10 things to consider before building a website

You have decided that your business needs a website or web app, but now you are faced with terms like web development and web design. So what’s the difference between a web developer and a web designer?

Well a simple analogy is that a web developer is like an architect and a web designer is similar to a decorator. Whilst both designers and developers are builders to some degree, only a developer can build new rooms and additional levels. Unfortunately, when a new level is needed, designers can be known to put a caravan on your roof instead of properly engineering the new level to work as expected.

2013-05-12 04.50.54 pm

Putting function before form, it’s easy for us to give designers a bad wrap, but ideally, you want a web company that offers both professional web design and web development skills. Obviously you want your website or web app to look awesome, and this is what web designers do.

  • Web design – A designer makes your website user-friendly. Think content, colours, fonts and page layout. Many web design experts are graphic designers – they focus on the visual aspects of your website.
  • Web development – A developer is a software engineer who creates the background functionality. Think functionality such as, subscription boxes, shopping carts, login forms and databases.

Although many designers can do some programming, if you want customised changes to your website and additional features, both now and in the future as your business grows – you need a company experienced, not only in web design, but who is also an expert in web development.

Choosing a website development company can be overwhelming – so here are 10 things to consider before you pick up the phone:

    1. What do you need a website for? What is the goal of your website? How will a website help your business? Do you want to advertise a service, educate people with similar interests, sell products or automate processes?
    2. What will your website do? There are e-commerce sites, content sites and lead-generation sites and more complex web apps to perform business processes. Once you know what you need a website for – then you are one step closer to creating your ideal website.
    3. How do you plan to get a return on your investment (ROI)? What features do you need on your website to increase your conversion rate? How will you attract customers? How will you measure your ROI?
    4. What is your budget? You get what you pay for – so know your goals for the website and the features that you need. Then you can ask for a quote that is customised to your needs.
    5. What about content? How many pages do you need on your website? Think about what your customers need to know about your business. It is worth having your content written professionally.
    6. Who is your target market? Make sure that you design your website to appeal to the demographics of your customers – to the people who are most likely to buy your products.
    7. What is your time frame? When do you want the website up and running? Once you know the goals of your website (step 1) having firm timeframes can help you measure your ROI.
    8. What are you target keywords for search engines? Keywords are the words or phrases that people use to search for your business online – and they must be used correctly within your website.
    9. Which existing sites do you like the look of and like to use? Write down a list of these sites, along with a list of what you like about each one.
    10. Will you drive the site yourself, or pay for maintenance? You must consider whether you have the time and the knowledge to update and maintain your website yourself. If not, include these costs in your budget. If you will drive it yourself, which content management system (CMS) would you like to use? You need to consider ease-of-use, cost, functionality and security. There are many CMSs available – your developer can advise on which is best for your business.

Now that you know what you need, in our next article, we’ll look at 10 questions to ask your potential web development company.

If you want to know more about web development – contact the experts at Snapfrozen – digital experts of the future.