Small business websites are crucial if a small business is expecting to have a chance of drawing customers. The website becomes the image for the small business that is starting out. A small business website can also hurt the chances for the business to grow. The small business website has varied uses and it also brings considerable concerns going forward from the ground up.
The importance of a small business having a website can be a no brainer. With that notion of it being a no-brainer; there, is the risk of taking it lightly. This piece will address, from a lawyer’s perspective, what a small business should keep in mind when starting its website. One focal point is the selection and handling of the web person who will design the website. The other focal point is to determine the role the web person will have. Subsequent piece will discuss legal factors of the web designer’s delivery of the work.
Like any business endeavor the selection of a web designer should not be taken lightly. After all, as a startup, your are considering spending life’s savings or a small business loan and you do not want it to go south on you in the first six months because of the image, or lack thereof, a website gives the market place about your business. Checking the web designer’s own website may not be as scary as observing the hair style of a potential new hair dresser. Some can attest that there are hair dressers who have hair styles that are not to the liking of many. As such, a web designer’s website may not be what is fit and proper for your business model.
Aside from looking at the web designer’s website, consider reviewing their clientele portfolio. That will tell you if that web designer has worked on sites that fit the ‘look’, ‘feel’, and ‘purpose’ of your intended site. You can also learn, from this review the web designer’s overall experience administering sites. This last point delves into the possible administrative role a web designer can have for a website. That decision is a separate one, but it does need to be addressed early on in the life of the startup’s website.
Having a sit-down interview with the prospective web designer is highly important. Do pay attention to what the designer’s focus is and get a proposal from the web designer. Get a prototype of what the designer is envisioning for you in order to ensure that both you and the web designer are on the same page. Do note that the web designer may not have the experience of handling the development of a site that sells services, or sells products, but just has the experience of designing a site for looks and appeal but not the functionality of an ecommerce site. Many designers are extremely adept of designing a site just to enhance one’s presence on the web and not feature products or services or stimulate search engine optimization (SEO). As the web designer shows the sites of previous clientele check their rankings and ask what process the web designer was involved in to generate the client’s ranking or was it through a third-party service.
In reviewing the potential web designer, it is important that a contract be drawn that delineates work schedule stages, payment stages, testing, and performance assessments. A website’s success is contingent on it being functional, not only appealing with graphics and images. The functional aspect of the website and the expectation of the website’s function will tell of what experience potential customers will have while on the website. Final point on the review, ensure that last payment will not be issued until ‘all’ expectations are met; that’s why you need a contract. A small business website, after all, is the face of the business and there is a lot to consider in its beginnings for a business’ success.