How to Pick Your Next Webmaster
Welcome to Barry’s Bite, a weekly article series from Barry Moltz, host of Business Insanity Radio. This week Barry shares with us 10 steps you should follow when picking your next (or first) webmaster.
Hiring a company or freelancer to build and manage your website is still a confusing task. There are so many choices. While prices have dropped drastically as functions of web sites have increased, it is still difficult to find the right match for your small business:
Here are 10 steps to follow:
- Set a budget. How much do you want to spend on the initial build or update? This will dictate the type of company or freelancer that is hired. It is a waste of time to search for a company that only works on million dollar projects if the budget is $5,000.
- Who will update the content? Will this be your employees, the webmaster or another consultant? This affects the tools and design that will be used.
- Use a major open platform. Pick a SaaS open source tool like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. It will then be easy to get talented people to work with the site and upgrade it as needed. Using more obscure software will only lead to higher costs later.
- Ask for current examples of their work. Is it something that relates well to what your company needs? They should have designed a similar website in the past.
- Ask for customer references. Many companies can do the work, but how are they to actually work with? Attitude is as important as skills when picking a partner.
- Show them examples of what you like. This will also reduce the cost if you can give them a basic layout of what is needed. Copying is cheaper than being creative.
- How will they optimize the site for search? If your website is to be found, this is important. Choices will include more written content and less pictures or Flash.
- What will the security around the site be? How will users login? What will happen when the site crashes or is hacked? Who do you call and what will their response be?
- Who owns the site? Specifically, if you hire a freelancer, ensure there is a “work for hire” contract.
- How much will it cost? Is this an estimate or a fixed cost? What will the ongoing maintenance of the site cost?
What guidelines did you use to hire your last webmaster?
Barry is a nationally recognized expert on small business who has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging in size from 20 to 20,000. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has also taught entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has appeared on many TV and radio programs such as CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, MSNBC’s Your Business and NPR’s The Tavis Smiley Show. He hosts his own radio show, Business Insanity Talk Radio, and writes regularly for the American Express Open Forum, and Forbes.com.