THIS ARTICLE IS WORK IN PROGRESS
When I first met with my web developer Warran Bolton, Owltree Web Solutions, I really appreciated him starting by asking me a series of questions, to which I was able to answer very precisely.
He went on to say that I was only the second client that had done all the research correctly. However, when he asked about functionality and content I was able to show him what I needed subject to his expert opinion. If fact I had created a wireframe using the' tables function' of MS Word.
He said that my scope of work only required minor adjustments and the fact that I had done the research and produce my own wireframe on one file, he also said it would save me a whole bunch of money.
Remember you alone never have the copyright or patent to a good idea. I asked several people I know who are commercially astute to critique my content before publication. They came up with a few ideas that were better than mine.
Many clients and indeed Warran Bolton have both asked me to write an article on how I produced the detailed scope of work for my new website.
I have spoken with many of my clients and other business acquaintances. All have said that generating content for their websites was difficult. A frighteningly high percentage said that they delegate this to their web developer, I have a challenge with this mindset because the person who should best understand a business should be the owner(s) or director(s) and it should be them that make the first attempt to generate text content. Knowing that the first attempt to write any document is the hardest, the person who starts MUST NOT get offended if someone else makes suggestions for changes.
I will attempt to keep this article as non-technical as possible and use plain English without jargon or acronyms.
Getting a website right is NOT easy but there is a simple step by step process, however, what I do know is that if you miss any steps out, your chances of failure will significantly increase.
In my view, there is no such thing as getting a professional website done cheaply (less than £1,000 even for a small website). Do not be programmed by others, cheap websites almost always look like it was created by Joe Blow the ragman, who did in his garden shed. Also, it is impossible to set a budget without gaining an overview of the pricing structures that different web developers use and compare the results.
I asked myself 'what are the motivations for wanting a website' My list included the following: (the bullets coloured green applied to me)
This was tricky, I couldn't come up with the right domain name and certainly one that was available. So I asked for help from a good friend who was commercially astute, and he came up with the right one within minutes. I was clearly too close to the challenge.
My domain name isn't perfect I would have preferred a derivative of HBP (some else has the .co.uk domain). A point of advice with is to make sure your domain name is as short as possible and easy to explain verbally so that others can enter your domain name into a search engine whilst speaking with them on the telephone.
If you already have a domain name that is delivering acceptable results keep it, even if does not satisfy the above. You may negatively affect your search engine rankings.
My requirements where simple:
The above appears to be only a short list, putting this into action can only be done by experts such as Owltree Web Solutions.
There is absolutely no point having a website if it can't be found. SEO is a process like any other in that it must be best practice driven. My definition or best practice: a structured process to make sure things happen the right way, on each and every occasion.
What I have found out that there are more people that talk nonsense about SEO than know what they are talking about and most charge a king's ransom and deliver nothing. That said there are some SEO experts who like all experts charge accordingly for their services. An example is Neil Patel. He and his team are clearly very talented, but I find his videos difficult to follow. Having met with Mark Preston I have no hesitation in recommending him. He is an expert and he is very straight talking and easy to understand and best of all he is very cost effective to hire. Whilst I have not yet hired Mark when I am happy with the content of my website and I have launched the cloud-based version of my Hidden Profit Discovery Tool, I will be delighted to spend money with him.
Before starting I strongly recommend that you attend one of Mark Prestons training courses.
Working with my web developer Warran Bolton we have together managed to get 4 of our pages ranked on page 1 of Google, that said we both admit we are not SEO experts. I have spent too much time researching SEO.
Beware of others advising you to use Wordpress based platforms. I spent a significant amount of time speaking with other web developers and I found out that everybody has their own preference. When I research these different preferences almost all required addition plugins, some were free and some weren't. I already knew from previous experience that these plug-ins have to be updated regularly and I also knew that some updates suddenly conflicted with other plugins and cause a website to crash. I have experienced such events and never want this to happen again.
In my view, Open Source Software is the best way forward because if you choose the right Open Source Software platform, they do not require plugs and you have the ability or know someone who has the ability you can insert your own code to enable customised functions or applications without the use of plugins. (we now use ProcessWire).
When meeting with web developers I never divulged information unless they asked the right questions. Almost all had a flawed client qualification process because they started to sell me stuff without first fully understand my operational and financial constraints. All they ended up doing is confirming to me that they were not the right company to use.
This exercise was also useful to gain knowledge to plan the budget. (pricing varied dramatically (£1,200 £10,000 both plus VAT).
I did background research with all the developers (without them knowing) I met with before any meeting.
I had already decided that if they did not ask all the relevant questions to 100% qualify my operational and financial constraints, I would NOT do business.
Before I attend any meeting I always set myself realistic targets of what I want to accomplish from the meeting. In this case,
Prior to the meeting with Owltree, I had already decided that if all of my operational and financial constraints were met, I would agree to proceed and close the deal.
My requirements were.
Having helped many of my clients construct their websites, I knew that unless I gave my web developer hard copy of my suggestions, they would have to gain a profound understanding of my business in order to generate content. This is where many companies go wrong because somebody has to write the content, I the principals of the business or company don't do it, they will have to pay someone to do it for them.
There are no short cuts and one must be reminded that the person who drafts the content first has the hardest job and they should not be discouraged by a savage critique by others.
I gave my web developer a 'Wireframe' which I created using the tables function in Microsoft Word. My web developer could see my suggestion for
MORE CONTENT COMING SOON