Do you need a website?
Do you need a website……………?
This was the position I found myself in a while ago … and whilst I landed well on my feet …. there are a great many more points that could of been considered when looking to employ a developer for my website.
I did have quite a good mental image of what my own site should look like, although was completely out of my depth in knowing how I should present this to a developer.
So the following points are written in the hope that they can help others find that elusive ‘Gem’ in the fast growing world of website designers & developers and secure a great deal and working partnership for the creation of YOUR website…
Be sure about who you intend to work with before handing over your hard earned cash as unfortunately not all of them will have the work ethics necessary when it comes to dealing with your future livelihood ……
Pick up personal recommendations from local businesses, friends & family who have had ‘physical’ experience of a particular companies work.
- Were they happy with the outcome?
- Did the company communicate with them throughout the whole project?
- Were they approachable and open to additional ideas and suggestions?
- Was the time scale satisfactory
Your local IT Business link advisor (or similar) should have details of reputable companies with a proven track record in a specific locations. www.businesslink.gov.uk
Find other designers by visiting business forums and following other member recommendations.
- Check your library and telephone directory for more names.
- If possible make an appointment to chat face to face with a developer.
- If they have a website? Always be a little suspicious of website designers that do not have their own site… as indeed this is their ‘shop front’!!
- If they claim to be a company – check out the business name at Companies House to see if their company name is really registered.
- Check out the developer’s/design companies portfolio.
- Look at the design of the websites in the portfolio – do you like what you see?
- Contact the clients and ask them about their personal experiences of working with the developer.
Having found a developer that you feel comfortable working with, consider the next points…..
NDA – Non Disclosure Agreement
This form will make sure that all the ideas you have, and will be talking to the company about will remain protected and confidential.
Any good company will have no problems signing one of these agreements – so do not be afraid to ask.
- Do you have a set of specifications that can help a company quote effectively for the entire cost of your project?
- Fill in the ITT (Invitation to Tender) and submit your details to your chosen developers giving as much information as you can
- (don’t forget to get the NDA forms signed first if you need to).
It is always better to request quotes from a couple of companies before committing yourself to one.
Compare the quotes they return and don’t be afraid to ask why particular amounts were charged for certain jobs…. This way a true appreciation of what is involved in getting a website up and running can be understood.
Work out before hand what the maximum amount is that you have available to spend on a designer/developer.
All these details should be included or updated as part of your Business plan.
Introduce yourself to the prospective developer with a short explanatory cover letter outlining the fact that you have enclosed an ITT and that you would be grateful for a return quote for your proposal. You could also add where you found the developer’s contact details – through a friend or recommendation etc.
ITT – invitation to tender.
Introduction - About Me and My Company
Tell the developer a little bit about yourself and your company……
- When you formed, how you trade and what your business is all about, how many people you employ?
- What & how many products/services you sell?
- About any existing website you may have:- it’s good/bad points. The traffic numbers it receives, why you feel it needs updating, when it was built and who built it – if you own the copyright to it and how often visitors go on to make a purchase, who you host the site with.
- What your experience of websites is - Building, creating & running.
- If you intend to sell abroad/or do already? If you want to target particular countries? Which ones? And are there any design features you would like to add to the website that you feel may make this easier?
- What do you consider ‘Unique’ about your company – what ‘selling points’ do you think could be included in your website to encourage potential customers?
- What industry or business sector are you aiming at?
- Who are your target audience - Children, Adults, a particular profession?
The Image ...
Do you already have a mental image/idea of what your new website might look like?
- Can you describe in brief what this is – colours, layout.
- To help get a feel for the site do you have any brochures, pamphlets or other advertising documents from the past or recently designed media that the developer could see?
- Do you have an idea of how the site should be navigated – what links you want or areas of the website – is it possible for you to draw a site map to help the developer visualise what you have in your mind?
List some Competitors websites.
- What do you like or dislike about their sites.
- How would you do it differently to them.
- What effect does their strategy have on your own ideas?
These do not have to have anything to do with your business – just ones that you like viewing…because of the colour, design, layout, shape of buttons etc.
Launch of the Website
- Do you have a time frame or date that the site is to be launched by?
- Have you any Publicity planned to coincide with the Launch of the site?
What content do you already have?
What content would you need created for the website?
- Company Logo
- Images (pictures that you are allowed to use) these are ones that you can include in the website design?
- Your own product graphics/photographs?
- Product descriptions & prices?
- Copyright notices
- Page text?
- Terms & Conditions of use & sale
- Are there any special requirements that you feel you need?
- Do you plan to maintain and update the website yourself?
- Would you need to ask the developer to help in updating the website?
- Check about copyright assignation – Who will own the design rights/content/code for the new website – If you want to own the site you will need to see if the developer will sign an ‘assignation of rights’ form.
Is there anything particular that you do not want including in your website … and the reasons why?
Telephone – Mobile
Submitted by Ruth Grimes - silkysteps.com
All articles reproduced with permission from This Is Your Business