When looking for a website developer, one question we hear a lot is "How do I know if what I am getting is a good value?".

Do your homeworkFirst, do your homework. The easiest way to accomplish this is to look at other websites, specifically your competitors.  What do you like?  What do you dislike?  What information do you need on your website and how will that fit into your business sales process?

Next, look for an experienced website developer.  Do not just pick some developer who is your brother in-law's son or your next door neighbors daughter.  You want to make sure that the person you are dealing with understands the process.  Look at their portfolio but more importantly, get references.  Experience is important but their are a lot of smart and creative younger developers and web site designers out there.  You may want to give them a chance especially on small jobs.  For larger jobs, make sure you find someone who has been doing this type of work for at least a few 5 years.  Also ask questions, lots of them.  Have they ever done any sites like you want?  Will my site be a content management system (CMS) or will it be static (you want a CMS so YOU can be in charge of maintaining and updating your data if you so choose).  You do not want a site where the developer will need to make every little change that you want on your website.

One major step is to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics.  You have seen these sites before.  It has fancy graphics and flashy motion and things happening all over the place.  The one thing it does not have is functionality.  The customers get lost trying to figure out what to do.  You do not want a customer to get lost on your site.  If they cannot figure it out in the first 10 seconds, you will most likely lose them as a customer.  It needs to be pleasing to the eye and easy to find the information they are seeking.

Strive for balanceWe strive for a balance.  We want proportional websites that look very nice yet are simple to navigate and find the information they need.  That is the whole purpose for you website, to generate traffic.  And remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

But what about those "setup your website in 3 easy steps" companies.  We are not going to talk down on any of these companies.  Some of them are very good and accomplish what many customers need.  In short, if they work for you, go for it.  But we can give you a few tips about these companies.  First, do not expect a whole lot of support.  Yes, many have a support structure but it is all ticket based (some may even have a live chat).  In most cases, you will never get to talk to a live human being.  Second, many have a separate support pricing structure and you usually will not find that out until you need support.  They will sucker you in with how easy it is to create a website and how cheap it is each month.  If you want to go this route, make sure you understand their ENTIRE pricing structue.  Lastly, you will eventually hit the limits of the software.  We are not going to quite numbers but we have done quite a few site migrations from these "quicky" and "easy to use" sites and placed them on a CMS.  We are not saying any of these companies are bad.  We just want you to be well informed about everything they can offer and how much it will ultimately cost.

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