How do I know that I get the most out of my web site and strategy? What should I consider doing next with my site? Where is the Internet going? And why just so few visit my site? These are just some of the questions I get when talking to organizations concerned about their investment, strategy and the future of their Internet adventure. I had previously written on how to develop the right strategy for your Internet as well as practical ideas to generate better success. There are some terrific Internet development companies and there are some not so great ones. This article is focused on another critical component of creating success for your web site – your Internet development partner.
Below are the top five questions you must ask them to increase the chance that yours too, is a success:
1. How will customers find me?
What you are looking for here, is first their ability to explain and distinguish between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) methods and how each may or may not be of benefit for your business. Next you want to make sure that they can articulate other methods, such as how to best utilize your existing paperwork to market yourself, your email signature to announce new events and releases, newsletters, voice mail announcement, verbal and more. Any discussion about the importance of Meta tags and such should trigger you to terminate the conversation tight there and then.
2. I want a flash introduction to my web site. Could you do it?
Unless your business is a multi-media or entertainment type business such as www.disney.com flash introduction has no place in the business world. It is a fun project for your internet developer to work on, but creates one of the biggest irritations for your customers when they visit your site. How many times to you come across web sites that incorporate flash introduction and you sit there time after time to watch that irritating waste of time. Most users, me included, either look for the back or the skip button. My recommendation is that you do not even incorporate flash in the top banner of your site. It is irritating and distracting from the main message and objectives of your site. So if you Internet partner gets excited about doing this flash presentation for you, I would head from the door.
3. Why do I need a web site?
There are many reasons to develop a site and proper strategy. What you are looking for here, is their ability to communicative the top business reason why have your site. The top three I found are: Create a site that dramatically increases your business and your clients. Develop a site that improves your image and reputation. Build one that makes it easier to do business with you. There are of course all the other design and navigation issues which are important among 50 other reasons. The key is to hear them talk about business objectives and outcome for your business.
4. What has been successful for organizations such as mine?
Not only should your Internet partner show you testimonials from their clients for their work but also discuss methods and outcomes that have been successful for their clients. Particular examples that are applicable to your business are critical among articles, white papers and case studies they wrote on various topics. Do they have an impressive client list with impressive testimonials?
5. What are my options for doing e-commerce?
If your business promotes products and services, you can easily extend the reach to your customers by incorporating e-commerce and / or e-business in your site strategy. What you are looking for here is their knowledgeable explaining and distinguishing between e-com and e-bus and its applicability to your business. You want to understand the difference between an integrated vs. non-integrated approach (more on that in future articles.) What are payment processing options such as manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic? How will the site be secured, certified and authenticated? And finally how will they guarantee data backup and integrity?
It should not be that hard to find a reputable and knowledgeable partner for you to work with to generate success. However, you must first know what questions to start asking and how to properly evaluate your Internet development partner. So what are you waiting for, make the call and fire away your questions. You are either going to be pleasantly surprised or start looking for a new partner.