Most technology companies selling to builders are reputable. But how do you narrow down your choices since most builders did not start building houses with a degree in Information Technology. Here are some questions for you to see behind the smoke, so to speak. Knowledge is power, and directly tied to money.
Do I have to have a secured HTTPS type of web site?
The answer is, “Of course not,” but the real answer is “Yes. You do.” The S in HTTPS, versus just HTTP is a secured server essentially. On the surface, you may think since you don’t process credit cards on your site and are not sending highly confidential information, you don’t need the extra step. Google has recently changed formulas and rank sites with HTTPS slightly higher. Everyone needs help getting higher search engine rankings.
TIP: If your site handles any payment processing, make sure you test all the way through as a real transaction.
Will you build us a .Mobi site for mobile devices?
They can, but will they? They shouldn’t. Websites only built for mobile (.mobi) devices are dead. Any Web development company can say yes, but they shouldn’t. If they do, that’s not good. You need a site built with “Responsive Design,” which shows correctly on a tablet or a regular browser and all as a single HTML file. Websites are giant money pits if you don’t use a company who knows your industry, the psychographics of your target demographics and what resonates with them, not to mention the latest technology.
TIP: Test your site on someone else’s smart phone and/or tablet and preferably with someone who has never gone to your old site.
Do I have to pay extra for you to design a web site with SEO in mind?
Most Web development companies also offer other services, like builders offer options. One is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which helps your site get found. That is good. You can get found without it, but with very deep in rankings. That is not good. Your SEO results are partially based on coding and design, but algorithms constantly change. Some companies lump the SEO work in with the website. They should be building your site with SEO in mind, regardless of whether you are going to pay them to do ongoing SEO work or not. There is an art to getting found online, but that is an ongoing investment, not a one-time roll it in to your website action plan so don’t fall for that.
TIP: Images that contain words are not seen as text; but simply as images, no different than an image of a tree.
Is WordPress the best way to build a website?
If you get an automatic yes as an answer, you need to look for another choice in Web development companies. They may be trying to sell you what they think you want or what they know is cheaper. But, that company, answer or solution is not your best option. Look for a company that knows technology, your industry and answers with integrity, not just based on what they can sell. WordPress was initially developed for blogging, and it is still great for that. It is an inexpensive tool for any average consumer to be able to create their own website, about anything. The “about anything” part is the issue of concern. Using homebuilding as an example, essentially, anyone can take a floor plan and build a house. However, that house won’t be the best built home and may not even function well. That’s the same with a website. Builders need websites built on a custom solution, specifically for homebuilders, especially since it impacts how your site is found online, which is after all the objective. So ignore the hype, although it may be the inexpensive choice, it may leave you more vulnerable to server errors and unsatisfied in the end. Larger companies, where brand and image are critical, do not generally use WordPress. Yes, it has many plug-ins to do other things but you the builder will not be able to contact those companies, talk to those people (most assuredly foreign anyway).
TIP: As in all things in life, cheaper is not usually better, but you can have whatever you want.