Friday, December 18, 2009

Web design warning signs: #10 - No Ongoing Plan

This is the first in a series of 10 posts that address the top signs that you have a terrible Web design firm. At my company we often get asked the question of what to look for in a Web design firm. Sometimes it can be better to ask what NOT to look for. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be outlining red flags that you should be on the lookout for when tackling a Web design project.

#10 – No Ongoing Plan

One of my personal pet peeves in Web design, which I see far too often, is that projects are imagined and then pitched as one time initiatives. Most Web sites are not a static product to be designed and launched once. They should be dynamic and changing and evolve over time with the needs of your company.

Many companies make the mistake of redesigning their Web site as a one-time event, when they should really be putting a platform in place for the ongoing evolution of their online presence. Effective Web sites need to be updated and changed over time as you business evolves, but too often a Web design firm will build a site and then disappear.

Ask the following questions when redesigning your Web site and think of your site as dynamic, leaving and breathing entity that needs to be fed and managed:

- How easy is the site to update?
- What’s the plan for upgrades?
- How is SEO managed on an ongoing basis? How are keywords and meta tags updated?
- What’s the process for adding new features or optimizing existing ones?
- How is ongoing reporting handled?
- If we need to switch to a new platform, what is the process for exporting data, content and design templates?

If your Web design company is not asking these questions or presenting solutions for these items, you have the wrong firm. Chances are they’ll be gone or out of business when you need to make updates.

Read the full series: Top 10 Web Design Warning Signs