5 things to consider when developing a website.
Websites. Common sense tells most people they are key to any business. Last week during Small Business Week we discussed some tips for small businesses to embrace. In that blog, we mentioned that only four out of ten small businesses have a website. We also discussed the importance of mobile and e-commerce. So, with all those statistics fresh in our minds, this week let's focus on 5 key things to consider when finally deciding it's time your business had a website, or if you are in the stages of re-development.
1. Responsive/Mobile. With the estimates that 159.8 million people have smartphones, you cannot ignore Responsive Web Development any longer. Customers or potential customers quickly grow frustrated today when a site is illegible on a smartphone. In today's technology age you need to plan for Mobile Development. By having your developer program your site with Responsive Development in mind, it takes the frustration away from your customers. A responsive website sends the correct version of the site to match the device it is being viewed on.
2. Maintained through a CMS. Content Management Systems (CMS) are key to keeping your new website up to date. By having your developer create a CMS you may incur a larger up-front cost, but will save money in the long run. You can adjust inventory or pricing on your own, without paying a developer for any and all changes in pricing, specials, news announcements, etc.
3. Where to host your new website. Starting off small can be a good option when first launching a website. It may take some time to ramp up traffic, so one of the popular web hosts that are on TV should suffice in the beginning. Once you have outgrown a low-cost web host, you may be able to transfer your website into a more robust VPS or dedicated environment semi-painlessly.
4. Search Engine Optimization/SEO. Content. Your website content is key. Make sure that potential customers can find easy to read information on your services. Be specific and to the point in your content. Tell your story, have testimonials, portfolios with case studies whenever possible. It is key to utilize your CMS to keep your content fresh and current. Gone are the days of dormant static websites. Also, it is important to make sure that your website developer uses "Best Practices" when programming your website with SEO in mind. Or you could go one step further and hire an SEO company to help you develop content prior to your website launch.
5. DIY or Hire a Professional. There are many options available when it comes to developing a website. There are plenty of Do It Yourself (DIY) options available. One thing to consider when undertaking the task is security. The past six months the news has been flooded with reports of hacking, or problems with sites of varying degree and in business in varying industries. It is important to offer your customers or potential clients piece of mind with secure sites. When choosing to utilize a DIY or "Boxed solution" it is imperative that you make sure you are using current versions of software and that any and all patches are in place. Consider if the money saved on a DIY site is worth it in the end if you have a security breach.
So, there you have a list of 5 things to consider has you move forward with website development. Take the time to consider all options and talk in depth to qualified developers. Remember, the time has come to have a website if your business does not, but its just as important to do it the right way, even if you start small and grow your website over time. Shortcuts to save money may end up costing you more in the long run. Do your research, ask questions and map out a starting point for a website as well as a wish list for what you envision down the road. Don't waste any more time without a website or with an inferior one.