I’ve mentioned in several previous posts the frustration that I feel when I hear web designers and companies who are overcharging for hosting or design or who are not available for their customers when the customer needs someone to walk them through the process of designing a site.
I’ve also mentioned that oftentimes, those walking into a site design really don’t know what it is that they need or how much they should expect to pay. It’s like purchasing a new car after having driven the same Toyota for 15 years, or heading off to the dentist only to find that your teeth somehow have accrued $2500 worth of necessary work over the past 10 years.
Unless you are educated in dentistry or cars you don’t know if the deal is good, and it is easy to get taken for a literal ride when you walk into something unprepared.
So, I’ve mentioned I’d be writing some posts to help those of you seeking a new website, so that you can make informed decisions and have the information needed before you hire a designer.
Some basics for today.
Know your budget. You may end up spending more or less on the site but have a clear idea of how much you CAN spend before you make that call.
Understand your target population. Are your customers or clients a certain age, make a certain amount of money, do they have access to the newest technology or do they, like my mom, feel they will not send an email unless they can do so from the toaster.
Understand your business. Will most of your business come from online? Will your customers be mainly locals? Do you need shopping accessibility on the computer, so that customers can easily fill out orders online?
Understand your technological ability. Can you easily update a site if you do need an online shopping cart? Are you afraid to turn your computer on?
Look at a variety of sites. You don’t want your site to completely mimic another person’s site as far as graphics and layout go, but you should understand what you like and what you don’t like before you begin. But, be open to suggestions. Web design has changed in the past five to ten years. Understand this, and if you hire a good designer and that designer says you may want to avoid the use of heavy graphics and tables, do so.
In a few days I will talk to you about your options with sites. Some people feel that you can’t get into a website unless you have thousands of dollars. This simply is not true. You can begin with a basic site, or even a modification of a template, or you can plunge onward and get that full-out site from the beginning. Your company, your ability, your needs and your budget will basically drive the type of site that you can afford, but most designers can work within a company’s budget and needs to deliver a site that is functional and usable at least in the beginning.