Make sure that your website is on the right shape when it is turned over to you. I’ve seen and helped some company owners who are disenchanted with the kind of website handed back to them by their web developer/designer. There are a lot of excellent website creators but there remain a few who deliver horrendous result way beyond the agreed timeline. They drown the clients with unnecessary technical jargons pushing them away to have revisions.
Web developer is usually more expensive than web designer. To simplify, the first makes code from scratch while the latter is like a graphic artist that beautifies the page. If your goal is creating simple sites to display your services without a need to code for e-commerce or app usage, for example, then getting a web designer should be okay. Luckily, there are Content Management System (CMS) that is so easy to use like WordPress and Wix. CMS have themes ready to be applied and web designers can produce pretty pages without writing codes.
Before hiring a website team, don’t hesitate to request and identify the following aspects:
Portfolio – authentic rockstars would be proud of their craft and will not refuse to show sample work in reason of confidentiality or busy schedules.
Scope – Ask in detail the task lists. What’s the maximum pages? Will the contents (text and images) come from you or from them? Will they apply basic SEO? Will the website turnover include a live training?
Good to discuss here the expectations of both sides; share your pegs and what do you like to achieve by launching a (new) website. You must also not hesitate to ask questions on the process.
People – Know the people you are working with. Will you talk straight with the developer, or will they have an account manager? For sure, you can skip this part if hiring a freelancer but make sure communication gateway is clear.
Communication – Will they answer a call in the morning via Viber? Can they reply to email within 24 hours? Good to have this stipulated in the agreement as well.
Timeline – Don’t jump into a contract without knowing the schedule. When will they start the preparation? When will they start the migration? When will you go live? How long will they troubleshoot? Sometimes delay happens when there are glitches on the site but doing a troubleshoot should not go more than two weeks.
The moment you get an access to your website, take a look at the following checklist before you proceed with the sign-off:
Proofread your site. Avoid typo and grammar error as it diminishes the professional value of your online presence.
Check each CTA button and hyperlink if working and if it is anchor to the right page.
Photos are not distorted on web and mobile.
Since most traffic comes from mobile, make sure that yours is friendly. Go to this site and find out: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
You can report it back to your web team to make sure they improve the result. Same goes for page speed.
Slow website is not good. Your site visitors (humans and bots) are not very patient to wait for your contents to load. It should be on the good mark based on this test: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
It may take a while before your new website is crawled by Googe-bots. There is no schedule as to when it will visit but give it about two weeks to one month then try this on the search box, type: site:mywebsite.com
Search Engine Results Page (SERP) should generate for you the index pages (this means the pages from your website that it sees).
Another way to make sure it is crawlable is via robots.txt. Try this, type: www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt
You should see something like this:
“User-agent” means search engine robots.
“Allow: /” means you permit the user agent or the bots to crawl your website.
You can revert back to your web team if you see “Disallow: /”, they should be able to fix it quickly. Note that it is okay disallow archive folders or membership private pages.
When your package includes basic SEO, they should be able to sync your site to Google Analytics and Webmaster plus creating meta descriptions based on your identified keywords.
Some on the list may sound complicated but you need to establish an open working relationship with your web team so they can guide you every step of the way.