Web Design

8 questions to ask when getting a new website

8 questions to ask when getting a new website Lloyd

If you are thinking about getting a new website that will be the focal point of your online marketing, what should you look for when hiring a website designer, developer or agency? This will vary based on your specific needs, but here is a start to make sure you are armed and ready to uncover any potential issues.

  1. Are you (or agency) a designer, developer or both?

    • Here are some very broad and unwarranted generalisations but serve as a good starting point. A designer won’t understand the best way to “make things work”. A developer will give you something that looks like everything else out there. An agency will easily use all your budget. What is the best choice? It will come down to the specifics of your website needs, but consider an agency. They will have people with a variety of skill sets working on your site.
  2. How does your new website cater to mobile, desktop and everything in between?

    • You’ll want to listen out for things like Foundation, Bootstrap, Gumby, Unsemantic or Skeleton. These are very popular CSS frameworks that support rapid production, are used by many developers and are rock solid in performance. If these aren’t being used it should be something similar and documented. And what is CSS? It is the language used to present html, which includes elements like colour, layout and fonts.

    skeleton

  3. If a Content Management System (CMS) is being used, what is it?

      • If a CMS is being used, is it open source or proprietary? In short, open source means the website software is widely available, while proprietary means it is solely used by your prospective provider. If you go down the proprietary path you’ll most likely be tied to your designer / developer forever. Open source means you’ll have freedom to select who works on your site.

    WordPress

  4. What deliverables are provided with your new website?

    • Are you getting the basics included such as Google Analytics, an XML sitemap, a robot.txt file, alt text on all images, a keyword strategy on each page, competitor analysis, website goal tracking, and the list goes on. The things under the hood can be just as important as the outward appearance of your site. A good place to start is to ask for what is not included in the package.
  5. How easy is it to blog?

  6. How does social media and email marketing integrate?

    • Email is the most effective form of marketing for small businesses. Social media is the new word of mouth and a powerful testimonial tool for your business. You need to have a plan to make these three form your online engine. Bundle these together as part of the project.
  7. When can you start?

    • Get this question in early to make sure your deadline can be met. Do they have capacity now and how long will the project take to deliver.
  8. Do you support long term relationships?

    • If you are in a growth phase and in need of support after launch, it pays to check if you can be supported when needed. Some may want to hand work over to a third party once the website launch is complete.

This is not an exhaustive list, but should serve in creating a meaningful dialogue with an agency or individual. A desirable contact will be able to talk to all of these points and should make you feel comfortable and confident in going forward.

What else would you like to cover as part of your online mix?

Our pins of the week 21:09:13

Our pins of the week 21:09:13 Lloyd

Our favourite pins of the week for online marketing, and why we like them.

GREAT WEB DESIGN

At first glance we didn’t even notice the Latin placeholder text as our eyes went straight to the product. Never underestimate the value in making your products look their very best!

Amazing product presentation

FACEBOOK HASHTAGS

Are you using hashtags on Facebook? No idea what they are or how you should use them? This graphic shows what they are and how you can start using them.

Facebook hastags

5 website features to get you ahead of the rest

5 website features to get you ahead of the rest Lloyd

A bad website can cost you jobs. If it is unbearable to look at, hard to find detail, slow to load, doesn’t load… visitors leave. You need to have a well built site. And these days that isn’t enough, everyone is getting online. How do you get ahead of your competition?

RESPONSIVE DESIGN

What’s that? Basically, it means that the design adapts to different browser sizes. So instead of needing a separate mobile site the content will be resized and rearranged to fit smaller screens.
Google published the Baines & Ernst launch results from two websites (a desktop and a mobile version) to a single responsive website, here is the result –

“On mobile devices, pages per visit have since increased 11%, average visit duration has risen 30% and bounce rate has registered an 8% decrease, while mobile conversions have grown an impressive 51%.”

With the continual rise of mobile, phablet and tablets – this is a must. If you have a site that isn’t mobile friendly, it is time to change.

beautiful-websites-that-fit-perfectly-on-all-devices

VIDEO

Images are great. High quality images are better. Well produced video is numero uno. Consider these stats from Kissmetrics:

  • According to econsultancy, Zappos found that sales increased by between 6% and 30% on products with product videos.
  • Dropbox found that they increased their conversion rate by over 10% by adding video to their homepage.

Consider also that Rich snippets with video are on the rise. In the below example you know that on click through you will be served a video, it sets an expectation for your site visitors on what they can expect when they land.

Rich-snippets-give-users-a-clear-expectation-on-what-they-are-about-to-receive

LOCAL

With more and more businesses getting online the bigger the challenge is becoming to be found. How do you get found for search terms that match your business? Leverage local detail to get your website found by making mention of your suburb / city in your page copy, in headings and on your contact page. Sign up with Google Places with your suburb and city and register with other local directories online. Get your little red marker!

Get-your-little-red-marker-from-Google

SOCIAL PROOF

Social media is the new word of mouth. Social proof is the digital form of a recommendation. And it works to help persuade visitors to take the actions you want them to perform. People are more likely to share, like, tweet, +1 if something has already had one of those actions.
Social-Proof-works-wonders

NATURAL INCOMING LINKS

To be visible in search engines, it is necessary to know what they are looking for in order to rank one site over another for particular searches. Natural links to your site have an important role to play. Matt and Sandy from Google put in in perspective. A must watch.

Are there any successful elements to your site not listed here?

Our pins of the week 10:09:13

Our pins of the week 10:09:13 Lloyd

Our favourite pins of the week for online marketing, and why we like them.

GREAT WEB DESIGN

It isn’t that hard to make a website these days, there are many tools that help people get up and running quickly. But that means an experienced hand will not be putting all the numerous aspects of a website together. This design gets all the parts together, and does it beautifully.

Would you be happy with this design for your website?

clean web design

INFOGRAPHIC

Great infographics present data or knowledge that is clear, easy and quick to consume. Especially so in a memorable way that people will want to share with their social contacts.

Does the presentation of information here run you over?

superb info graphic

INFOGRAPHIC

This is a favourite. It shows all the markers and metrics that most businesses can follow to see if their activity is working.

Is your business tracking online performance?

superb info graphic

What are your favourite things from the web this week?