How to choose the right website provider


In October 2021, there were 1.2 billion websites in the world … and along with that brings loads of self-labelled ‘web design specialists’ to match this rising demand.

Founder / Head of Growth
July 22, 2022
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

In October 2021, there were 1.2 billion websites in the world … and along with that brings loads of self-labelled ‘web design specialists’ to match this rising demand.

We meet more and more clients who have had bad experiences during the creation of their websites, and we wanted to share six tips to consider to ensure that  you have a better experience in your web design endeavours.

1. Choosing the right web platform

One of the most important things you'll need to do when choosing the right website builder or agency to create a website for your business is to ensure that they are prepared to use out-of-the-box platforms. These include WordPress, Squarespace, and many others available on a subscription basis as theme design templates that you can use to then build from.

When you use a common platform, it means the provider of that platform performs regular updates and offers many different plugins to ensure it works the best way it can for their users – you. This is also one of the most cost-effective ways to create your own website.

The likelihood that your business will need a 100% bespoke website would be almost nil, so it’s a great plan to start with a well-known, well-supported platform that you can manage once built.

2. Developing content for your website

Who will be managing the creation or the redevelopment of any copywriting or content required for your website? If you're speaking with an independent website developer, they are less likely to also be someone who can write your web content as that's not their specialty.

This highlights that you need to understand what any proposal and fees include, from the outset, as there may be an expectation that you’ll provide the content and this may not be your 'bag'.

Content writing is a specialised skill set. Good content writers for the web have a thorough understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and the know-how to write for the online channels to ensure you can capture as much high-quality organic traffic as possible.

It’s really important to agree upfront if you’re writing the content or they are, and if you are asked to, that they provide you with a thorough list of keywords you can keep in mind when crafting your copy. They may even suggest some SEO tools to use.

3. Providing imagery for your website

You can, of course, get free stock images and they are available for use on a lot of web platforms. However, you really want that imagery to be authentic and true to the business that you have and resonate with internet users, we suggest you take a bit more time and have your own images taken.

Often you can see the same free stock image used on multiple websites, across social media, and used in online marketing.

We recommend that if your website is going to have images of you, your products and/or your team, that you include the cost of professional photography in your budget for the overall website creation.

There are a lot of 'photographers' out there - many are very reasonably priced, especially if they’re trying to build their portfolio. Let us know if you’d like a recommendation as we work with several amazing photographers.

4. Project management of your website build

Lock down the timings of your website project with your provider, before you start working on it.

Managing expectations is key to a successful project, especially if someone is working on your site as a side hustle alongside their ‘day jobs'. Firm up a timeline before you agree to any contract. This will also give you an idea of what you need to provide them with and when, and give them a deadline by setting these expectations up front.

For a really basic or free website that you’re providing all of the content and imagery for, you might be looking at anything between two to four weeks for the turnaround. Another hint is to have regular check-ins along the way so there are no surprises.

5. Set up your website performance measurement at the beginning

Most websites we start managing for our clients have little or no tracking implemented in the backend when we receive them.

Website performance measurement is very important because you need to know if your website is helping or hurting your business growth. It’s important to know how many people are visiting your site and what they're doing when they get there. What content have you spent time creating that people are reading? This will give you a good feel of what content topics you’ll want to focus on next. Tracking will also give you a view of trends over time including what has happened when changes have been made to the website and what impact they had.

Tracking also gives you an idea of where your traffic is coming from, including your organic traffic. Organic traffic can be measured by how easily your website is found online and will indicate to you if the backend information is working, this includes your metadata and tags.

So make sure whoever's creating your website for you, creates a Google Analytics account for your domain and ensures all of your goals or tracking are implemented (i.e. how many forms were filled out etc). This should be a quick job - i.e. no dev required.

Google Analytics isn’t something you have to look at daily, but it's really helpful if you want to market in the future to be able to understand what's been happening on your website until that point.

6. Ongoing management of your site

When you do appoint a website designer or developer to create your website for you, make it very clear to them that you would like training on how to update it and do the tasks you need to do, including adding blogs or updating your Team page.

Ensure a training session is included in their fee to make sure that you understand how to do the basics yourself (or someone on your team), how to use basic SEO tools, and that you don't have to rely on high priced hourly fees to do this moving forward.

Over time, your website builder may become unavailable and this can become a tricky situation for website owners who wish to optimise or upgrade their website.

It's essential that you understand how to action basic changes on your website. Your website design specialist needs to provide you with an agreeable terms of service, customer support, and all the appropriate logins and user guides you need in order to have that control over your own website.