Before You Call a Web Developer, Ask Yourself One Question

Because we develop Web sites, not surprisingly, the first words we often hear from people are: “I need a Web site.” My response is often “why?” The answer to that question can be quite telling. I can almost guarantee that you won’t end up with a good Web site if you don’t even know why you need one in the first place.

People waste a tremendous amount of time and money on pointless Web sites. The reality is that a Web site should be treated like any other business or marketing expenditure. As with any other advertising medium, you should set goals for your Web site. For example, suppose you sell dog treats. You spend a bunch of money printing a brochure that explains why your dog treats are healthier or tastier than the ones at the grocery store. The goal for that brochure is to give people information on all the fabulous benefits of your special dog treats.

In much the same way, your Web site might explain why your dog treats are great. In fact, it might be nothing more than an “online brochure” with a lot of the same information as the paper one. That’s a reasonable goal for a new site. Since lots of people surfing around online have dogs, later on you may decide that you want to expand your horizons outside of your local area and use the Internet to sell your marvelous dog treats online. In that case, you might need to learn more about ecommerce, merchant accounts, and shopping carts.

As a general rule, people go online to find information, to be entertained, or to buy stuff. If your site lets people do one or more of these things, it has a reason to exist. However, unlike your paper brochure, a Web site has only about four seconds to get your message across (according to a recent report from Akamai and Jupiter Research). If you have no clue what information people are supposed to glean from your Web site, neither will your site visitors. Four seconds later, they’re gone and they probably won’t return.

Your site goals have a lot to do with your business. Many businesses put up Web sites largely for people who are outside of the community and looking for products or services. The most likely visitors to these sites would be tourists and people moving or new to the community, so the information on the site could include frequently asked question (FAQ) pages, pricing, driving directions, and contact information

When setting Web site goals, it makes sense to think about the visitors you are hoping to attract to the site. Who will be reading it? What do they need to know? Why would they visit your site in the first place? What terms would they type into a search engine to find your site? If you don’t have good answers for these questions, you should reconsider the question I asked at the beginning of this article: “Why do you need a Web site?”

Not every business needs a Web site. Many service businesses that rely exclusively on local customers and word of mouth may not. You know your business better than anyone, so before you pick up the phone to call a Web designer, think about what you want your Web site to do for you and why.

Economize Your Web Development Effort

If you’ve locked yourself away in a dark room, subsisting on coffee and pizza while you develop the website that’s going to allow your business or idea to revolutionize the world, then stop right now, open the curtains, take a break and read this.

First off, it’s likely that whatever your trying to design or create has already been done in one form or another – even if your application is completely unique, the vast majority of your website will still have attributes that are common to other websites. For example, it may still need to manage users, have an about us page and so on.

Before you write a single line of code, it’s far more valuable to research what can be done with the minimum amount of cost. When I say cost, I actually mean any combination of time, effort, or monetary cost – in other words, the actual cost to you as a person.

What you’ll find is that it’s far more efficient to:

  • start with a well-tested, reliable platform such as a prebuilt website (based on Drupal) to cater for 80% – 100% of what you need
  • research whether any additional functionality you require is already available and can be easily added (remember that prebuilt sites are modular and can easily be extended in this way)
  • lock yourself in a dark room and write the remaining code (or pay someone to do it for you)

Instead of slaving away re-inventing the wheel, you are able to focus specifically on anything that is truly unique, safe in the knowledge that the rest of your prebuilt website is going to do a bang-up job.

Ta-dah…

Five Mistakes You Make While Choosing a Web Developer

The web design process is extremely crucial to a website. A good, attractive and intelligent web design not only lays down the foundation for desirable viewer ship and much sought after critical acknowledgement, but also helps the website feature high on search engine results by complementing, enhancing and promoting the content it contains. Hence choosing a good web designer is an important task, one which needs to be carried out wisely and patiently. Following is the most common mistakes that you may commit while choosing the web designer for your website.

Going for price over quality

Does price of the service matter to you more or its quality? The answer to this simple question will decide whether you will commit the first mistake or not. If it’s quality, then you’re safe. However, if it’s the price that matters more than you’ve made a mistake. Most people choose a web designer who charges lesser money as opposed to the one who offers better quality design, which carries the promise of appreciation by viewers. It is important that you try to find a web designer that offers great service and design at a reasonable price instead of going for the one who offers mediocre service for a cheap price.

Not going through the designer’s previously designed web projects

Out of sheer laziness or maybe due to lack of time at the current moment, you might skip the task of looking at the websites that have been designed by the designer you are considering for your project. People often tend to ignore this step while choosing the designer and end up with someone whose designs fail to generate the desired results.

Therefore, it’s extremely important that you go through the work samples of the shortlisted designers, check various parameters such as loading speed, search engine optimization, clarity, etc. and then make your decision.

Not communicating your requirements and expectations to the designer

The biggest mistake that you can commit is that you do not communicate your requirements and expectations to the designer clearly well in advance. This mistake can cost you much more than you can possibly imagine as the designer’s work will depend greatly on the input that you’ve provided him/her. Clearer the instructions, better the results.

Choosing a designer with obsolete knowledge and techniques

Staying tuned with the present trends is extremely important in all spheres of life. People often commit the mistake of choosing an old web designer who isn’t in sync with the present web design trends, designs, techniques and technology used.This results in an obsolete web design that fails to impress the viewers and generate the desired revenue.

Not giving a deadline

There is a possibility that you will tell the designer to work at his/her own pace and not give him a reasonable deadline. However, this will result in your loss as you won’t be able to put up the website until the designer has done the job, and the website content is in place.