Hiring a team to build a website is a big expense. We’ve found that most customers approach website updates with a less than enthusiastic “I guess we have to do this”—and understandably so! These days, needing a new website is like needing a new roof on your home. Neither one is “fun,” but they’re essential.
In the same way you’d have a list of questions for a contractor who’s putting a roof on your home, it’s important to know what to ask the team that’s building your new website. But when your expertise is in dealing with more tangible things, like most manufacturing and distribution leaders we work with, navigating the digital landscape (and finding a vendor you can trust) is especially tricky.
That’s where we come in! Whether you’re planning a website update or a complete rebuild, here are a few things to think about and questions to ask when searching for the right partner.
How much will a new website cost?
Websites are a significant investment and when a potential partner is putting together a proposal for you, the price will depend on what functionalities are needed for your business. Features like customer portals, ordering and payment forms, for example, all add an extra layer of security needs and dev requirements that will drive up the cost of a site. Plus, once your website is built, there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes to help it climb the ranks on Google.
If someone tells you they can build you a site for $10-20k that will drive leads and get you Google rankings on page one, they aren’t telling you the truth.
Reputable website partners will probably start with an exercise that will allow them to evaluate your current site, then meet with your team to determine your goals and create a realistic plan that drives results.
What’s included in the price?
When a potential website partner hands you the price you’ll pay for your new site, make sure they outline what is included in the price. Any vendor who really wants to help you succeed will have no problem helping you understand what you’re signing up for when you work with them. They should be able to break these things down in a way that a non-marketing person can understand them.
- Will they interview subject matter experts at your organization to make sure they fully understand your business?
- Will they update your website copy using information from your team?
- Will they optimize the new copy to boost your SEO rankings? (aka: helping search engines show your website to more people who are searching for your services online)
- Will they visit your facility to take photos and videos for the site, or will they select and purchase stock photography?
- Are they building a way for potential customers to submit inquiries, and then funnel those inquiries to your team?
How long will it take?
After your team has worked out what will be required for your new site, they should be able to give you a timeline for the launch.
Huge disclaimer here: These deadlines are flexible. Sometimes developers will get into a project or site they’re updating and realize additional work is needed. It’s like opening up the walls of a historic house—you never know what you’ll find until you really get in there. Additional work requires additional time, so that may lead to an extended timeline for your project. This is perfectly normal and while your team will try to keep your initial timeline on track, delays may come up, so it’s important for this expectation to be set in the early part of the relationship.
Do you have examples of other sites you’ve built?
In the same way you’d want to know if a contractor installing a new roof is a first-timer or a seasoned roofer, you’ll want to ask your vendor for examples of other websites they’ve built. Websites for industrial or B2B businesses have their own set of requirements, so it’s important to take into consideration if this vendor has worked with businesses similar to yours in the past, and if they’ve been successful.
One thing we do is create case studies for the websites we launch to show potential customers the capabilities we’ve developed for other industrial manufacturers and distributors, and outline the initial results we’ve seen from these web updates. This helps give customers an idea of what is possible when building their own site.
If you’ve been thinking your company needs a new website and don’t know where to start, these questions give you an easy framework for vetting potential website partners and finding one that best fits your business.
Ask a Website Expert
Bring your biggest questions to us and we’ll help you make a clear plan for your new website. Call us anytime at 314-754-8712 or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to schedule a time to talk.