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  • Jackie Day

Simple Questions to Ask When Selecting Your Next Website Vendor

website design, website development, website company, website vendor, website creation, website design in Melbourne FL

You are now at the point in your marketing strategy to build a new business website or refresh the one you currently have but are not sure who to reach out to for help. There are so many options from freelance website designers, website developers, to web companies. With all these choices how do you know which one is right for your business? This decision is generally the hardest and most time-consuming.

Do not fret as we have pulled together simple questions for you to consider when selecting a website vendor to help you through this decision-making process. Before we dive into the questions, let’s first define these vendor roles a bit further.

Website Designers – The Architects

Web designers generally are freelance graphic designers who make your website look good. They primarily focus on the style and overall feel of the page. Web designers have a creative mindset and can help pull together the style and colors that will best represent your brand and voice. Web designers typically use CMS (content management systems) like Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace to build webpages and may specialize in only one or two of these platforms for designing. Website designers may not have the search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge needed for search rankings, which can be a drawback. However, most CMS systems have excellent built-in SEO tools that can help with this function. Web designers are typically less expensive than developers and web companies and are a great fit for small business owners who need smaller websites that are less than 10 pages.

Website Developers – The Construction Workers

Web developers are more of the “construction workers” behind a website than the website designers, which are more like the “architects”. Web developers focus on the front-end programming of the site using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, or .NET language to build customized websites. They essentially build apps and customize widgets to make the website fully functional. Developers are also knowledgeable on the technical requirements of SEO to help your website rank in Google search. Web developers are more expensive than web designers and maybe more rigid with their designs because they are primarily focused more on function than design.

Website Companies – The Partnership

Website companies bring together both types of individuals so that the designer can carry out the vision of the website and the developer can focus on the functionality. Typically, website companies also have a project manager on hand, who will be able to effectively manage projects and make sure the developers and designers are on the same page. This is a viable option if you have the budget for it. Website companies may have a minimum threshold for the cost of your website due to the overhead of staff needed to complete your project. Generally, website companies tend to take on projects that are 10 or more pages and need advanced functionality. This can be quite costly for a small business owner so make sure to shop around for the best price and always ask if there is a minimum project cost.

Questions to Ask a Website Vendor

Now that we have some clarity around the different roles, here are some simple questions to consider when evaluating a website vendor for your business.

  1. Do they follow your ideas?

  2. Do they currently have a marketing department?

  3. Will someone be taking over the maintenance of the website after implementation or will they need support?

  4. Do they understand your market and how to design the site, whether it should support a local brick and mortar business, a nationwide chain, or an international company?

  5. Do they have live website samples or a portfolio of their work?

  6. Does their work keep up with modern design trends?

  7. Do they know and understand the importance of mobile responsiveness?

  8. Do they know what is needed for guaranteed conversion?

  9. Do they understand landing pages?

  10. Do they know search engine optimization (SEO)?

As much as you want your website to look its best, having a website that will rank on search engines is crucial and your web vendor can only do that if they understand who your target market is. If you are targeting a local audience, you need to look for a vendor that is known for helping small, local businesses. This type of vendor most likely knows all about local SEO and what it takes for a site to gain relevance locally.

If you are targeting nationally or globally, you will need a vendor that has a reputation for building sites that are of those standards and can handle the SEO required to support this target audience.

Understanding today’s users, means also taking into consideration mobile technology. This includes smartphones and tablets. Having a website that is mobile responsive is extremely important, otherwise, it will not be optimized for mobile search. In fact, Google has stated they rank mobile sites higher. When you are evaluating a website vendor’s portfolio, view the mobile version too.

At the end of the day, the goal of creating a website is to expose your business to a targeted audience and increase sales. A web vendor should be able to explain how to do that through a variety of methods including landing pages, Call-to-Action (CTA), content marketing, and social media integration.

First Wave Marketing can help you with your decision process. We are experts at website design, development, and project management. We have the tools and resources to handle your small business website in-house as well as access to website developers and website companies who can handle your most complex website challenges. By hiring First Wave Marketing, you get full support and guidance through the whole entire process from website build through post-implementation. We can also train your staff on how to use the admin portion of the website if you wish to bring it inside. We are ready to help! Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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