Important Issues For Website Development
Customer Question - I have received a website proposal from multiple companies and individuals. I want to know if the designers are good for us. Can you guide us ?
Kaytek Answer - Your above question has two parts. First, on the quality of the designers and second on their suitability for your organization.
Website Design Team Experience
As regards the first part, one has to judge the earlier work done by them & also on the skills and background of their staff who will be working on your website.
As you would be aware, the attrition and turnover rates of software people is very high in India.
Hence, it is important that your website project team is stable not only during the development of the website but after the same has been completed to ensure continous support and maintenance to your organization.
Static & Dynamic Content
As you would be kindly aware, static websites (like electronic brochures) are being increasingly replaced by dynamic websites (where the content is fresh and updated regularly - e.g. like a daily newspaper or weekly/ monthly magazine) and personality / issue driven weblogs.
Hence, having continous support and backup is very important.
Evolving Web Technologies
An additional problem is that technologies keep changing very fast as the Internet is a very fast evolving dynamic medium.
As the Web itself is very young ( approximately a decade young), new technologies keep arriving at suitable frequencies.
It is desirable that the web technical team be abreast of the new technologies and constantly update the website if possible with these new technologies so that the website appears fresh and contemporary at all times.
Website As Your Most Important Digital Infrastructure Asset
e.g. in today's increasingly digital world, most people make the first impression of an organization from it's website in order to decide as to whether they want to do business with that organization or not.
It is an increasingly important piece of digital infrastructure of an organization's business strategy.
Which brings me to the second part of your question above.
Documented Requirements Based On Your Business Objectives
Try to prepare a RFP - Request for Proposal document for your website development project.
A RFP is a document given by a customer to a vendor specifying the requirements from the software.
In case there is no RFP, you have to decide as to what are your basic requirements from your website.
You need to sit down with your boss and your internal team and decide as to what are the business objectives that you need the website to fulfill on a log run sustained basis.
Having determined the business objectives, chart out a requirements list which should be agreed internally by your entire internal colleagues and peers.
This requirements list should then be mapped to website goals, timelines which should be agreed both internally and externally by the website implementing agency.
Once you prepare such a standard agreed upon requirements list , you would be in a better position to qualitatively judge the various website development proposals that you will receive from various vendors.
The Web - Step By Step
Will the website be just an awareness medium or will it be a transactional medium ?
Will your website visitors be able to execute business transactions with your organization e.g. book orders, make payments, schedule service appointments, view their order status, check their product configuration, etc. ?
If Yes, How ?
If Not, why not ?
Perhaps you can start first with your website being an awareness medium and later make it into a transactional medium based on the strengths and capabilities of your other internal software systems (e.g. accounting softare, sales order booking, inventory software etc) and their technology integration possibilities with the website.
The Web Is A Global 24 X 7 X 365 Days Medium
Will the website be designed for visitors from your country or foreign visitors from all over the globe or both ?
You may shut your office by evening but your website is live for your visitors from any other part of the planet.
Understand Your Website Visitor Profile
It is important that the profile of a typical web visitor is understood before design of the same is done.
e.g. if you visit our website's home page, there are clearly demarcated sections for the 2 main divisions of our company - Consulting and
Hardware on the main page itself.
Also, 4 different types of visitor profiles have been identified by us and possible areas of interest are marked on the main page itself.
These 4 profiles are Business Executives, Business Owners & Entrepreneurs(on the left hand side) and IT Companies and Individual Career Seekers on the right hand side.
You perhaps need to do a similar analysis for your organization and understand as to who will be likely to visit your website on a regular basis.
Setting up a website is easy, it is difficult to get regular visitors on a consistent basis.
Paretto Law Analysis Of Visitor Profile
Ideally, you should do a Paretto's Law Analysis (80% of your business is accounted for by 20% of the customers) and design your website for these critical 20% customers or other similar critical web visitor profiles.
Which brings me to the last point that is important to your website design and construction project - A feasible cost determination of the initial website development and ongoing support services.
As in all professional services, rates are quoted based on an estimate of the number of professional person-hours that will go into the project (both during initial construction and later on during support) multiplied by their professional rate per person-hour.
You need to get a break-up of both these rates from them based on the design elements proposed by them in the website.
Website Costs can vary vastly depending on the features, complexity, size (e.g. Kaytek website has more than 750 + webpages) and other factors.
Perhaps you could start with a simple website for creating a web presence and based on it's success, move on to incorporating transactional elements on your website where the costs could be higher.