When a website is ‘compatible’ it means people can go to your small business website and see it exactly how it was designed. IE (Internet Explorer) is infamous for poorly translating website code so text and images may often appear to visitors as garbled and weird, if not coded properly.
But putting aside the actual technology used in creating a website, the first steps are all about information gathering. When I start work with a new client, after our initial phone conversation about their business, their target clients, budget and thoughts on what their website should look like, I always send a very brief 12 step questionnaire. This questionnaire covers everything from who your hosting company is or will be, to what you do and don’t like about competitor websites, if you require specialty photos of proprietary equipment or if you’ll be needing royalty-free stock photos…that’s the type of information I always collect. There’s more, but you get the idea.
Your website timeline for completion is important too. Be sure you’re realistic in what you’re asking a web designer to accomplish. I typically take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to complete a site, given that my client provides me with all the information I’ve requested when I request it, and that they follow my general website project schedule for website review. I breakdown all my client websites reviews into 3 primary review sessions. Of course there’s back and forth emails and calls in between the major review sessions, but I found having this general guideline is helpful in keeping everyone focused on ensuring the website layout, colors, content and business branding is exactly what you want to represent your own small business. This level of organization also helps in reducing time consuming efforts for unexpected redesign down the road. If a small business owner understands and agrees with the decisions that are being made regarding a website layout, etc…upfront, it’s less likely you’ll both endure major changes when the project is just about done.
When looking for a web designer ask them how they usually manage a website development project. Chances are if they don’t have easy to access guidelines in writing to quickly send you, get ready to deal with potential project delays and misunderstanding of your requested website expectations.
All in all though, building a small business website is really a business partnership that requires working closely together to create an end product that best represents you and your growing company. It’s a BIG committment, but can be a truly fun and exciting process when you work with the right designer. And don’t forget! Referrals are KING to finding the right professional website resource, so if you see a testimonial and still need convicing, consider sending the testimonial source a quick email to confirm their positive website building experience. Feel free to call us at FolioFLY if you have any burning website questions, too. Hope to speak with you soon!