What Questions to Ask When Building a New Website

You’re building a new website, now what?

As technology makes the creation of a website easier than ever, you must ask yourself some important questions to ask before building a new website. As a child, you may have heard the saying “Look before you leap”. It’s no different when building a new website. Another popular saying also applies here: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Do I need a website?

Seems like a simple question but probably one of the hardest to answer. Maybe you don’t really need a website because you feel you need to invest money elsewhere (equipment, staff, education). The downside to not having a website is that many people won’t know about your business. Sure, you could plaster a sign on your car and drive around town (which can be effective). But how will people know about your business when your car is parked in the garage? Websites are open 24/7. Here are more reasons why you need a website.

If I do create a website, what is it’s purpose?

You must know why you are building a site and what it will do. Most likely it’s for communicating your business but maybe you also want to educate people about your services. How about a newsletter? Do you want people to contact you? Narrowing down the goals of the site will help you focus on its purpose and generate ideas.

What items are you selling?

If you are only offering a service, you are still selling something. Plus, you are selling yourself as a representative of your business. If you are selling a product, have you researched your competition? How many items will you sell and can you keep up with demand? How will your customers pay for your products? Your website may need to handle (hopefully) thousands of potential buyers. Your website may also need to securely handle credit card payments.

What do I need to get a website up and running?

Some of the basic items needed to start a simple website are:

  1. domain name – this is the name users type to get to your site (Ex: http://domainname.com)
  2. hosting – think of this as office space where all the files that make up your website are stored.
  3. design and development – this is the text, images, layout and all the details of your site.
  4. visitor tracking software (often called analytics) – this lets you know who came to your site.

** In some cases, you may need an SSL certificate (for secure credit card transactions)

Will I need to maintain the site when it’s done or pay someone else to do it for me?

If you only have a handful of pages that don’t require frequent updating, you may be able to handle this yourself. Be careful though. Your costs can quickly escalate if you start purchasing software applications to update pages and edit images. There is often a steeper learning curve for these applications too. Some sites may use a Content Management System (CMS) to create its pages which are usually easy to learn and less expensive (sometimes free). You need to ask this question before you start building your site, especially if you hire someone to build it for you.

What are the start-up and ongoing maintenance costs?

This goes along with the previous question but is listed separately due to its importance. The domain and hosting fees are usually paid annually and run from $75 to $350 depending on the provider. If you have any e-commerce functionality, expect to add another $750 or more. A design fee can run anywhere from $500 to over $1,000. If you pay someone to maintain your site, most providers charge $25 to $250/hour. Keep this in mind if you have a large site with regular updates.

How will I get people to come to my site?

If you have a good developer/designer, your site will be built using search engine freindly techniques. They will also submit your site to search engines for you. You may also consider Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising but this can be very expensive if you are not careful. If someone does not market your site for you, it’s up to you to do it yourself. While this may seem like a daunting task, there are several free methods to market your site. If you are continually updating your site with new information and reviewing your traffic reports (analytics), people will find your site.

How will I know if my site is successful?

Well, a dramatic influx of cash might be a sign. However, if you outlined your goals, check back every 1-2 months to see if you are on track. If you have met your goals, create some new ones. Challenge yourself and keep monitoring your progress.

Start with a better plan. Finish with a better website.

Comments

  1. I do bеlieve all of thee ideas you’ve presented on your poѕt.
    They’re very convvincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are very short for beginners.
    Сould уou please prolong them a little from next time?
    Thank yοu for the post.

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