Posts Tagged ‘Vesta Digital’
If you’ve just finished building your new website (or revamping your old one), how can you be sure it’s “ready for prime time”? Web technologies, online tools, requirements and standards change so rapidly, any website that was “cutting edge” when it’s built can look obsolete a year later. Below we offer 10 aspects of web development you should consider:
2. Completeness: None of your website should be “Under Construction”. Websites tend to evolve over time and are never truly “finished”, but that’s no reason for your website to look like a construction zone.
3. Content: Do you need to update the text on your site? Have you added services, expanded your product line, targeted new markets, or changed your business strategy? Is your website’s description of your company current and accurate, including your contact information? Could the content be written more clearly, convincingly, or succinctly? Could your website be more informative, helpful, interesting or relevant? Would customer testimonials or an FAQ section strengthen your sales message? Check all of your site content for incorrect grammar, spelling errors and typos.
4. Graphics: Do your graphics contribute to or detract from your website? A website with no graphics would be uninteresting, but a site with too many graphics, animations, and different fonts is overwhelming and distracts from your sales message. The trick is to find the right balance.
5. Interactivity: You might consider making your site interactive by adding a blog, RSS feeds, mailing list, message board, poll, or guest book. A contest or trivia quiz can attract visitors and bring them back more often.
6. Links: Are all the links on your website working? First make sure any links between pages on your site are directing site visitors to the correct page. Check all of your links that redirect to other Websites, too; the webmaster may have renamed the page or removed it altogether, and those dead links will make your site look unprofessional and frustrate your site visitors.
7. Speed: Does your site load quickly enough in the viewer’s browser? The “Eight Second Rule” is a good rule of thumb, meaning no site visitor should have to wait longer than eight seconds to view the opening page of your website. After eight seconds have elapsed, chances are good the viewer will give up and go elsewhere. If you have graphics or animations that take awhile to download, provide some engaging content to hold their interest while they wait. Adding graphic elements always comes at a cost in terms of slower loading times, so only include graphics if they really contribute to visual impact of your Website and strengthen your sales message.
8. Navigation: Is it easy to find information on your site? The opening page should tell visitors, at a glance, who you are, what you do, and how to find what they’re looking for. From there your visitors should be able to follow a logical path to learn more about various aspects of your business. If you list products or services on your site, organize them in a logical way. If you decide to use graphic icons instead of text, make sure their meaning is obvious. Make it easy for your site visitors to find what they came for.
9. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Is your website optimized to rank for important keywords in the most popular search engines? Double check your page titles and meta tag keywords and descriptions to make sure they are accurate and descriptive. Did you work your keywords into the actual page content as well (including variations)? Is your website focused on a specific theme, and do you have plenty of informative content related to that theme? Is your website spider-friendly (meaning search engine spiders can access every page and read the most important content from the source code)?
10. Usability: Usability refers to how easily site visitors can use your site. The best measure of usability is feedback from users -the people who visit and try to navigate the site. If you received any feedback such as complaints, comments, questions, or suggestions from site visitors, change your site accordingly. Of course, dissatisfied customers won’t always let you know. That’s why you should also analyze your web stats and traffic reports to see whether visitors quickly abandon certain pages or don’t visit some of your pages at all. Think in terms of building pathways through your site that visitors can follow.
There are so many web design companies out there these days it’s enough to make your head spin. At last count, Google came up with 173,000,000 search results. Don’t freak out – your search can be easy and pain-free with this simple guide below. We will show you how to select a web design and development company that will meet all your goals and not drive you nuts.
Who are your customers? What information will you be providing them? It is important to have a clear idea what role your new or redesigned web site will be like. A good web designer will want to know the following:
- Your intended market or audience.
- The role of your new web site.
- Your budget.
What websites do you admire? They may be your competition or in unrelated businesses. Sometimes the web design firm is included in the site credits or is listed elsewhere on the website. If you cannot find the credits on the site itself, don’t hesitate to contact the business and ask them which web design firm is responsible.
How is the web designer going to help you? Gather a list of potential web design firms and ask them this question and then ask them several more:
- How consistent they are?
- Do they have any testimonials that speak about their credibility?
- Do the projects in the portfolio have a consistent quality?
- Have they consistently given good results in the given time frame?
- Has the web design company provided solutions to other companies in your business category?
- Have they dealt with similar challenges to those faced by your organization?
Remember – a web site doesn’t have to be flashy or animated to do its job. Check for organization of information, ease of navigation, overall cleanliness and user-friendliness.
When they tell you how much it is going to cost, don’t scream – instead, ask them “why?” Experience and fees are very much related – this is called the EF of a web design firm. The general rule of thumb is the more experienced they are, the more they are going to charge. Don’t sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks. On the other hand, don’t pay through the nose if you think you can get a better deal somewhere else.
Here are some more questions related to fees that you can ask:
Technology – What is their technological competence? Does it match with your requirements? How frequently is their technology upgraded- both in terms of software and hardware?
Deadlines – Has the company carried out the projects in a specified time? Time is one of the most important factors as the longer it takes, the higher the costs get.
Responsiveness – How promptly does the company respond to your inquiries? Are they responsive to your suggestions and questions? Do they explain issues in ways you can understand? Do they share your general vision for the site?
Communication – Poor communication is one of the major roadblocks for business processes. Ensure that the company who you will be working is comfortable with the language you speak.
Services – What services does the company offer other than designing? What kind of value-added products or services can they bring to the table?
Where you end up will be determined with a proposal. Ask the finalists to send you a proposal. This will help you decide which web design firm understands your requirements best. And ask each web design firm to include a description of their development process of the project. Take these points into consideration:
- Likeability of the proposal
- Strength and weaknesses of the proposal.
- Presentation and format style.
After you have reviewed all proposals, compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? How do they appear in terms of project management? Do they present scalability and/or upgrade paths for your project? Is the price worth it? You should have a winner by now. Your next question should be: “When can you start?”