Business Victoria has great resources on its website on website design for business. If you are thinking of getting a new site or revamping an old one. There is a great article called "Questions to ask my web developer".
I'll attempt to answer those questions:
Do I own my website?
Yes. All the content is yours. We don't lock you into any particular system. Your data can be moved to wherever you like. We use open source software where possible
Which Content Management System will you use?
That depends on your requirements. The one we use are WordPress, Drupal and OctoberCMS. They each have their pros and cons.
WordPress powers about 36% of the web which makes it very popular. It is great for most small business sites that require static pages, some news/blog and some basic media management (mainly photos). It can be extended to an online shop.
Drupal sits at just under 3%. It is enormously configurable and powerful. It beats WordPress in flexibility. You can do lot more with Drupal than you can with WordPress. It is often used in enterprise and government sites.
OctoberCMS is nowhere near as popular as WordPress or Drupal but it does offer a lot of advantages. First off if is lightweight. The core installation gives you only what you need to get started. That means it will run a lot faster than WordPress or Drupal. OctoberCMS is open source and has a small but active developer community. It is also based on Laravel which is PHP's most popular framework. This means most developers will find OctoberCMS easy to work with. We've been impressed with it.
A Headless CMS is another option. These don't give you webpages, only the data. The data can be pulled into a frontend framework for a website as well as powering phone apps and in store displays
Have you produced a website like mine before?
Yes, most likely. We've build simple brochure sites, online shops and bespoke applications. Every site is unique and has its own challenges. We are more than ready for that.
What are the likely ongoing costs of my website?
Domain names vary greatly, but typically cost around $20 a year. You can get some on sale for $1 or buy more expensive domain names.
Hosting also varies. You can get small business hosting for around $20 per month. If your site is going to need more resources, then you'll need to pay more. Typically, ecommerce sites need more server power because they can have large database tables with many complex joins.
What do you charge for service and support?
It's difficult to put a figure an that. Sites need to be updated and patched. A system based in WordPress isn't too hard to update. Some website owners are comfortable with updates. Others are not. If you don't can't spend time maintaining your site, then we can do that for you. We prefer to invoice maintenance on a ad hoc basis. Most jobs are quite small but every now and again, a nasty surprise comes our way. It's our policy to be upfront about any issues. We don't do anything without making sure you are comfortable first.
Do you offer support outside of business hours?
What do you offer in terms of marketing my website?
We make sure your site is follows best practice for Search Engine Optimisation. We can help with SEO and get organic traffic to your site. We can make sure your pages are optimised for your chosen keywords. We are not a fully fledged SEO digital marketing people. SEO is sadly blighted with cowboys who can do more damage to your site than good. We don't do advertising campaigns ourselves but we can recommend some good people.
Can I meet with the people who are doing the work?
Yes. We do all work locally. Once of the things that sets us apart is being local.
How long do you estimate before my website goes live?
That's really hard to answer because it depends on your requirements. It also depends on how busy we are. We will always give you a reasonable idea of timeframes.
Will my site look good and work well on a smartphone or tablet?
Yes. Our approach is mobile first. That means the site is designed for mobile first and also for larger devices such as tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
What’s in it for the sales person?
Everybody wants to get paid for their effort. Having said that, we don't to the high pressure sales thing. If you are not sure or prefer to wait, then we're ok with that.
There are other things that can help make your life and your developer's lives easier.
Do you have your own images?
If you supply images, then make sure you have the rights for them. This is not normally an issue if you have bought stock photos or have taken the photos yourself. If you hire a photographer or graphic designer, then the terms should be quite clear.
We prefer to get images in a vector format. Formats such as Adobe Illustrator, .eps, .svg or a vector based .pdf. Occasionally we get images in low resolution jpeg which means we have to redraw them. This can take time and can add to your costs.
Are you supplying all copy?
You can save a lot by have all your content for your pages and blogs pre written. It's also a good idea to have somebody not connected with your business to read over you copy to make sure it says what you want it to say.