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Essential questions to ask your web developer

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Essential questions to ask your web developer

On June 5, 2018, Posted by , In General,Tips and Tricks, By ,, , With No Comments

Building a website and finding a web developer can be intimidating process. Here are some essential questions you should be asking you prospective web developer before starting a job

In what country will the website be hosted and will it be hosted in a professional data-centre?

Websites can be hosted anywhere, from a old computer stuffed a closet in India to a dedicated server in a local data centre.

With websites every second counts, ~40% of people abandon sites if they take any longer than 3 seconds to load and Google will actively penalise you in search rankings.

What CMS (platform) will you be using and how many years experience do you have working with it ie WordPress?

There are many different types of ‘platforms’ which run a website. The majority of sites run off ‘WordPress’, a graphical highly modifiable framework which is easy to use and has industry wide support.

Some platforms like ‘Wix’ are exclusively hosted by one company which you are at their mercy with for costing and availability. Developers specialises in different areas and what platform they use will heavily influence price, performance, look, third party support and customisation. Be sure to get multiple quotes and advice from different sources.

How much involvement will I have, and what are my responsibilities?

Every developer will have different strategies of how they operate. Many will take your money and deliver a complete site in several weeks time with minimal input, while others will design the site and prefer you to write your own content.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, most notably being cost, relevance of content and your personal time investment. If you already have a fair idea of what your after and are prepared to write your own content you can save substantial amounts of money.

Will the developer be using a template, or designing it from scratch?

Most websites you visit are based off templates, it reduces development time from weeks to hours which is good for cost, however not so great if your looking for complete originality.

This isn’t to say templates all look the same, you can certainly customise most with different colours, pictures and text however you might bump into a similar site one day. If you want custom work, be prepared to pay for it.

Is the site optimised for mobile devices?

Driven by the uptake of smart phones, “52.2 percent of all website traffic traffic worldwide {is} generated through mobile phones”¬†and this number is increasing every day. Quite simply if the site isn’t compatible with mobile devices you’ve just cut your websites audience in half.

Will the site have social media integration?

Social Media is the lifeblood of marketing in the 21st century. It allow’s you to put a face to your customers, build a loyal community and target your audience effectively. Regardless of if your a fan of Facebook or not, its a necessity.

Is the site backed up, and if so how often and how long are the backups stored?

Your website will become an investment worth thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work. Things sometimes go wrong  be it faulty servers, accidents while updating the site to hackers.

Your site should be backed up at-least once a week, preferably every day. Make sure you ask and confirm this as shockingly not all developers include this.

Is there are a SLA (Service Level Agreement), what is the guaranteed up-time and what is the compensation?

Like your phone, your website is a vital business tool and when its down it will start costing lost sales. Most developers and hosting providers will have a formal agreement in place called a SLA (Service Level Agreement) which guarantees performance, up-time and service with penalties if broken.

No provider can guarantee 100% uptime, most reputable providers will guarantee of ~99.5% which equates to 44 minutes of permissible downtime per month. Very rarely do providers fall below this threshold however if availability is critical you will need to consider enterprise grade hosting.

What SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is included?

Unfortunately websites don’t rank themselves on the first page of Google and its a daunting process to be ranked in the top. There are two ways to rank first in Google, spend thousands of dollars a month on Google Adwords or produce useful well optimised content for readers to consume.

Every site should at-least have basic SEO optimisation included, so Google knows what your site is about and can easily read your pages. To rank high, research will need to be performed on what keywords are effective for your industry, analysing of competitors techniques, designing marketing campaigns and production of new content like blog posts.

Realistically this process could cost hundreds of dollars a month excluding the cost of advertisements. Check with your web-developer on what is included to avoid disappointment.

Be realistic on your expectations. It takes years and tens of thousands of dollars to rank 1st. Anyone who can promise immediate results is lying!

Are Emails included?

Email addresses which match’s your business name adds instant credibility.
Ask your developer if an email address is included or is an option for an extra fee.

What is the end-to-end expected cost?

This is probably the most important question which will decide who gets the job.
Quality websites are expensive to to create and good developers charge accordingly.

Ensure the end price should include: Domain name registration, development costs, paid plugin, commercial paid pictures.

What are the ongoing cost, and how are modifications charged?

Almost all developers will charge a flat monthly fee on-top of the initial setup amount for ongoing support, hosting and SEO.

Occasionally you may want to update the design, edit the content or add a new page. Ask the developer how much their hourly rate is for modifications and if their is inbuilt functionality for you to modify pages yourself.

How long will it take to complete the website?

Starting a website is exciting, ask your developer how long the website is estimated to take. Realistically it will take at-least a couple of weeks to design, setup and build the site.

Will I own the website and domain name?

This is the question developers like to tippy toe around and more often than not leads in legal action. If you were to have a fallout with company managing the site will they allow you to transfer it?

Your domain name “www.example.com.au” should always be owned and be in the name of the business, no exceptions. You should also insist for full ‘developer’ access to the site and FTP credentials for your records, even if you don’t intend to use them.

Good luck on your new website.
If you need any help or advice please feel welcome to give us a call on 1300 733 240 or send us a message.

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