Choosing a Web Designer or Developer to build your Website (Guest Blog By Kook)
As we know, potential customers are more likely than ever to turn to the internet to find travel ideas or tourism destinations. Whilst many consumers still choose to book their holiday with a trusted travel agent their research and decision making on destinations, experiences and products is nearly always done online with an estimated 71% of travel research taking place on desktops, tablets and mobiles. This makes the internet absolutely vital for all travel brands (Ecostatistics)
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your website captivate visitors enough to contact your destination over hundreds of others in your area? Apparently, Tour Operators say their own website is twice as effective to get bookings than Review websites (Rezdy data)
- Does your website provide visitors with a clear navigation path to the information they’re looking for?
- What is your SEO ranking? Do you appear on the first page? Tourism operators who reported having a website, it was estimated that 48% of website traffic referrals came from search engines (Tourism Research Australia)
Whether you’re looking to launch your tourism business on the web or redesign your existing site for greater reach and appeal, choosing the right web design team is the first and most important step. So, how do you choose a good web developer? Glad you asked….
Here are 10 critical questions to ask when deciding which web company to work with. Your company website is an essential marketing tool to promote your business – one which you need to ensure you get right the first time round. It certainly is worth the investment in the future of your business.
Questions to ask your potential web designer?
- How experienced is your team in building websites like the one I need? Can I see examples?
You want to work with long-term professionals who have proven results across a range of projects. By asking to see previous work examples and customer testimonials you will get a chance to review their professionalism, experience and evaluate their credibility. You also need to find a team with enough size to have people with specialist skills – you will not find a professional in SEO and design and programming. Does your team have all the skills you need under one roof or are you going to act as project manager amongs multiple parties?
- How much do you understand about my business and what my goals and needs are?
Make sure you choose a team that take the time to understand your business and are proactive in partnering you in achieving your business goals by giving you sound advice and solutions that are right for your business. Avoid cookie-cutter approaches, these approaches lack the innovation and customisation your individual business may need.
- Who will build my website? Development team – Inhouse or outsourced contractor?
This will help you determine whether the team has the relevant skills to produce a solid website that will meet your needs and expectations. You preferably want a team of in-house specialists with the relevant skill sets who can work with you directly. TIP: Beware of advertising agencies who are good designers but have weak development skills.
- What do I need to get a website up and running?
You will need a basic word management system website built on mobile responsive platform for use on all devices, including a content management system known as a CMS system, for editing and addition of standard content pages.
You will also need someone to host your website. A website developer can help you with this and can present you with the necessary options for a responsive platform.
Once your website is ready and it has been tested you should receive training on how to use and manage your new website. If you are not going to manage it, then establish what costs are involved for your website to be managed. TIP: Remember to ask for a Service Agreement to ensure your expectations are met and understood.
- How long will it take to build my site and what are your other commitments at present?
A typical website of 10 pages can take between 4-6 weeks for completion depending on response times. More complex development projects can be scoped and the timeline communicated to you in advance.
- What should I typically expect to pay for a website?
Website pricing can range from around $2,000 to $10,000 plus, it’s all dependent on the objectives of the business and what complexities are required. Big differences can arise based on how much graphic design work is incorporated, as well as what specialist functionality is required (such as shopping carts, or online bookings etc).
TIP: Being promised the cheapest website does not always end in the best results for your business and can mean a costly mistake if your website needs to be redeveloped in the next few years. Remember to look for a quality provider, which may mean you pay more but you would rather ensure your developer can deliver than be left with a website that performs poorly.
- Quality of communication with your developer?
Be sure that you feel the relationship will be a good one and that you are comfortable with the levels of communication you will have with your web team. You need to have a very good relationship where you feel you can talk to your team directly at any time. Look for a team who are open, honest, sincere and trustworthy from the start.
- Who will write the content for my website?
Ensure it is clear who will be writing and delivering the copy for your website. You can choose to write and supply your content, or you can ask your development team to assist you with the copywriting. This may cost a little more, however if your objectives are to obtain organic ranking on your website and generate traffic to your site, your content needs some planning and has to be written using specific keywords and search terms.
The content needs some planning to ensure it will provide the information your website visitors want, that it will work to convert website visitors into clients, and that it will be optimised for search engine results, also known as SEO.
- How do I make my website SEO compatible?
SEO is known as Search Engine Optimisation. Which refers to the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines through the ‘natural’ or ‘un-paid’ search results. You can either do this yourself or appoint your developer to include this in their quote to you.
Search engine optimisation is important as it has been proven to yield a more effective return on investment, generating higher traffic, better quality sales leads and more customer acquisitions in comparison to any other marketing channel.
A Tourism Research Australia report indicated that 48% of website traffic referrals come from search engines. It has also been stated that 93% of users do not look further than the first two pages of search results, significantly highlighting the importance of staying competitive online.
- How will you handle final changes?
It is important to get a handle on exactly all the costs involved once your website goes live. There may be bugs to fix and work out. When you are finalizing your quote with your developer ask them what is included and excluded in your final pricing relating to work once the site goes live. Many developers will stipulate how many rounds of changes or reverts you will receive or will outline a cost for any additional changes or amendments.
Having been in the industry for over 17 years, and working closely with several small and medium tourism businesses, including the development and launch of the new ATDW website, Kook is well placed to offer advice to operators who need to build a website. If you are needing objective advice from a trusted source, contemplating a new website for your business or even wanting a no obligation free review of your website, contact Kook here