Asking the correct questions will help you find the right website developer for your home building online presence. Building a website has become highly specialized and complex, requiring developers to create a better user experience for potential customers. Here are eight questions you should ask a website developer:
1. Have You Built Websites For Home Builders Before?
With the abundance of website development companies across the United States, it’s common to know someone who does web development. However, website development has become more intricate and specialized. Having a website and expecting prospective buyers to discover it is no longer sufficient. It’s now necessary to provide content and an experience that is beneficial to potential customers. But, if a web development company needs to gain knowledge of the distinctions between a Plat Map and a Flat Map, how can they produce valuable information for a new home buyer?
2. How Long Have You Been In Business?
It’s essential to consider the longevity of a website development company before hiring them. According to the reports of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of businesses fail within the first year, and 45% fail within the first five years. While a failed business may have an exit strategy for its clients, changing developers, mid-project can cause delays, increased costs, and the need to work with an unfamiliar company. It’s advisable to choose a website development company that has been in business for at least five years to minimize these potential risks..
3. Will I Own The Website?
Ensuring that you have complete ownership of your website is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, many home builders have found themselves in the unfortunate situation of not owning their website or domain. If you have ownership, you will be independent of the web development company, which can lead to issues if you are unhappy with their services. In addition, if you attempt to switch web development companies, you may start from scratch and lose all the SEO value you have built over time. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process, which should be avoided at all costs. Therefore, verifying that you will have complete ownership of your website and domain from the beginning of the development process is essential.
RECOMMENDED READING: How Homebuilders Benefit From Custom Websites
4. Will The Website Be Built In An Open-Source Content Management System (CMS)?
Selecting the right content management system (CMS is crucial to your website’s success. A CMS provides the framework within which your website is built, and it determines how easily you can manage and update your website content. Popular standardized CMS options include WordPress, SquareSpace, and Drupal. At Power Marketing, we use WordPress CMS, which is used by over 50% of websites in the U.S. Choosing an open-source CMS like WordPress provides flexibility in case you want to change website developers, maintenance, or support.
Additionally, you can find WordPress developers at almost any digital marketing firm in the U.S. This ensures that you won’t get stuck with a proprietary platform, usually developed by a small group of people or a company, and only they have the power to make changes. Proprietary platforms can hold your website hostage and charge exorbitant fees for simple changes. Therefore, avoiding any website built on a proprietary CMS is essential. For more information on the risks of proprietary CMSs, check out the informative article by Eldersel.
5. Will My Website Be Mobile Responsive?
Having a mobile-responsive website is crucial in today’s digital age. With most internet searches being conducted on mobile devices, it is essential to ensure that your website is accessible and user-friendly on both desktop and mobile platforms. A mobile-responsive website is designed to automatically adjust its layout and content to fit the size and resolution of the screen it is being viewed on, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
Not only does having a mobile-responsive website improve the user experience for your potential customers, but it also helps with search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Google prioritizes mobile-responsive websites and penalizes those not optimized for mobile devices. Therefore, having a mobile-responsive website can lead to higher search engine rankings, increased traffic to your site, and, ultimately, higher conversion rates.
6. Where Will My Website Be Hosted, And Is Support Included?
Ideally, hosting your website on a dedicated server where you are the only client is the best option. However, it can be costly and unnecessary unless your business handles large traffic volumes.
The next best option is a private server. Some web design companies offer this service where all clients on the server are specific to that company. This allows web developers to incorporate particular security standards for all clients on the server, making it more secure and improving SEO value. Google prefers to direct traffic to secure websites, and having a private server can help achieve that.
Shared servers are the most common and cheapest option. Your website will be on a server with other websites from various web designers and companies. The issue with shared servers is that all websites on the server will have different protocols for security, access, and updating. This can leave your website vulnerable to being hacked through your “neighbors” on the server, leading to downtime, customer information exposure, and damage to your SEO value.
7. Will My Website Be Updated?
A common misconception is that once a website is built, it requires no further attention. However, this is far from the truth. Websites are similar to cars in that they require regular maintenance. Neglecting this maintenance can lead to costly consequences. To ensure the smooth operation of your website, regular maintenance in the form of security updates, website theme updates, plug-in updates, and broken link fixes is crucial. Failure to do so can result in website malfunctions or even hacking. It is crucial to ensure that website updates are included in your monthly hosting agreement to avoid any issues. By doing so, you can guarantee the longevity and effectiveness of your website.
8. How Long Will It Take To Complete the Website?
The timeline for completing a website can vary based on several factors. Firstly, the complexity of your website will play a significant role in determining how long it takes to complete. A basic website with only a few pages can be built much quicker than a large, complex website with custom features and functionalities. The number of people working on your website can also impact the timeline. If you have a dedicated team of developers, designers, and content creators working on your project, it can be completed faster than if only one person handles all the tasks.
Additionally, the time of year can also impact the timeline. If you plan to launch your website during a busy season, such as the holidays, the development team may need to adjust its schedule to accommodate the increased workload.
Typically, it takes between 60-90 days to complete a website. However, it’s essential to be cautious of website development companies that promise to finish your website in less than 30 days. A reputable website development company will likely have a backlog of work that needs to be completed before they can start on your project. Therefore, if a company promises to complete your website in just two to three weeks, it’s best to be wary as they may be overpromising or compromising on the quality of work.
On the other hand, some website companies will overload their pipeline so they can take as much business as possible. Unfortunately, this can cause long delays in the completion of your website. Ask your website developer about the last three websites they completed and how long it took them to finish. Or if the company has a portfolio of work on their website, call some of the companies highlighted and get their feedback.
BONUS: Notable Omission
One of the most crucial questions when considering building a website is undoubtedly, “How much does a website cost?” A website’s cost depends on various factors, such as the website’s functionality, features, and complexity. The price can range anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. Like building a house, many options and customizations are available, and each one can affect the overall cost.
Therefore, it’s a complex question to answer because it depends on many variables. To get an accurate estimate, you must provide examples of websites you like and the features you require to your potential website developer. This information can give you a decent price range and help you make an informed decision. It’s also important to note that the cost of the website should not be the only factor to consider when selecting a web developer. You should also consider their experience, reputation, and portfolio to ensure they are the right fit for your project.
Overall, vetting website companies is an essential step in the website development process that can help you find a reputable, trustworthy, and competent company to help you achieve your online goals.
Power Marketing would be happy to speak with you about your goals, your business model, and your marketing strategy. Contact us today and let us help your business thrive!