This short guide aims to give you the 'key questions to ask your web provider'
Are you planning a new website or changing your existing website? Perhaps you are not fully clear what is involved and how you can compare prices quoted by different web providers? Maybe your last website was “OK” but you were never sure what you were paying for! This short guide aims to give you the “key questions to ask you web provider”.
It will help both you and your web designer, if you can think of your website as being one of the following 3 types:
Brochure website – which summarises your business: effectively a brochure for your business on the internet!
Business website – does what a brochure website does but also aims to complete certain “offline” business tasks on your website, such as: answering “Frequently Asked Questions”, providing information on products, services and pricing like a product catalogue – saving you and your customer time.
E-Commerce website – does all the above and allows you to sell your products and services through your website using functions such as a shopping cart and payment provision through either credit card or a third party such as PayPal or Stripe.
What “functions” will I have on my website? Here are some examples of functions that are often included in each of these three standard website designs:
A Brochure Website Should Include:
A Business Website Should Include:
An E-Commerce Website Should Include:
An eCommerce website involves additional responsibility on you to demonstrate to your customers your website is safe and secure place to buy things! There are several ways to transact online – ask your web developer to explain the payment process they can setup for you:
Will my website be optimised to work well with search engines like Google?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques improve the performance of your website in “Organic” search engine rankings. It is free but takes time to do well. There are numerous techniques for improving or optimising your web pages to rank better on search engines.
Can I make updates to the website myself – using a Content Management System (or CMS)? If yes, what are the limitations – are there things you cannot change?
If you plan to make regular updates to your site, ask your web designer about a Content Management System so you can make changes to the information displayed on your site.
A good CMS will also provide you with all the information and statistics your need about how your site is being used by visitors. It can also allow you to optimise your website to rank better against your target “keywords”.
Will I receive any ad-hoc support and maintenance after the site is live?
Over time you may want to update your website. Find out up front if you will need to pay your web designer for support each time? If website support is included in the upfront cost or if you should pay an ongoing fee to cover support?
Who will host your website – will your developer arrange this, or will you need to organise it with a hosting company?
Your website needs to be stored on a server, somewhere! Usually, either a specialised provider or your website design company can do this for you. Expect to pay $240 - $600 + gst per year for this, depending on the size of your site and the level of service you can expect from your hosting company.
Who needs to register the domain name and confirm if it has/will be registered in your name?
You need to “own” or more accurately “rent” the rights to your website name i.e. www.yourdomain.co.nz
Expect to pay between $50 - $100 + Gst per year for your domain name depending on its popularity, the domain type and the length of time you wish to register it.
To see if your preferred domain name is available check a website such as www.domainz.net.nz
If your designer registers the domain on your behalf, ensure that it is registered in your name.
From the how deep are your pockets file. What will each website function cost?
Often the most difficult part of buying a website is understanding what you are getting for your money!
Without a detailed specification or description of your website, it can be difficult to compare prices between providers. Ask your web designer to write down on paper exactly what is included in their price. You can use the headings on this guide to help – then you can better compare quotes.
As a guide you can use the following:
Of course, you can also build your own website “for free” using any of the numerous template websites on the market. Just be watchful of any limitations that come with your “free” website!
We hope this guide helps you and you might find it is easier than you originally thought to get the website you deserve and create a powerful sales and marketing tool for your business.
Please get in touch should you have any questions.