Web developers are a little like mechanics; we deal in an area which most of our clients have no idea about. When I take my car to the mechanic and he tells me the ‘dif and rear axle need replacing’ and the ‘inside rotator cuff is wearing’ I have no idea what he is talking about. So when he says it will be $3000 to fix, I really have no idea if he is taking me for a ride or he is genuine with his diagnosis and pricing. So how can you make sure your web developer does not charge you too much or skimp on web 2.0 quality?
1. Know what you want your website to achieve
It might sound simple enough but you would be surprised how many people and business don’t know what they want out of their website. If you go to a developer and say I don’t really know what I want out of my website then straight away they know you are inexperienced and can charge you more than what you could get somewhere else.
Before you start to talk to web developers, have an understanding of what your website should aim to achieve and what features it should contain. Is your website a way for people to find you (similar to an online yellow pages directory) or do you want to generate income directly from your website? The more you know what your website should aim to achieve, the less likely you are to get taken to the cleaners when you get receive a quote.
2. What features do you need so your website functions as you want it to?
A good website these days is rarely static. What I mean by static is that it has content on it but nothing that moves or calculates. Functions can be as simple as a contact form which when filled out and submitted sends the message to a specified email address or as complicated as a online quote system which trawls through thousands of data entries to provide your website users with an answer (an quote amount).
Any good web developer should suggest some functions that would suit your business and can be used on your website but if you come to your developer with a few ideas already then your website will be up and running much quicker than it would otherwise. Some common functions include: Contact Forms, advanced photo and image display, rotating advertising, automatic SEO, blog, social media integration and security and anti hacking features.
The functions you can add to your website are literally endless. Having an idea of the functions you want can save time and time is money.
3. Use a Content Management System (CMS)
It is not often that I say to a client that they don’t need a CMS for their website. The only time I would suggest it is if a website will never or basically never be upgraded. A CMS such as Drupal, Joomla and Wordpress make it easy to update and manage a website without paying +$50 an hour for a developer to do it for you. A CMS makes it easy to make changes to your website and add new content and even add new features. It literally lets your website grow as your business does without needing to resort to expensive upgrades.
For those who don’t know, your browser is the program you use to view pages on the internet. There are many programs you can use but the most popular are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera. Below shows you the number of internet users in the world who use each system.
So why do you need to update your browser? Well, as the internet grows and uses new technology, the browsers also have to adapt so they can read the new technology. Without updating your browser you may not see the website as it is suppose to be seen. In fact, people who currently use Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) are missing out on seeing many of the new technology the internet has to offer. There are millions and millions of websites that cannot be viewed properly by IE6 and if you ask web developers around the world, IE7 and IE8 are also lacking much of the functionality that makes Google Chrome and Firefox the fastest growing browsers in the world.
I always recommend my clients to download Mozilla Firefox as it is free, open source and keeps up to date with new internet advancements to ensure you see a website exactly as it is suppose to be seen. There are also many toolbar add-ons you can use such as Skype which means your browser can be so much more than a browser.
If you are noticing errors in many websites you view, it is probably not the fault of the website but more so the fault of your browser. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest version of your browser and if you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer then I suggest you change to either Firefox or Google Chrome which are much better browser systems. Both these browsers are free.
By having the best and most up-to-date web browser you ensure that you view websites as they are supposed to be viewed and ensure you are exposed to the latest and greatest web 2.0 technologies.