Questions to Ask When Shopping for a New Website

by | May 16, 2013 | At Checkerboard, Integrated Marketing, Social Media, Web Development | 0 comments

When shopping for a new website it can be difficult to make apples-to-apples vendor comparisons.  There are so many options and let’s face it, it isn’t something you do every day.  Below are some questions you should get answered before you make your decision.  I have included how we answer them as well:

Can my new site be controlled by our customer-facing staff?  Web communications should be handled by customer service and sales people, using their existing skills plus easy-to-use tools that are now available. Through our build process, we define the tasks and actions you want assigned to your staff, bend WordPress to your needs, document the process and train/support your staff.

How will my new website and social media content tie in with my current processes and routine? New content creation shouldn’t be an overwhelming task. It is smart to tap into what is already being created for other areas of the business, because tweaking it may make much of it useful for your website, social media and email programs. We can show you how to adjust your processes so that your content can be utilized in targeted search engine optimization or to stay connected with your current customers.

How can I target locally?  With the right tool set and processes in place, all you should need to do is provide good content by talking about what you do and who you serve. We can help you localize a website to your area. Hear from our customers.

Does it support a team?  The industry standard tools available today can support you, your team and your approval processes.  Make sure any new site you build is geared toward action and there is not a technical barrier between you and your customers.

Am I stuck with this vendor for the life of the site?  Maintaining code is expensive.  Unless you plan on having a full-time developer or throwing away your site every few years, I suggest utilizing industry standard tools.  We focus on marketing and lead generation. The best tool available for that is WordPress, which is widely supported.  Why choose WordPress?

Will it replace my sales force? Sadly, no.  Just as email and the phone before it, a website and good marketing program will not replace human interaction. It should, however, give you a tool set, the processes and training to utilize the new tools to stay connected with your customers and potential clients on a regular basis.

thispageDoes it work on mobile phones?  Your new website should be “responsive”, which means the content automatically adjusts to the monitor and device that is reading it. Most of our starter frameworks are responsive.  Here scan this code to view this page on your phone.

Will it grow with me? It is important to have a system flexible enough to handle your current traffic and the direction your business may go in the future.  Your ongoing marketing efforts should build on what you have done in the past.  If you are constantly throwing away your old site, you are starting over way too often.  Having a system that can grow with you has multiple benefits including avoiding complete retraining of your staff.

What happens when I want a new site? You shouldn’t have to start from scratch every time you want to refresh your approach. Every piece of content you add to your site builds your overall search profile. Erasing this data every 2-4 years is effectively starting your SEO over. Make sure that you will be able to change your site’s design while maintaining the tool set on which your staff is trained and  maintaining your search content. Our processes and tool set allow for this.

Can I or my team easily build landing pages for campaigns? The answer should be yes. You should be given the tools and training to build simple pages and forms.

Is it scale-able?  Make sure the system on which your site is built can handle more traffic.  Our highest visited customers are getting more than five million visits annually. If Ford can run its marketing program on these tools, most of our customers can use them as well. You can start with minimal hosting fees and increase your hosting program as new traffic dictates.  I have never seen increased traffic become a problem.  Having traffic patterns large enough to require larger hosting is a good thing.

Is it portable?  You shouldn’t be tied to one hosting provider. Our sites are easily moved.

How can I measure success?  It is important to discuss your objectives and how they will be measured.  This should be handled in the planning process.  We document your goals and the metrics that will need to be followed.  Each site build includes set up and configuration of Google Analytics to your needs.

Will the vendor do what they say they will? There are really two things to look for. First, is your vendor honest and trustworthy? Second, are there processes in place to define expectations before the build starts? We have built more than 100 sites on this tool set and know the questions to ask to help assure you get what you ask for.

How do I draw new customers through organic searches? Optimize your site AND optimize the process for adding content. SEO is not about a tech guy in the basement fiddling with code. It is about utilizing a tool set to communicate with your customers and prospects. That tool set should be constantly improving and building your search profile with each new piece of content you add.

Does it integrate with social media? Social media is a tool to communicate with your customers. Of course it should work in conjunction with your website. Your website should lead people to your social media, and should streamline the processes for content distribution.

When I get a customer, does it provide tools to stay connected? A website should integrate with your email nurturing/marketing program, and build a database of customers and prospects with whom you can easily communicate on a regular basis. We streamline processes to include SEO, social media and email marketing.

Can it handle the updates I would like to make? This is essential. Our planning process includes defining the types of updates you will be making and the promotional channels into which they should be funneled. Once that process is defined, we build the system around your needs, document the process, train and support your staff.

Will I be able to use it? Your website should be built using industry standard tools that allow for online marketing. That should assure there is a lot of support available. If you can handle your Facebook page or Microsoft Word you should be in good shape with a website that we build for you.

Can it help my business? Your website should be a smart business investment. Our websites are geared to our clients’ goals which typically focus on: keeping what they’ve got, growing what they’ve got and looking for more customers. We set goals in our campaign directives and make sure that the metrics are tracked.  Read how this contractor’s experience went with us.

Will it help me control my online reputation?  The Internet has given the average person a voice and has greatly empowered the consumer.  This same tool set is available to you through your Web and social programs.  It is more important than ever to fill the Internet with positive content about your business.

Will it track advertising? Our clients can.

How much time am I going to have to invest?  This is a wonderful question.  The overall time invested in building a new site depends on the route you take to get your site. You can build a very low-end site on a shoestring budget, then through investment in time get it to a place where it is making you money.  We provide our customers with a better starting position.  You get a site you can control with a lot of the basic functions already optimized.

How much should I spend?  This depends on your commitment to getting your site up to speed.  Over the last couple of years, we have built more than 100 sites on this platform. We have come to understand where most business owners and marketing managers can start on a solid foundation.  Our full planning, build, train and support packages typically start at between 8-12K.

How do I get started with Checkerboard?  Contact Alicia to schedule an appointment to discuss your needs.  We can provide a quick demo, discuss your needs and go through our set of questions so you can leave the meeting with an estimate.

Start Your Project Today!

Call us for a free consultation at 612.787.7483

Build Your Site

Our Best in Market builds give you everything you need to get your marketing moving in the right direction.  You can count on us to build a solid foundation using industry standard tools that will help you get found in search, and grow with you over time.

Grow Your Business

Our monthly programs are customized to the specific needs of each individual client. Regardless of whether your budget is big or small, we’ll use the same strategies that are proven effective for helping reach your goals.

Support Your Team

Fast, responsive support from professionals who know what they are doing.  Support and maintenance programs available.

2960 Judicial Road, Suite 230

Burnsville, MN 55337


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