Checklist to a Successful Website Development

Before going to a Web Developer, you want an accurate assessment of what your website will cost and what it will entail. So, obviously, you must have a clear idea about what you need. Here are some questions you should answer before you start the development of your site.

1. How will my website function?
There are 4 questions you need to answer under this question and they are, "I will have a website that will operate": As an online store where actual product is sold As an online brochure to inform the consumer about my company or services As an online community As a combination of these Once you've answered what type of web site format you're interested in, it makes it easier to formulate the rest of your web site.

2. What will my website look and feel like?
You need to ask yourself if your site will communicate through appearance? Will it be light and fun, or hi-tech, or business-like and professional? Your appearance of the site should reflect the type of business you have as well as the product or services you’re selling, and most importantly, the target population that will be buying from you. If you find that your target group of people are conservative business people, then you might want to consider having a professional, business-like website.

3. How many pages, and what specific sections should my site have or need?
There are an unlimited amount of things you can place on your site. Most sites have basic sections that provide pretty much basic information, but there are sites that offer unique and different sections that they think their visitors would like, and that helps draw potential customers. You should consider the inclusion of at least these basic areas: Home Page, About Us, Products/Services Page, Order Page, Contact Page, Resources Page, and a Newsletter Subscription Page. These are your basic ones, but to give your website an edge, you need to get creative, and insert pages such as, “Sales” or “Discount” Page, “What’s Hot” Page, “Click for Live Help” Page, as well as a page featuring your articles, or publicity news that have written or mentioned your business in the local news. I’ve even come across web sites that had a “Games and Activities” Page, as well as a page for the “Daily News” from MSNBC news talking about daily news, which is very popular since most of us check in to see what’s going on in the world. Just some ideas above the basic pages that you might want to implement on your website.

4. What is my budget?
This is so important. You don’t want to have a website you can't afford when you’re starting out. It's not a good way to begin your new business, in the red. So, be reasonable and if you only have a budget for $500, you won’t get much out of your website, but some more affordable designers will gladly design a small business website from between $500 and $2500.

5. What is my project deadline?
As a good rule of thumb, your website should be up and ready to go when you officially start your business. I can’t tell you how many times when I approach people about their business, the first thing I normally say, “Hey, I’d like to check out your business, do you have a website?” And the response is, “Well, urhhh, I don’t have a website.” So, if you’re new and starting out, make it a priority to have a website ready to go when you officially begin your new business. A good website should take up to 3 months at average, since some developers will charge more if you need one in less than three months. So, keep that in mind when you want to stay within budget and allow yourself enough time to develop and plan your site.

6. Will I require or need any specialized programming on my site?
It depends on what you put on there, for example, if you need a shopping cart, database or a contact form, make sure your developer has the skill set to meet these requirements. If they don’t, go somewhere else where it can be all done in one shot.

7. What level of assistance will I need with my site's development?
Well, if you know in advance what you want, and how much as well as what kind of help your project will require, you can confirm that the developer you're considering will provide the level of service you need. Answer these questions to find out what level of assistance you will require: Do you require full site design and concepting? Do you have the concept and just need it created into HTML pages? Do you need a site makeover or to upgrade the look with graphics? Do you have an existing logo or will they need to create a new one?

8. How do I know what I like will be good enough for my website?
The best advice I can give about what you like, is to create a list of URL's of sites that you’ve seen on the web that you actually enjoy or like, and note what you like about each one and why it appeals to you. Then show your developer these sites to give him an idea of the "look" you're trying to achieve. This will help your designer tremendously if you give him as much information about what you like and it will also give them a better idea of what you’re after exactly. This also makes it easier for them to provide a quote and concept visuals to match your vision.

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