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5 costly questions you must ask a web design agency

With an estimated 90% of sales leads coming from online sources, your website is a business’s most valuable marketing resource.

testimonial 4 - 5 costly questions you must ask a web design agencyAn estate agent’s website, for example, has even replaced the company’s physical location in terms of generating business and revenue.

Vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants now start their search for a trustworthy local estate agent from the comfort of a smartphone or tablet, rather than hitting the streets.

This is why a new website is a business investment that will be repaid by the leads it generates.
But just like smartphones, website technology is constantly evolving.

Your Apple iPhone 5 might have been the bee’s knees when you took delivery of it in late 2012 and, like your business website, the outdated smartphone probably still works. But it fails to deliver the functionality that come as standard with new models.

Websites are the same. They have come a long way in terms of functionality and design since 2012. However, many company owners who commission a new website express disappointment when they take delivery of the finished product.

Art Division’s research reveals that in the majority of cases this is because the business owner failed to ask the correct questions when engaging with a web design specialist.

5 questions businesses, such as estate agents must ask when planning a new website

There are five key areas to cover when selecting an agency to create a new website. Here, Art Division comes up with the answers you need to receive when asking five crucial questions.

1. What is the purpose of my new website?

A business website can serve many functions, from generating leads to increasing brand awareness, but for your investment to deliver value for money every site must be both flexible and able to grow and expand with the business.

The vast majority of business sites are designed to generate sales leads, which means it must have a content management system that is both flexible and adaptable.

A bespoke CMS might sound impressive but they are designed to be less flexible and may require additional work every time you need a new function added to the site.

The same applies to an off-the-shelf CMS. These one-size-fits-all solutions are often designed by a specific company and can be costly to maintain. While you would not allow your top-of-the-range sports car to be maintained by a non-franchised garage, the opposite applies to a CMS.

2. What happens if I fall out with the web design company?

Your new website may meet all your expectations but at what cost? Can you move the website to another supplier? More often than not, the client is locked either by a contract or by the complexity of the CMS.

This is neither cost-effective nor good for the business. WordPress is a system that can easily be moved and other suppliers can take over without having to learn someone else’s code.

3. How much will it cost to keep the website maintained?

Just like any technology, a website will need occasional maintenance to keep it in optimum condition. There are many companies charging less for a website but offer monthly fee under the perception it’s for maintenance.

In many cases this covers a licence fee and offers very little in terms of a service.

If a site is developed in a platform like WordPress, you should have the flexibility to use any supplier to maintain it, so even if you purchase a maintenance plan, this should be for maintenance work and not a licence fee.

4. Can I add new features to my website?

Just as technology develops at a fast pace, so do business needs. While your new website may deliver 100% satisfaction when you take delivery of it, what will happen if you want to add new features to its functionality?

Every site should be built with this in mind. If you need to extend the functionality of your site but do not want to pay for a redesign, free or reasonably priced WordPress plugins make this a simple task.

5. What about ranking with the search engines?

It doesn’t matter how good a website looks or its level of functionality if your customers cannot find you on Google.

Many web design companies claim to offer SEO-friendly sites but not all know what this actually means. Including Google-friendly meta titles and description alone is not an SEO friendly site. There are many more aspects to consider, which many bespoke CMS fail to include systems don’t cover.

The code behind WordPress is very clean and simple, making it easy for search engines to read and index a site’s content. In addition, each page, post, and image can have its own meta tag keywords, description and title, and be optimised for specific keywords, allowing for very precise search engine optimisation.

More reasons why Art Division recommends WordPress

WordPress is a browser-based system that is both easy and quick to use. It has been around since 2003 and has numerous advantages over other types of CMS. These include:

  • 100% customisable. Every element on your site can be designed to reflect every element of your company’s brand values, from colours to font and functionality. Sites built using WordPress allow you to provide a unique experience to your visitors.
  • Intuitive interface. WordPress is a self-contained system that does not require HTML editing software. You do not need to be a website expert to create a new page or blog post, format text or upload images and video files. This reduces the amount of time it takes to keep the information on your site up to date.
  • Complete control. WordPress allows site owners to login from any internet-connected device and update the website’s content without contacting the design agency. As an administrator of a WordPress site, you can also set-up multiple users and assign access levels and capabilities to each user.
  • Built-in blog. WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform, which means blogging capabilities are built-in and are easy to integrate with other functions and pages on your site.

For more advice about website development and digital marketing, contact Art Division today. We have more than 15 years’ experience of increasing the online visibility of a wide range of small to medium-sized companies and specialise in working with independent firms operating in the property sector.

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