An ecommerce website can be a valuable asset for your business, but if you go with the wrong web design company, you may not get the results you desire.
If you want a #1 ranking on google, a simple 5 page website will almost certainly not be enough to get you listed for your target keywords.
Here's what to look for when choosing the right web design company for your ecommerce website.
A Content Management System
According to Google, content is King. Google loves fresh, relevant, engaging content. Your content needs to be so good that people want to share it.
Google places twice as much importance on how people are linking to your content (through websites and social media) as they do on keyword density and word count.
You are the expert in your field and you have to convey as much of that knowledge to your customers as possible.
Therefore, the importance of a content management system is vital.
If you can't add new web pages quickly and easily, it's going to cost you in the long run.
At least once a week you should write an informative article on something related to your business. Write at least 500 words that contains your target keyword 2-3 times.
Add the article to your website and share the link on your facebook business page and other social bookmarking sites.
Do this consistantly and you will see a marked improvement in your search engine ranking.
Reliable Ecommerce Software
The software that drives your ecommerce website is the backbone of your business. It doesn't just handle secure online payments, it also provides a great user experience, handles all the product data, allows tracking of customers, provides stock control, order management, tax requirements and analytical reports.
Great ecommerce software is powerful at its core but simple to use.
On the Internet you will find a huge number of ecommerce providers, delivering wildly differing software packages and results.
From hosted to self-hosted, commercial and open-source, software-as-a-service or self-owned, the options seem endless and a little confusing for most.
Here's a breakdown of each type.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Solution
Your website needs to be hosted. Whether you choose your own web hosting or use your web design company's hosting is up to you.
The benefits of a hosted package are that your web design company will take care of everything for you under one roof. You won't have any issues with compatability and you'll get better help and support.
It may be a little cheaper to have your website hosted elsewhere, but who are you going to contact if you have issues or need updates?
Commercial vs. Open Source
Commercial ecommerce software is developed by private companies who sell a license to use their software. Development can be slow depending on the company's resources and the talents of their programmers.
With open-source software, programmers from all over the world can contribute to the code and make changes how they see fit. The software is freely available and support is provided by a community of developers and users alike.
Software-as-a-service vs. Self-owned Software
Some companies charge a monthly fee for the right to use their software. This is known as software-as-a-service (SAAS). They provide updates, support and a management interface for your website, but if you stop using their service, your website disappears along with all the work you put into it.
If you own the software yourself, you can backup and restore your website, but you'll also have handle software updates yourself.
A hosted solution that uses open-source software is a good choice for most small businesses.
Help and Support
Most web design companies provide some level of support for their services.
A good web design company will provide high quality documentation explaining how to use their software step-by-step.
They should respond quickly, answer emails and fulfil requests within a few hours.
Is support provided within Australia or does the company outsource their support? How well do the support staff know the product and can they make technical changes at your request?
These are the questions you should be asking when deciding on a good web design company.