Everyone knows a properly designed, informative and engaging website that is easy to navigate, is a vital part of your marketing tool kit. Think of your website as your shop window, it’s often the first and only point of reference a prospect has of your business and it needs to be an accurate reflection of your company’s offering and brand positioning. Whether you are a start-up looking for your very first website or an established business who needs a refresh or total overhaul, it’s important to find a supplier who understands and meets your needs.

The challenge is how do you go about making sure you find a supplier that has the capability and experience to deliver and offers good value for money.  It’s important to research the market, meet and get cross quotes from a selection of providers so that you can make an informed decision.  Equally important is to make sure you arrive at the meeting prepared and have a clear idea of what you are looking for.  

The first priority is to clearly outline what you want from your website, who are you targeting and what information do you need to communicate. You should have a good idea of the content, number of pages, an outline of the site wireframe and top-level specifications.  For example, do you need a database, e-commerce functionality or content management system? A good agency will help you scope out a full specification but you should come prepared with initial thoughts and questions.  

Over and above ensuring you can give a clear brief on the website specification there are lots of other things to discuss which will enable you to choose the best provider. Some things worth asking include: 

  • What web platform or technology will you use to construct my website – is it an in-house or propriety solution?
  • Can you provide the domain name and hosting? 
  • Can you help write the content and provide a copy-editing / copywriting service? 
  • What imagery should I use that supports my brand and can you source it?
  • How will the website be kept up to date after launch? 
  • What after-sales support would you be able to provide?
  • What security will there be to restrict hacking and prevent spam?
  • Will my website look the same on everyone’s computer? How will you ensure cross-platform compatibility?
  • Will my site be mobile compatible so my customers will be able to use my website on their tablet or mobile device?
  • What are all the cost involved, broken down into design, build, maintenance and hosting and at what stages will you bill us?
  • What are your terms and conditions and payment terms?
  • After the website is finished, will we own copies of the source code and asset files?

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list we believe these questions will enable you to effectively brief and source the right website provider. 

This is a guest blog by Jo Bayne at Oyster Studios who offer outsourced marketing support and website design.