Reviewing your website proposal

Important steps to consider when selecting the right web developer

You have received your website quotes back and you don’t know where to start? Here are some important steps to consider when selecting the right web developer.

1. Budget and timeline

Who was able to meet your budget and timelines? Are they clearly communicated in the proposal what they can deliver by when?

2. Who is loading content?

Does it clearly list who is loading content? This is often missed and the developer will only load content on some pages, its important to clarify this if you want the developer to load all your content

3. SEO guarantees

What has the developer guaranteed in terms of a SEO compliant site? Have they discussed SEO strategies in the proposal? Some will include a separate charge for SEO set up. Just check your proposal carefully.

4. Does it include all your page designs and specifications?

Does the proposal include all the pages, design and technical specifications as you listed in the brief? Discuss how they propose to build each major section to ensure you get what you want. Ask for examples of previous work so you can see how similar sites work.

5. What CMS system are they proposing?

There are open and close source CMS systems. Both have pros and cons

Open Source Solutions

Open Source Solutions can include WordPress, Joomla, Wix, etc.

PROS

  • Can easily change website developer if things don’t work out, as there are thousands of companies that specialize in open source websites
  • Plenty of plugins to enable good website usability. This usually reduces your website build cost as its not a bespoke solution for you.
  • CMS systems are easy to use
  • You can host your website with any host you would like. You are not restricted to be held with the web developer. It’s usually recommended that you always use a separate host to ensure you have flexibility to move or change developers in the future.

CONS

  • Open source solutions are more vulnerable to hacking, so you need to be careful with site security
  • Having to many plugins can slow your site and cause issues, as they can rely on one another to work
  • You need to ensure you’re always running the most up to date versions of the software and plugins is imperative from a operational and security point of view.

 

Closed source, custom CMS systems

PROS

  • Usually a lot safer! They are much less prone to hacking
  • Bespoke custom CMS system and it may have industry relevant features that you need
  • You can create any website you want, the developers can create bespoke solutions and designs just for your business

CONS

  • You are tied to that website developer. You can’t move your website to a different developer if things go sour or worse if they go bankrupt. Some will provide you a clause to state that you will have full access to their CMS System in any bankruptcy case, but who actually knows what will happen. There are no guarantees.
  • Usually you have to host with the website developer and it can cost a little more

The next step after reviewing the proposals is to organize face-to-face meetings with the developers to get a feel of who and what they are. You need to ask yourself, “Can I get along with them and can I see myself working with them?” It’s best to narrow the selection to two finalists and ask for a list of references you can speak with along with links to previous work they have completed.

At the end of the day, selecting the right website developer is a very important step for your business. You need to make sure you select the company that will create a website that will set your business apart from the competition.

FourSeeds Marketing can help you review your website proposals, provide advice on the next steps and if needed assist throughout the entire website building process. Contact us on 0404 037 479.

How to create a detailed website brief

How to create a detailed website brief

Do you need to build a new website? This blog will give you the essential steps to ensure you provide a detailed brief to website developers for quoting.

First step – The first step is completing a review of your existing site, examine its strengths weaknesses and gaps.

Second step – Review your competitors websites and work through what you need to add to your new site to remain competitive.

Third step – you need to work through where your business is heading so you can ensure your website is built to evolve as your business grows.

This is the exciting step, now you know what you need and want you need to write a detailed brief. You can always get help at this stage and FourSeeds Marketing can help you write a brief for you!

The following is all the information that should appear in a detailed brief to ensure you get the most accurate pricing from website developers.

1. Information about your business

Its good to give as much information as you can, as this helps paint a very clear picture for the developers and designers.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Overview of your target market who will be visiting the site. Information includes age, gender, profession, language requirements. Why are they visiting your site – make a purchase, research information or a make a booking?
  • Overview of your competitors
  • Your current sites limitations

2. Your website goals

List some goals that you would like to achieve within 6 to 12 months. This is an important step as it sets goals for both you and the developer to achieve.

Some goals could include – organic google search results, increase in the number of website enquiries or orders and number of clicks to a product page.

3. Website hierarchy

Create a site map. You need to include every page that will appear on your new site and what hierarchy you would prefer. This is important step as it forces you to think of every single page in your site. It gives the web developer a good indication of the size of your site and it also allows you to get quotes on copywriting. Copywriting is useful as they can review your website content and and write in a SEO friendly manner.

4. Page Descriptions

This is where you list down all the major sections in your website such as about us, products and contact and list the main features you would like included.

Some examples include –

  • Product search
  • Product compare matrix
  • Contact form
  • Live chat feature
  • Search box
  • Do you want moving banners
  • Gallery
  • Different forms
  • Subscriptions to mailing lists

Remember when your designing a site with shopping cart you need to include information about how you would like this to function. Things to consider are security, product photo gallery and zoom capability, one page checkout etc.

5. Design and technical information

You can include wire frames with your page descriptions and you need to clearly communicate how you envisage how the design will look and feel. You should include thing such as colours, fonts, pictures, reference other sites that you like. Is it a modern and simple website or an industrial website targeted to a B2B market place. Remember to consider your target market and their needs when creating a design brief.

Remember that mobile sites are very important today, so don’t forget to include your requirements for a mobile site what pages need to be seen.

6. CMS System

A Customer Management System (CMS) can be an open source solution (word press, joomla etc) or a closed custom CMS system. You need to think through all the features you would need to ensure you select the right developer and CMS for your needs. Things to consider are ability to add, remove and move pages, change content and add pictures.

7. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a very important tool today, you need to ensure you have the right tools to enable your site to be a SEO friendly site. List some keywords where you would like to obtain organic search results and discuss it with the developer on what skills they and the CMS system has to meet your goals.

8. Budget and timeline

Clearly indicate your timeline and budget.  Ensure they are realistic and achievable. An average website build can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

You should send your brief out to 3 to 5 website developers. Its best to get a mixture of developers so you can get a mixture of idea, capabilities and quotes.

If you need assistance building your website brief, contact FourSeeds Marketing today on 0404037479.