As a small or medium size business making it's first step onto the web, or a business needing to increase your online web presence and develop a new website that better represents your company, there are plenty of factors to consider.
One key thing to consider is – what does my website need to do? In looking into this it will give a better idea of if your website will be directly selling products or outlining specific elements of your business. It is at this point that it is important to sit down and consider why you are having a website put together. It may be that your website will specialize in an aspect of your business or be taking your business down a new route, or you may simply be covering all your pre-existing business elements and your site will act aa center of information for your clients and customers.
Your brand will always be important – on and off the world of the 'internet' – You need to ensure new customers are attracted to you as a company, and existing customers want to keep coming back to you because you represent a company that they want to continue doing business with. Your branding needs to be clear and represent what you are and what you represent in your market.
What will be the content on your website? This is a big one, as without good content your website will not be working at it's optimum potential. Gathering plenty of good content should be something that plenty of time is spent on, both yourself and in discussion with your web developer. Your business products or services will need to be carefully thought through so pages can be developed to cover each area of your business with a clear indication of content, and a supply of good content, your web developer can construct a web structure that is both easy to navigate for website visitors and for the search engines, in terms of constructing pages, page titles and internal structures of the website.
Do you want to make changes to your own site, or will you leave it to your web designer? Content Management Systems offer the chance for you to update page content yourself through easy to use admin sections. Your web developer puts the structure and design together, usually your initial content as well – and from there on you can make changes to the text and images in the set editable areas. This is obviously great if you want to update your site as and when you like. You can of course leave it to the web developer to look after things for you – this means you can spend your time focusing on other things in your business, but it just depends if you want the independence of a CMS or the ease of sending updates to someone else to do.
Do not underestimate your web content – the more good, relevant content you can provide your web developer the easier the job of putting a comprehensive site together will be.
With a website, it will need a home, so ask your web developer about hosting and see what they offer. As with most things in life, free or mega cheap products are usually so for a reason. Do not see 'unlimited' deals for next to nothing as the amazing deal that they make out. Reliability is key for hosting.
Prices charged for websites obviously vary greatly – but as a small or medium sized business who wants a quality online presence, invest wisely and once.