The first point to consider perhaps is why you need a website in the first place. What purpose is it going to serve? A website could be built for many different purposes. It could serve as a personal site, a business site or it could be a charitable site; or for that matter it could be for hundreds of other purposes. You will need to identify yours very clearly. Because that is the only way you could communicate the same to the designer who in turn will come up with an appropriate website so that your objectives and goals from the website are met. It may also be a good idea to communicate the budget you have for the project as many important decisions regarding the website will rely on how much you are willing to spend on the site.
The Type of Website Required
There are many types of website the designer can suggest to you depending on your budget and, of course, your requirement. Two major types that all websites can be classified into would be Static and Dynamic.
Static websites are usually simple html type and usually cannot be modified by the user. If your requirement is for a simple website whose content is not going to change for a long time, then you might as well opt for this option. If you require some changes after a few months or a year down the line, you might as well just ask the designer to do these changes for you and pay the designer for his time. It could be very economical in the long run. However, this is only suitable where changes are not required very frequently to the website.
Dynamic websites are usually database driven and make use of some sort of server side scripts like asp.net or PHP to make the website interactive. Usually the website information is stored in a database and retrieved and shown to the user as and when required. The website usually has an Administrative panel or Dashboard from where users can edit or add more content to the website. Templates make sure that right styling and formatting automatically gets added to the new content added by you. They are also known as CMS or Content Management Systems. A few examples of popular CMS would be WordPress, Blogger, Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke etc. CMS, as the name suggests, help in management of content in a website. Different CMS may be implemented for different purposes depending on your requirement. Therefore, it is a good idea to clearly convey your requirements to the designer, who then can suggest the best fit for your website.
Ecommerce websites also fall within the category of Dynamic websites and employ some sort of CMS to manage the content on the website. Some popular open source CMS used for ecommerce websites include NopCommerce, Magento, osCommerce, OpenCart etc.
Choosing The Right Web Design Company
It is also important to choose the right web design company for your web design project. Though it is not a bad idea to get quotes from a few companies, however, overdoing is not recommended. Hunting for the cheapest company is often the biggest mistake that people make when considering a web designer. Price may definitely be a deciding factor, but do not let this be the only deciding factor. It is important that the designer or Design Company has relevant years of experience in the web design industry. Ask for examples of sites they have developed or designed in the past. It will give you an indication of their design capabilities and industry knowledge. International exposure of the web design company could be seen as an added advantage as that means that the company is experienced and proficient in dealing with variety of clients.
Design Matters But Leave The Design To The Designer
The design of the website is important. It is important that it conveys and right message to the end user and right amount of professionalism too. This does not mean in any way that you take charge of the design process and dictate to the designer how the website should be. That is definitely not the right way. You know your business and your business objectives better than others and the designer or the design company knows how to achieve it online. Very often clients try to force their personal bias on the designer, not realizing that their personal bias may be counterproductive and may not get the results from the end users as expected. However, it is also the responsibility of the designer to explain to the client why he has chosen a particular type of website.
Remember, that just because you have worked a little bit on Photoshop, or Paint, or have designed your logo in Word, does not make your design knowledge is on par with the designer. Building a successful website goes far beyond the mere knowledge of Photoshop. And you must acknowledge that, otherwise, you harm yourself more than anybody else. Put too much pressure on the designer, and the poor guy may just do what you ask him to. So you get a website that YOU like, but may fail to get the desired results.
So you see; a lot depends on your web designer or Web Design Company, so choose wisely.
SEO & SMO Considerations
Once your website is complete, ask what options your design company offers for SEO and SMO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and SMO stands for Social Media Optimization. Both are interlinked now and play an important role in how your website is ranked in the major search engines. This is a very important aspect that many people overlook. There are millions of websites similar to yours and just leaving it on chance alone to be found online is not going to be much helpful. Because those who are among the top 10 are definitely doing something and that is why they are there.
These are just some of the broad points that one should consider when designing their website.