Does your website designer provide support?
Let’s start by asking what support is:
Make sure to ask your website designer what their idea of support is?
Does support mean fixing a bug should it arise? Or helping you improve your website on an ongoing basis?
People still have the perception that a website is something that can be purchased like a suit or a dress.
In this day and age, a website is more like a magazine, something you subscribe to, not something that can be bought.
If your website designer isn’t a strong believer in supporting and allowing your website to change, grow and evolve then you may want to consider making a change.
How does your website designer charge for support?
Do you go through the sales and quote process each time a change is required?
Is every change always a big job?
Or does your website designer suggest giving you a monthly budget to encompass your ongoing website needs and changes.
By working with a monthly budget there is a substantial increase in efficiency for all involved. In addition, in this manner you can set a marketing budget that is manageable for you.
In addition, your invoices will be expected, not shocking surprises.
What does it mean when people talk about number of hits?
A number of hits are how many people land at your website…that’s it…
But is that the most important statistic to consider?
The answer is no.
Who cares if someone lands on your website for 2 seconds and leaves without giving it a second thought?
Understanding what a visitor wants and keeping them involved is becoming a very important art.
Knowing what the visitor is looking for and understanding the behaviors of your traffic is critical for harvesting the potential of your website.
If your website designer doesn’t discuss these issues…upfront! You may want to ask some questions…
What is a bounce?
A bounce is when a visitor looks at only one page and bounces off your site without looking any further.
If they opt in for something that’s great! But if they just leave, what have you accomplished?
Most website designers always talk about number of hits. If your website designer isn’t talking about bounce rate you may want to think about what your traffic is actually accomplishing?
Does your website designer use analytics for tracking traffic and do they understand how to interpret the information?
Website analytic programs allow us to capture a great deal of information about the traffic that comes to your website.
Things like how long the users stay on each page?
What pages they look at?
Endless information including what language they speak, where they are located and even what kind of computer they are using.
If your website designer doesn’t use this information to optimize your website you may need to ask them why they don’t.
How does your website designer recommend you host your site?
Many large companies choose to host their website on their own local servers. This not only creates a great deal of security risks but generally has very poor performance.
If a large company wishes to have their own dedicated server they should take advantage of server farms and not try to use their own local facilities.
This not only solves many security risks and ensures good performance, but it also addresses the security involved should you run into a conflict with your website designer. With your own server, you have the keys to your website in a different pocket.
If having your own server is not an option for your company, make sure your website designer hosts your site from a server farm with the same vast infrastructure to draw on.
However, if they host your website at their own local facility chances are you are not benefiting from the speed and capabilities the internet has to offer and you may want to consider making a change.
Does your website designer provide translation services?
In today’s fast moving world of web, you can potentially be selling your products and services to people and businesses from all around the world.
Alternatively, your business may focus selling locally in your niche market.
In both cases there is always the potential for your customers to speak and read different languages.
It is therefore important for your website designer to have the ability to provide or anticipate the need for your website to have multiple languages.
Does your website designer have video capabilities?
Video is a very important part of any website. And I’m not referring to flash or animated videos only.
It’s important to put a human edge to your business and website.
Video is now becoming one of the most influential ways to create an attraction to your business over the competition.
If your website designer doesn’t discuss or have the ability to produce and create video content you may want to find someone to assist your website designer with this important tool.
Alternatively, you may want to find a website designer that produces video in house.
Does your website designer provide photography services?
Professional photography has the benefit of producing imagery with amazing impact.
If you have a small number of products you may want a professional photographer to handle all your images, maximizing the impact of your products.
With a small number of products, your website designer can easily incorporate those images onto your site.
However, if you have a large number of products, professional photography may not be an option.
Now days, digital cameras do not require a large skill set in order to produce acceptable images. As such, with a large number of products, you may choose to handle your own photography with your web site designer’s guidance.
In this case, with a large number of images to manipulate, you may want to inquire of your web designer if he can provide you with a system that would permit you to add the images to the website yourself.
With such a system, you would also be able to add and edit the text accompanying those images.
Such a system, referred to as a content management system, would allow you to bypass the constant need to involve your website designer, giving you a measure of control.
Adword campaigns. What are they and how does your website designer utilize them?
Google has dominated the search engine market for quite some time now. When a user is searching for something on the web they will generally use Google to do their research.
You will notice that when you type an inquiry into Google, there are a number of links, highlighted in yellow, both on the top of the screen and down the right-hand side. Those links are called adwords or a CPC (cost per click) advertisements.
This is how Google makes all their money.
Google adword campaigns are very important for attracting traffic to your website and done well can be a powerful tool for increasing your sales.
If your Website designer does not make mention of this powerful tool, you may want to ask how he will be working ad campaigns into your marketing plans.
Does your website designer provide e-mail campaigns?
Email campaigns are a great way to stay in touch with your subscribers and customers.
You absolutely want to have the ability to create a mailing list from your existing customers as well as potential customers that visit your web site.
This simple yet powerful tool can drastically make a huge difference between keeping your current customers and losing potential customers to your competition.
Creating a good email campaign with news about your products and services will keep your customers up to date and let your potential customers know that you are consistently improving your business to better serve them.
