Make Sure Your Website is Editable
In the early days of websites, it was common for developers to build each page manually and the business model of a fee per page was created. This was perfectly acceptable in the 90s, however, I strongly believe that with modern technology your website should be editable. You should be able to at least edit your text and ideally be able to add new pages, blog/news content, and pictures without the need for additional expensive development.
Make Sure You Own Your Site
It is great to be able to add pages of new content to your website. However, as your website grows it becomes one of your biggest assets. Your domain name, site structure, and page content all get indexed in the search engines. The last thing you want to do is start all over again.
If you spend time building up your website you need to know that you own the asset you have created. Often is the case that the company who built your website will not let you take it with you if you need to leave them. This is because many companies use their own proprietary software for building client websites. If they go out of business or you decide to part company with them, it could mean having to start your website again. This is a disaster, even a careful rebuild can have adverse effects on your search engine position.
This can be easily avoided by asking the right questions before getting involved with a company. Just ask them…
- Is your software proprietary or open source? What is it called?
- Can I move my site in the future?
- What is your export/website transfer procedure when a customer leaves you?
These may be slightly uncomfortable questions to ask, but they can help you avoid ending up at a dead-end should you ever need to move your website.
For example, you would not lease a shop if your shop name was tied to the lease and you were not permitted to move your business to new premises, so why would you do it with your website? Make sure that the web developers are using the software you have access to and make sure that you can take your website with you should you need to leave them without having to start from scratch. Also, make sure that you can get regular backups of your site.
We are very open about this. We use WordPress and at the time of writing this, our web host is WPEngine.com. When you employ our services you are paying for our expertise, not our software.