Creating your web site can be a tricky process. Choosing the best web design company for your site is extremely important. Unless you run a web-based business, you probably do not have web design experience within your company. Building your web site will take time and a little homework!
To create a web site for your business, follow these 4 simple steps:
Establish your goals
Determine your budget
Pick a web design company
Pick a web hosting company
Establish Your Goals
Before you begin looking for company to help you design and build your web site, take the time to understand the goals of your web site. This will be extremely important to help set expectations with the web design company you choose.
In order to set your web site goals, ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you want a web site?
Are you selling something?
Do you have a catalog of products that changes on a regular basis?
Who is your target market?
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Do you already have a brand?
What is your industry?
Who are your competitors?
Do they already have web sites? If so, what do they look like?
If you’re selling something, will you accept credit cards over the internet?
How soon do you want your web site?
What happens if you never create a web site for your business?
Take the time to answer each of the above questions and if you have time, write the answers down on a sheet of paper. These are the same questions most web design companies will ask you before they begin to create your site. If you have these questions answered up front, you will have some criteria for choosing the right web design company. For example, if you are a real estate agent, and want to publish listings on your web site, you should seek a web design company that knows about the real estate business and has created web pages for other real estate agents.
Determine Your Budget
How much do you want to spend on your web site. Web sites can cost you anywhere from $100 to $100,000 depending upon what you want it to do. Know your spending constraints before you begin negotiating with design companies. Whatever you do, do not tell a web design company what your budget is!! Always get pricing based on your needs, not you budget.
Pick a Web Design Company
Your choice of a web design company is a very important step. Take your time to investigate all of your options. Here are some important items to consider.
Design vs. Build
Depending upon the scope of your web site, you may need to choose two different companies. Building a web site is a highly technical process. Designing a web site is a highly creative process. Many advertising firms specialize in web site design which does not necessarily require any web development skills whatsoever. The process of creating a web site is similar to the process of building a new home. Before you ask a construction company to start building, you first seek out an architect who creates a blueprint of your house taking into account what you want (number of stories, square footage, etc.). Creating a detailed blueprint before construction begins can help you accurately estimate the final price. Without the blueprint, you may end up paying a lot of money for a house that does not fit your needs. Creating a web site is exactly the same except most web site “builders” also claim to be “designers”. The good news is that you can look at other sites a web design company has created (like looking at other homes that a home builder has made). Make sure you ask the web design company what their process is for designing a web site vs. building a web site. They should understand the difference between these two concepts. If they don’t, they’re probably builder that think they can also architect.