If you are considering a website re-design, here is a checklist of what to consider.
Research. Start to find websites that you like and bookmark them – make a list. Notate what you like about each one.
Budget. How much are you willing to spend on this project. Keep in mind when getting quotes, you always go over-budget with the time it will ultimately take to complete the website.
Features. Make a list of all the features you MUST have, features that would be nice to have, and ones that you can do without if they don’t fit into the budget.
Get Quotes. Once you have all of this information together, you can then ask for quotes on a website re-design.
Things to consider for a website re-design:
Website platform. Will they develop on a WordPress platform? Will they customize a theme or develop a custom theme just for you? If they develop a custom theme, how will they handle updates to both the WordPress Software and Plugins, maintenance and changes to content?
Security. What about security – how do they handle security? Will they install security plugins and if so which ones? Does the plugin require an annual fee? If your site is hacked, what can do they to help? At the very minimum you need to monitor login attempts and file changes. Wordfence, Securi and iThemes Pro are good options.
Hosting. Will the company host? If so, how much per year or month do they charge?
Email. Will they include email hosting? Do you get a cPanel to manage emails or will they do it for you – if so, how much will they charge for management?
SSL Certificate. Will you accept payment on the website? If so, you need to install an SSL Certificate.
Plugins. What is the company’s philosophy on installing plugins? Plugins are what make the website work in any way you want it to work. If you don’t use plugins, a coder needs to code the site to get it to work the same way (which costs more money and might have updating issues).
Backup. Will the company manage a daily, weekly, or monthly backup? How many backups will they store and will they store those backups off-site (onto another server for safe-keeping)? If your site crashes, have a security breach, etc, will they re-store the site using a backup?
Search Engine Optimization. Will they charge more for keyword research, adding an SEO plugin, updating each page with targeted keywords, changing image Alt Tags, internal linking of pages, designing a hierarchy of website pages, etc.? Or will they set up the site and you then need to go back in and update keywords and linking?
301 Redirects. If you currently have a website, you probably have some links to your website from other sources. When you re-deisgn your website, each page on the current website has a URL that needs to get preserved. If you change the page names, the URL is changed. The source website linking to your site will have a 404 Error. Google doesn’t like to see this. Make sure the website developer handles this with the htaccess file to control 301 redirects.
If you do not want to be tied to any website company after the website is completed, meaning you do not want to constantly ask them to update content and wait for them to get around to it, then look for these things in a quote:
Standard WordPress Theme that is not customized to a point of having updating issues. It’s OK to change code to make a theme look or perform to your ideal, however, too much coding can cause the site to crash when updated.
Login access. You would need admin user access for managing the site yourself.
Plugins. Use trusted plugins but only the bare minimum. Too many plugins cause the site to go too slow, thus upsetting Google.
Backup. Set up a Backup program using a cloud storage site such as Amazon S3 or Dropbox. Schedule at least weekly backups that are downloaded and stored on your cloud account for safe keeping. Save at least the past 2 months backups off-site before deleting older versions in case you need to roll back the site due to hacking.
Security. Install a security plugin to protect the site with an email monitoring feature. Get an update from the plugin via email if there is any suspicious activity on the site.
As you are evaluating website companies, understanding all the parts involved with website development helps you better compare the quotes.