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Any Internet company worth their salt will need a website specification and/or some kind of plan, as to what it is you want them to quote on so they can then come back to you with all kinds of relevant information on producing a business orientated website for your customer base. This should demonstrate how the site can drive sales leads and really focus the business online with quality design, strong calls to action and a site that promotes you as the best in the field of what you do, so the $64,000 is question is how do you come up with this?
I like it when a customer can produce a number of documents and help you help them, it may be you both site down and ‘thrash’ it out, I have seen layouts on post if notes, A3 pads – basically whatever helps clarify what you require will help a web company.
Here are the top 3 questions I ask my customers to understand what they really need and what their web specs should look like:
1) What do you do, business wise, products you may sell, and how do you achieve this currently?
This is your opportunity to ‘sell’ you business, you are approaching web companies so they can help you, and the best way for them to help you is to understand what it is you do.
2) What do you want the website to achieve — to lower costs, sell into new markets or simply get new sales leads?
There may be opportunities here to have demonstrated new ways of doing something; email marketing for instance is very cost effective compared with print. A company I worked for recently just wanted to reduce their reliance on mail order so I helped them go online and in 2 years their site has turned over £1 million, and from a standing start this is very good.
3) What system have you in place to develop and manage this site through the build stages to launch, in terms of in house contact through to PR an ongoing budget when the site is launched?
I believe this is one of the most important aspects of a web development and often overlooked, just who will provide the copy? Who is going to sign off the design? Etc etc. Then when the site is due to go live, any pre PR planned even if a holding page to collect data upto the launch date itself all needs to be planned and budgeted for, you shouldn’t just rely on the site going live and there you go, let’s sit back and watch the leads/sales roll on in – IT WONT HAPPEN.
Any web company worth their salt will take you through the whole process from start to finish and guide you through the opportunities – some of which you may never have heard off or thought off – it’s their job.
And finally we always like to know a timescale and budget as realistically the only thing that constrains a site is the client brief and budget, you may now want to give one but it doesn’t half help.
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