Regardless of whether you sell to businesses or consumers, you need a website. In today’s environment, a website is tablestakes to being in business, and now more than ever, it’s the gateway to your credibility and your reputation.
You spend money on a lot of things—capital assets like computer equipment, communication tools like telephones and smart phones, employees, office space, continuing education, networking, etc., so why does it seem so difficult to get people to invest in their online presence?
Back just 5 years ago, a decent web site would cost thousands of dollars and much of that has to do with the technology that was available and the person hours it took to build the site. Today, technology, skills and training in this area has advanced so much that you can build and maintain an incredibly functional web site for $2000 to $5,000 without having to hire the kid next door to help you out.
Investing in your website is simply smart business. Sadly, most business owners don’t know what questions to ask when they’re shopping around for a web designer. Here’s a list of 5 questions to help you find the best investment:
1. Will I be able to update or add information to the site myself? Will I need to contact you for everything? If the answer is yes, please don’t hire them. A static website is a terrible investment for any business. Businesses grow and transition and so should your website.
2. Which CMS tool (Content Management System) do you use? There are 3 popular CMS tools for web site design—Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal. Of the three, WordPress is the most popular, it’s the simplest, and it also has the strongest design community and forums around it. If your designer talks you into one of the others, please ask them for a demo showing you how you will log in and add or change information on the site…and see if you understand it, can follow it and like it. I recommend WordPress. It’s the easiest to use and is incredibly functional. If you’re computer skills are sketchy, don’t even consider the others.
3. Do you add in social media sharing buttons? These shouldn’t be an afterthought for any designer. You should be participating in social media, however, if you’re still not actively participating in multiple social networks, even, have the buttons installed and just turn on one and make a commitment to doing something with it once a day.
4. Will you install some kind of analytics? Again, this shouldn’t be an afterthought for any designer and should be a part of every site. If you can’t see the analytics data, you can’t figure out what you need to do to grow.
5. Can we install a method of capturing leads? This is a way for people that are interested in what you have to offer to raise their hand and say “Please market to me.” Make it easy for prospects to be reminded of you and your expertise.
People do judge you based on your website. Even after you’ve met face to face, they’ll still go online to check you out. And if your website looks dated and hasn’t been updated in months, they’ll probably think twice about hiring you.
Stay tuned for the next list of questions to be sure to ask and consider as you make your investment.