The Essential Web Site Check List – Part 1

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My lottery dream* is using my new-found free time to work at a different business for a week for about 30 weeks a year. One of the reasons I love my job is that I kind of get to do that already. I speak with business owners all the time and learn about their companies and what makes them successful.

4 Areas to Explore with any New or Redesigned Web Site

In doing so, I hear about their experiences with having Web sites built either in house or by an outside company. Over the next few blog posts, I will provide you the quintessential check list, detailing 4 points you need to discuss before moving forward. If you never read any of my other blog posts, you need to read this series.

#1: Looks Matter

Let’s start with the obvious: design. Most businesses often don’t think about anything else (which is a huge mistake). Here are a few things you should ask of anyone doing the work for you or outside companies that you hire:

  • What else have they designed? And find out what the actual designer who will be working on your project has done. A firm can take credit for a wide variety of sites, but if they had one or two people that did all the work and those people leave, are you really getting a fair sampling? It can be okay if they haven’t done anything in your field yet if they can showcase a wide variety of styles. Also, be aware especially for Web designers you interview to hire in house that sometimes they work on only one or two aspects of a site. Understand what they’re personally responsible for.
  • Can you give suggestions? It will save a ton of time if you care about the look if you can provide a few sites you like ahead of time to give the designer something to work with. If not, you might not be happy with results (although sometimes I get something completely different than what I asked for and love it better).
  • Do you get any edits? If so how many, and what’s included in the price?
  • Do they use style sheets? Style sheets allow you to keep a consistent look site-wide, allow pages to load faster (because of less data on individual pages) and are very search engine friendly. Most designers are using these now.
  • If you require a lot of bells and whistles for your site, first really consider whether you need them. If you’re sure you do, find out what types of technologies the designers are comfortable with.

You don’t need to ask about degrees. There are a ton of talented people in this field that don’t have graphic design degrees, maybe not even high school or college degrees. Just find out if they can do the work.

Check back tomorrow (or Wednesday just to cover myself since I’ll be out of the office all morning) as soon as I get a chance – jeez have some patience – for more.

Next: Content Management…

P.S. As I’ll mention in each blog post before Friday, heck of a game on St. Patty’s. I was sweating bullets for awhile, but of course America’s team pulled it out. The Commodores will be playing again Friday. The women advanced in the first round, too, and the baseball team is #1 in the country. Could Vandy pull off the unprecedented trifecta?

* It’s certainly better than my old lotto dream. At the press conference when the “journalists” (really – is this news?) asked me what I planned on doing with the money, I’d say quietly “coke and whores” and act as if nothing were wrong.What can I say?I was younger and used to watch too much Conan O’Brien.

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