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A website can be a very valuable business asset to small business owners so it’s important to get it right the first time. Websites are not just a ‘set and forget’ marketing tool and a poorly designed website can really make or break how your business performs. Asking your web developer these 12 essential questions can help them understand your objectives better and align the website with your overall vision.

1. Do you have a portfolio?

An experienced website developer will always have a portfolio of previous work (unless you decide to take on someone new in the industry). Reviewing any previous work can give you an indication of the quality of the websites your web specialist can design.

2. Will the site be custom designed or use pre-made templates?

A custom website design provides flexibility and functionality and is normally paired with a bespoke web design. A pre-made website template can be purchased and includes a certain amount of functionality — but might not be enough to match your exact needs.

3. Will the site have security and backup?

To protect your website from any virus or hackers, it’s important your website developer not only uses safe plugins (if using WordPress) and backs up your website to the server, but also installs an SSL Certificate for safety and security reasons.

4. Will the website be mobile friendly?

With around 50% of people using their phone to access websites, any development that takes place should be tested on various mobile devices, PC’s and browsers. This ensures your website provides an excellent user experience — no matter which device is used.

5. What about content?

For a website to attract others, it needs to have great content. This means that you’ll need to provide it yourself or engage a copy/content writer. To save you from going elsewhere, some website developers may know or partner up with a great content writer who can help you further.

6.What is your time frame?

Knowing the time frame that your website will be ready by will help you organise your content and other elements of your business better. All website developers work differently and there are many factors which can affect the length of time for the project to be completed.

7. Will my site be SEO optimised?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a marketing tool which helps Google’s search engine find your website and rank it, so it appears in the search results. It’s important on-page SEO elements such as titles and header tags (H1, H2, H3), image title tags and user-friendly URLs are integrated in your website when being built.

8.Will I be able to update the site myself?

 As your business grows and changes so will the content on your website, so it’s important that you’ll be able to amend and edit content whenever you like. Many website developers use custom fields to enable the back-end user to find what they need and update their website in a fast and easy way.

For many small business owners and entrepreneurs a website can be a quite a big investment, as well as used as a great marketing and sales tool. Taking the time to ask the right questions will not only result in a good quality website but also propel you for business success.