Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Website Company
Whether you’re starting a new business or have an old website with an antiquated design, choosing a website host and development company can be overwhelming. There are so many choices. So how do you know which one is the best for you? To decide, there are several questions you need to ask yourself.
What is the purpose of your site?
If you simply want a basic site to direct clients to like a brochure, you can get an inexpensive build-it-yourself hosted website like GoDaddy, Wix or Weebly. Hosted sites like this are easy to use and affordable. However, they have several downsides. One is that you don’t own your site design and once you stop paying for it, your design is gone. Also, once you cancel your account, your files and designs will be deleted. If you still have access to that account and decide to migrate your site to another platform or host as you grow, the migration process may be more time consuming and costly.
Another downside is that if you want your website to attract new business online, these types of sites have limited options for maximizing your SEO or chances to get seen online. GoDaddy does not offer blogging capabilities within the site, and blogging/content creation is crucial to improving your search engine rankings. So, if you think these things might matter to you in the future, you need to choose a more robust CMS like Joomla or Wordpress.org.
What are the growth plans for your business?
If you’re a small business with limited plans for growth and aren’t concerned about SEO, a simple website builder like GoDaddy, Wix or Weebly may be the right choice for you. But if your intention is to grow your business into a larger organization, you need a platform that will expand with you. A custom site built with Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress.org will allow for the integration of tools for data management, collaboration, e-Commerce and more sophisticated search engine optimization.
How much time do you want to spend on security and site maintenance?
Security is a major concern for websites these days, and Wordpress is especially vulnerable. If you have extra time on your hands and are one of those responsible people who will check on your website once a week to make sure the plugins are updated for security purposes, you could consider a Wordpress.org site. If your time is limited and you would rather not deal with this hassle, you are better off with a Joomla host and site. Most Joomla hosts do the security updates for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Wordpress hosts such as WP Engine automatically update the Wordpress core which increases security but they do not update plugins. They also may be more expensive.
You should also consider whether or not you want to do your own content updates or have someone else do it. If you want to make your own updates to save money, both Wordpress and Joomla are easy to use. If you would rather have someone else do it so you can stay focused on your business operations and sales, then other customized website solutions may be an option.
Will you be happy with a template design or do you want a custom design that is unique to your business?
If you want to blog for personal fun or freedom of expression, you may be happy using an existing Wordpress or Joomla template or a simple build-it-yourself website platform. However, if you are a business that wants to establish its individuality, image and creativity, you may want to have a unique custom template designed.
Do you want your website to serve as a source of leads and sales?
Many times, people end up using a technical expert to build their website with little thought about marketing strategy. If you want a site that will maximize the ability to sell your products/services and set your business above the competition, you will benefit from working with a marketing agency that will not only help you deal with technical details but also consider your business goals and how the website will integrate with and optimize your overall marketing efforts. You may need to pay more upfront for marketing expertise but in the end, you will make up for it in increased sales or funding.
Michelle Baker, APR, is the owner of e-Nuz, a public relations and marketing business that specializes in helping organizations improve their awareness and success both on and offline.