsive has it’s issues of course – not least of which is cost – but the end result is worth working for.
What’s the process for keeping the site running after the new website has been delivered?
Websites are not infallible, even the best coded ones. Things break. Software updates. Browsers evolve. And the web itself is moving forward at a rate which simply defies belief. It’s worth asking with your firm what the process is for keeping things working and up to date after the sign off. Do they charge hourly? Do they have maintenance contracts? Here at Lewes SEO we always factor in a ‘soft launch’ and then a two week period of testing after we deliver a new site. That gives us time to cross browser check, and to let the site function in a real-time environment. After that we generally let the client take over, working on a simply hourly rate for ad hoc fixes and improvements. Once or twice a year, we’ll set up the site (if it’s WordPress) on a testing server and update plugins and the latest version of WP under controlled conditions.
(If you’re based in the South East and look for some quality SEO in Sussex, give us a shout.)