If your website designer hasn't talked to you about e-mail campaigns, you may want to start asking them some questions about it.
Does your website designer program capture pages?
A capture page is an incredible tool to help you gather information about potential customers wanting to buy from you or at least have an interest in what you have to offer.
Without a capture page you are missing out on a lot of potential sales and leads.
Ask your website designer about capture pages as they can significantly increase the number of leads your website generates and it is well known that the more leads you have the more sales you'll get.
Does your website designer understand effective flow?
Flow is a rarely discussed topic by many website designers but is a critical element of any successful marketing effort.
Magazine and brochure designers have always paid a great deal of attention to flow.
During development, all magazines are pasted up on walls with careful thought to eye path and flow that entices the viewer to continue flipping through the pages, getting the maximum enjoyment from the experience.
If your website developer does not understand flow concepts are your viewers getting the maximum enjoyment from your website?
Is your website designer a good salesman?
These days your website is one of your most important and probably least paid sales people in your organization today.
After a prospective client spends some time on your website, if we have done our job well your client will have a good feeling of what your company has to offer and will be ready to take the next step towards doing business with you.
This empowers the salespeople in your organization with the advantage of having bypassed unsuccessful cold calls, turning their efforts towards more successful warm calls.
If your website designer is a great sales person then his ability to guide you into generating a website that is also a great sales tool for your company is second nature.
Does your website designer include privacy policies?
Privacy policies are extremely important when you’re trying to collect perspective customer data.
If you wish to have a client opting in to one of your permission marketing campaigns or to have one of your salespeople contact them, it is imperative that you clearly define that the information will not be used for other purposes.
This is also extremely important if you’re using a Google ad words campaign to generate traffic. If Google does not find these privacy policies on your capture page, not only will Google charge you a higher rate, but will potentially band your advertisement altogether.
Does your website designer discuss the importance of the first 10 seconds?
Face it, if your prospective client lands on a page with a big paragraph of text there is little chance that they are going to read it.
The client is much more likely to just bounce off the page and look at the next site on his list.
When a visitor first lands on your site you need to entice him to stay and you need to do it fast so be prepared to give some hard thought to what the prospective client wants to see and hear in order to stick around.
If your website designer is not highly focused on these first 7 – 10 seconds then you may want to ask some questions.
Do you need a blog and does your website designer suggest having one?
Blogging is a powerful tool as it empowers users to collaborate with your website.
Blogging also has the advantage of having other people add to the content of your website, keeping it active and changing, a big advantage when Google ranking is important.
However, be aware that blogging does require a degree of commitment from you.
Continuously adding interesting, engaging and compelling posts requires thought, time and effort.
Replying to posted comments can be a powerful tool that adds to the sense of community and familiarity, but it does require discipline and commitment to maintain it.
Ask your website developer to explain the various aspects and options of adding a blog to your website.
Does your website designer discuss your call to action?
Many site owners pour time, money and energy into search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising to bring more visitors to their site.
Unfortunately, they welcome this targeted, qualified traffic to a web site that offers mediocre copywriting, confusing navigation and no clear directions for the prospect.
What most website owners don’t know is that every website should have a clear call to action, a response you want users to complete.
A call to action is not just limited to e-commerce sites.
Every website should have an objective it wants users to complete, whether it is filling in a contact form, signing up for a newsletter or to simply pick up the phone and reach out to you for more information.
If your website designer doesn’t discuss how to create a call to action to guide people or encourage people to either contact you or buy from your website then you may want to ask questions.
Does your website designer understand the importance of video marketing?
Did you know that Youtube is now the second largest search engine after Google.
And interestingly enough Google loves video and ranks videos high in the search results.
But even more important…people love video.
Creating video campaigns and promoting your business and services through video is the most effective way to attract highly targeted traffic to your website.
Creating good video marketing campaigns should be an important part of your website designer’s process and if they don’t even mention it or don’t discuss it with you, you may want to ask some questions.
What is a splash/capture page and should you have one?
A splash page is a webpage that makes an offer and provides information and content about your products or services you offer.
This “splash” page usually serves the purposes of guiding a visitor to want to get more information about your products or services.
A capture page is a webpage that allows a visitor to enter their contact details and send those details to you. With their permission, you capture their information for the purpose of contacting them personally or through an auto responder.
There are many cases where you can have a splash/capture page combination.
And if you are asking yourself if you should have a capture page, the answer is always YES!
A capture page permits you to stay in contact with your customers and prospects, which is key to repeat and new business.
What is an e-cart versus an information cart?
An e-cart is an electronic version of a shopping car and E-carts allow companies to take orders online and usually receive payment without any human contact.
This has the obvious advantage of cost savings through low overhead.
However; purchases done on line lack the human contact, depriving the salesman a chance to up sell the customer.
If a company is interested in having a salesman contact the customer specifically for this purpose then we use what is called an information cart or a wish list and allow the salesman to make a warm call and close the sale.
With a good website designer, you may be able to have the advantage of the cost savings of an e-cart with the added advantage of up selling with additional on-line suggestions to the user, directing them towards an additional product they may also like to purchase.
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