1. Will it have a content management system (CMS) in the back end? A CMS will allow you to make changes to your web pages easily, at any time, just as easily as making changes to a Microsoft Word document. A CMS helps you to:
- Save time. You can make changes instantly yourself — there is no need to send changes off to someone else, wait around for them to make them, check behind them to make sure they were done correctly, etc., etc.
- Save money. If you can make changes yourself, there is no need to pay a web designer $75 to $100 per hour to make changes to your site indefinitely into the future.
2. Will it be built using current Web content standards (as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium – /www.w3.org/)? Using W3C standards helps to ensure that:
- Your site will work in multiple browsers (Explorer, Firefox, etc.) and on mulitple devices (PC, Blackberry, tablet computer, etc.)
- Search engines will be able to most easily find your content. (This has to do with whether the text of your site is coded properly — search engine “spiders” look for certain codes and if they are not there, they cannot easily find your keywords.)
- Your site is “forward compatible.” That means that any design changes you want to make to the site can be done very easily. In other words, you can make one coding change and quickly change the look of your entire site, without having to re-do the coding on every single page. This also will save significant $$ and headache in the future.
3. Can you create a professional design that will …
- Put us on par with our competitors?
- Help us capture a larger share of the marketplace?
- Showcase us as a 21st-century company commited to progress and quality?
4. What is your work style?
- Can you advise us of best practices in web design and development?
- Will you develop a schedule and project plan for my site development, or will I have to?
- Can you advise me on a web strategy for my company, or will you just “take orders and build what we tell you?”
- Can you give me a reasonable cost estimate up front, or will I have to guess what my costs will be at the end of the project?