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How to post your website project to get a great web developer.

There are a number of things that everyone should do before contacting their first web developer or web firm. I'll go over where to start, everything you should gather, and how to make sure the person or company you hire is a great fit.

First, you'll need to figure out what type of website you need. Most business websites fit into two categories, E-commerce or Brochure, but that's not to say you can't have a Brochure and E-commerce site mixed. If a website is going to focus more on content and information for your customers where the end goal is to contact your company for its services, you'll be looking for a Brochure style website. If you're looking to sell products online for your company, you'll be looking at an E-commerce site. If you're a company that is creating content and effectively the content is what you want visitors coming back for and you have products that go with this content, you'll be looking for a site that is mixed.

Next, you'll want to start researching online to find potential other companies that do the same thing your companies does. You'll want to write down every search you do and which of your competitors you find under each keyword phrase you do. You will want this list moving forward so you can decide how you want your company to be found on search engines.

While doing the last step you should be making notes on sites and features you find that you like, from image scrollers and company pages to site layouts, colors, images and advanced features. If you aren't finding things that you like on your competitors websites, then you'll want to search other sites or go through template website services to find some; TemplateMonster.com is great for website inspiration. If you need images, don't do a Google search but instead search through a service like Adobe Stock or Shutterstock to find quality images.

Now that you have an idea of the direction you want your website to go, you're going to want to create a site outline that describes your website and its features. I've provided a sample outline below:

  • Home
    • Contact Phone Number
    • Main Content Message
    • Services Callout
  • About
    • Picture
    • Main Content Message
  • Services
    • Header Picture
    • Main Content Message
    • Listed Services and Pricing
  • Contact
    • Address
    • Contact Form
      • Name
      • Email
      • Phone
      • Message
    • Google Map of office Location

This outline should be as detailed as you can make it. You can even go as far as including the content for your content message areas, pictures and other information into the outline. All of this is going to help a web developer or company know what you want. A good rule is to tab in on your outline for any sub-point about a page or feature. This outline cannot be "too" big or "too" detailed.

The last thing you'll want to do is write down any remaining questions you have about your new website. If you have questions on hosting or domains, if you want to know how long the project will take to develop, if you have any say on design before development starts or about possible hidden fees either during development or maintenance costs down the road, write them down. Remember pre-built systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla will have publicly announced vulnerabilities and as such your website will need to be updated regularly to keep you, your data, and your customers information safe.

That's it! While this isn't a short process, getting a website is like having a baby. Gather everything we've talked about together and create a quick summary. Make sure to emphasize any key points you really want and post your ad away. While this won't get rid of every hack out there, it should help the replies you get from developers and start you off in an educated fashion to move forward.

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