Picture this: you’ve got a successful business and your website has been up and running for quite some time. You’ve worked hard to get online reviews and the website ranks relatively well for those keywords you target. The business waters are smooth like the photo above. But now, it’s 2015 and the waters are rougher. You know that it needs to be redesigned and updated. You are hoping that a new website will help in the development of new business leads as well. This post is about what you need to know before you get started.
In the web community, there is a saying retold over and over. I remember the first time I heard it and it was funny. Now maybe it’s not so funny anymore. Nevertheless, allow me to paint a picture of the scenario:
- Website development company representative picks up the phone. Let’s call this person Jon.
- Jon’s potential client says he wants his website redesigned since it’s been a while since it was first developed.
- Jon checks out the client’s existing site and puts client on hold.
- Jon turns to his colleague on his left and says: “Hey Jen, check out this site. I’ve got 1999 calling me on Line 2 asking for its website back.”
- Jon, pleased with his joke, laughs out loud and can’t wait to sell you a new website with all the bells and whistles.
You get the picture. Your website is now dated and needs to keep up with 2015 design standards like mobile-friendliness. But beware, there are a ton of Jons who, not only laugh at your website, but may also have recommendations that will not meet your requirements. If not done properly, you could end up with a pretty site that no one can find, leading to a decline in sales. To prevent that from happening, here are some of the questions you should be asking:
- How will you ensure that I do not lose my Google search rankings?
- Will you perform a broken backlink check after the new site up?
- Do you know what a 301 is?
- What is a custom 404 page?
- What is a sitemap?
- Will you perform a website audit?
- Will you perform an inbound link analysis?
If some or all of these questions do not make sense to you then someone in your firm should help with the vetting process. If there is no one in the organization, then its worth paying a third party consultant to help you pick the right vendor.
Any company bidding for your project dollars should be able to answer these questions. But, this is just the beginning; in another post we’ll cover what else to look for in a web design and development firm.
Photo courtesy: Christopher Combe