When you meet with your website design and development company, you need to ask certain questions that many people forget. If you can answer these questions correctly, then you are probably in good hands.
A good first question is, is your website search engine optimized? Public facing websites are indexed by search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN and it is extremely important that your website is found after crawling. In addition, you should use every opportunity to increase the findability and frequency of use of your website. Optimized websites are websites that use lightweight cascading style sheet designs and appropriate meta keywords, and also don’t use images in place of headings or text. There are many techniques you can use to help your pages achieve high search engine rankings, and the little things can go a long way.
They also need to verify that they are following best practices when building websites and programming web applications. Best practices are guidelines on how a task should be approached and performed. For example, there are best practices for optimizing a website for search engines, instructions for developing HTML and code parts of a website. Best practices are there to accomplish several things. They provide an industry standard model that anyone can follow, they encourage the production of consistent results, discipline when working on a given topic, and discourage poor programming and development practices.
Be sure to check with your web design and development company to see if they will build the software specifically for your online application, or if you can program it “off the shelf.” Many companies sell software under the impression that it was made specifically for their website. Some unscrupulous development companies take off-the-shelf software from another company and customize it before building your website. Be sure to ask this question in advance so you know what you’re paying for.
A very important aspect that is often overlooked is marketing. Getting your website indexed on Google is one thing, but there are many, many other ways you can maximize your website revenue, popularity, and visitors. You can make sure your website address is on important documents like letterhead and business cards. You could sponsor community events, have your website address on your company car, and also offer free giveaways and promotions. If you want to take it even further, then things like paid advertising, banner ads, and pay-per-click advertising have been shown to bring targeted traffic to your site.
You also need to know that your website needs ongoing maintenance. The answer to this is usually yes, as you may want to change contact details or content. You might even want to do a complete redesign and add lots of pages and more content and tweaks to get better search results.