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September 01, 2010

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

Evaluating A Website Development Company

Now that you’ve looked at your strengths and figured out what you’re looking for it’s time to interview prospective firms.  Here are some important questions to consider when evaluating a company:

1.   Will The Website’s Architecture Be Search Engine Friendly'

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the lifeblood of any website.  SEO techniques help the search engines read your website and then index it based on its content.  If the engines can’t read it properly then your rankings in the search engines will suffer. 

Make sure that the CMS of your website is build around SEO techniques.  The elements of your website’s architecture that will influence your rankings include the:

  • File and directory system
  • File names and extensions
  • Navigation menus
  • Entry points / pages (e.g. landing pages)
  • Robots.txt file
  • Title Tags
  • Error pages & 301 redirects
  • Site map
  • Introduction pages and dynamic content

Will It Grow With You'

You’re about to invest a lot of money into your website so it’s important to ascertain its full growth potential. Clarify if any additional features can be added to the CMS in the future.  Find out if you can give the website a facelift from time to time without modifying the CMS.  Determining the answers to these questions could potentially save you money in the future.

3.     Will The Company Provide System Updates'

Make sure the company provides you with a detailed, written breakdown of what updates/modifications are included in your fee.  Ideally you’ll be looking for a system that will provide you with enhancements or updates regularly without an added cost.

4.     Is The System Specifically Designed For The Apartment Rental Industry'

This is an important consideration. For years, landlords in the US have been building their websites on specialized CMSs that have been specifically designed for the apartment rental industry.  Their modules have been pre-built and customized from the ground up to satisfy the performance needs of the landlords. Landlord Web Solutions now offers Canadian landlords the same opportunity to build their website on a customized CMS that has been specifically designed for the apartment rental industry.

5.     Is The Content Management System A Standalone Program Or Is It An Extension Of An Existing Product'

With these systems you should always consider if the database structure is ideal for building websites. Does their team have expert designers and programmers on staff'  Will the CMS reach your goals, both short-term and long-term' Do they specialize in website development as their core business, or is it something they do secondary and in moderation'

Some of these points may seem a bit complex or technical, but they are worth asking.  Remember, you’re spending good money to get things done right and you need to avoid costly mistakes.  Selecting the best website development company could mean the difference between building a mediocre website for today or a top performing website for today and for years to come.