It is very common practice for businesses large and small to identify a need for a new website, or for a facelift for their existing site, find a web developer, employ them to create a lovely new website and then forget about it for a couple of years; until fashions suggest that their website looks dowdy and old fashioned. Then the process is repeated. This isn’t a good way to go.
When you recruit someone to work on your web presence, you need to consider more than just whether they can show you a portfolio of brilliant websites. Consider whether they understand how your website needs to fit in with your overall digital and marketing strategy and, even more importantly, how well you will be able to work with them. For your website to be really effective, they need, not only to be able to create a pretty website, they must get to know your business and their interest in you needs to continue long after the site has gone live. For best results, you should set up a continuing contractual arrangement that requires them to look after your site and pro-actively feed in suggestions for improvement on an ongoing basis. In this way, your website will never reach the stage where it becomes dowdy, out of fashion and in need to a major and expensive facelift. Any decent web development firm is constantly learning about new trends, techniques, threats, etc. and if you have a good relationship with them they will want to apply these to your particular circumstances and help you to stay ahead of your competition in the digital arena.
In the past, websites were no different from other advertising campaigns. You created something beautiful and compelling and ran it according to its plan. This is no longer the case for most company websites. Websites need to be a more or less permanent face of the organisation and need to be dynamic and interact with their marketplace. The website needs to be at the core of an overall digital and marketing strategy. It needs to interact with and reflect whatever may be going on in any of the firm’s social media circles. It needs to actively promote, reflect and reinforce the company’s overall corporate image. An effective website needs to involve its visitors. This may be through inviting the visitor to join a conversation, helping them by providing some kind of tool or calculator, showing them a video or perhaps providing a game for them to play. Any of these feature require that the website incorporates some programming or scripting, and this needs to be kept up to date, otherwise the site will become insecure and prone to hacking and may also become incompatible with its Internet environment, which itself is constantly changing. All of these things require the ongoing care and attention of a skilled web developer.
So, the moral of this story is: form a long-term relationship with your web developer, love him, make her part of the family, encourage them to contribute to your goals.