Before any business owner develops a web site, they usually have something in mind regarding the esthetics, layout and overall budget they have for the project. While all of these are certainly an important part of building a web site, there are many more things to consider as well. If you are working with a professional web development firm, other questions need to be answered before you can have a site developed that will accurately represent your interests on the net.
One of the first questions they should be asking you is what your intentions are for the site. Are you selling products or services or giving out information? Is the site for entertainment purposes primarily or is it a business venture? If you are selling products or services, who constitutes your target demographic?
Once that has been established, a good web design firm will want to know how large you intend for the site to be. Will the site experience growth over time as pages are added for new products or services or as more content is added? Will the site require updating on a regular basis and if so, by whom?
Firms should offer you options on databases should you need one to securely store and retrieve information from customers, members and others who may visit the site. This is especially important for companies who rely on Internet orders for the bulk of their sales. Even for not-for-profits and other types of primarily informational web sites, however, visitor databases can be a necessity.
Last but certainly not least, a web design firm should inquire as to how you hope to bring traffic to your site. Will you be buying online advertising such as banner ads or pay per click? Will you be relying on search engine results to help your demographic find you? The latter will require some optimization efforts to make your site competitive for the keywords and phrases people might find you under. A good firm knows that even the most esthetically pleasing site in the world is ineffective if no one ever sees it.
Make sure the firm you hire is asking you the right questions and you will have a site you can be proud of that will serve its purpose well.