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Did you start a new small business and need a website?

I have a small business and need a new websiteAre you needing a new website for your small business or an existing website redesigned but not sure how to get started or what company would be the right choice for you? This article gives you recommended questions you need to ask to make sure you get the most bang for you dollar and questions to help avoid getting scammed by "fake or wanna-be website developers."

Creating a new small business website can be costly if you are not careful. Many of the clients that The Turn Group often works with are clients that had their money taken by "would-be" small business website designers. They either took the money and ran, started the project and never finished it, or what we here the most; "the website was nothing we envisioned and can not use it." Disasters like this can be avoided if you ask the right questions up front. If you are a new small business owner and are looking for a website for your small business, there are a few things you need to know.

What you don't know could literally cost you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours worth of your time. This article is going to point out what you need to know before choosing a website design company for your small business so that you do not get scammed and lose money. Whether you are getting a new website for the first time or if you are wanting to redesign an existing website and not sure which company to choose; this comprehensive list of things to ask a website development company "before" you engage with them will give you the confidence that they are the right company for you.

Top 16 questions to ask a website development company

  • How many websites have you developed over the last 12 months?

  • What platforms did you build those websites on; Joomla, Wordpress, Magento etc?

  • Does your code and CSS W3C validate?

  • How many different design concepts will I get with your quote?

  • How many different page designs will I get with your quote?

  • Will your company produce ALL design elements for each page of the small business website; headers, in page graphics, buttons, forms, modules etc?

  • **What third party components will you use to produce my websites functionality and are there any licensing fees for the components, modules or plugins?

  • Do you completely customize all third party components that we implement into our site to our color scheme, template and specifications for functionality and does your quote reflect those customizations?

  • How will you customize the components, template, modules and plugins in such a way that will allow for new version updates as they are released without the updates deleting the customizations?

  • If you are looking to have produced for you a Joomla Website Design, what framework will the small business website development company use to build the Joomla CMS on; Warp, Gantry, T3 etc?

  • What kind of warranty do you offer after the project is completed and signed off on?

  • What is your basic SEO implementation on the website you build for us?

  • **We have no idea all the levels/pages that are required to accomplish what we need. How will you guide us through the process of how each component works, the pages they produce, the graphics or design needed for each step of the components functionality? For example, JA Job Board is a component for Joomla which allows your website to have a job board functionality. This component alone has about 25-30 pages that need to be individually customized for functionality and designed for to fit with your design. Its important to ask these questions ahead of time because otherwise you may just get a default install of the software which would not work for most websites.

  • What type of training do you offer on the website? Can I update it or do you have to? If you have to update it, what is your website support pricing?

  • Once you are done with the development, if we choose to host our website with another company do you have a problem with that?

  • Is your company based in the US? We do NOT recommend you use an oversees company to develop your website. If there ever is a problem, (and 85% of the time there is) you have no recourse against them. They just disappear and you have no protection.

** If you are asking for a deep level quote, which means an explanation of each step of the development process, what components will be used and how they work, falls into consulting and is different from a free quote. Consulting is fee based and may cost several thousand dollars to map out from start to finish your project and all the variables. Once you have all these questions answered, you are in a better position to understand what each small business website development company has to offer and their processes for website design and development. Listed below are the items you want to tell your website developer and to make sure they are crystal clear on.

Top 5 things your website developer needs to know

  • They need to sign an Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with you first before you discuss anything related to your project.

  • They will NOT be purchasing your website domain name for you. Always make sure that the domain name you purchase is in your own account and not purchased for you.

  • Your new small business website will need to be hosted on a platform specific hosting. For example, if your website is on the Joomla CMS, then your web hosting needs to be geared toward Joomla Website Hosting and Content Management Systems that are PHP based. These servers have been optimized for those platforms. Other big domain and hosting companies are designed for the masses which means their servers are not optimized for your particular website platform.

  • All their work needs to be original in that you need to be able to copyright and trademark any work they produce for you. So all images on your website need to be royalty free or custom designed with a release from the designer.

  • And lastly, they need to provide you a backup/disaster recovery/security plan for your website to make sure your website never gets virus's or hacked. It may cost extra to implement a disaster recovery plan but it's worth it.

Once you have these questions asked and expectations set, you are ready to move forward with choosing the right new small business website development company that is right for you. We would be more than happy to give you a quote for your new website development needs.

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