web design

The Town Web Design Process: Site Building, Payment, and Other Considerations

The first step to creating your municipal website is as simple as making the decision to do so. Next comes the online research and asking colleagues and peers for recommendations – in a way the most important part of the entire town web design process! To make sure that you are bringing the very best web designers aboard, there are many elements that require your due diligence.

Step One: Choosing the Site Designer

There are many different ways to find a professional, trustworthy town web designer: word of mouth, an online search, and direct recommendations are the most common. For best results, employ all three of these methods to find what you are looking for in a web designer and developer. As you conduct the search, also think about what services may be missing or extraneous with each provider. This is a good time to streamline your search and figure out exactly what your town office needs.

Good designers should be able to work with you to create an attractive and unique web site that is easy to navigate. The company you choose should also be experienced, boasting plenty of good reviews and recommendations from clients. Get in touch with other local municipalities, and ask about their experiences with website design. Ask specific questions, such as which companies they have tried, and what positive and negative features were prominent with each.

Step Two: Quotes

When you’ve narrowed down the list of possible web designers, it’s time to solicit some price quotes. If the design package is customizable, you’ll need to be very details about exactly what your office expects from the design process. Do you want an all-inclusive package that comes with domain name registration, web hosting and personalized email accounts? On the other hand, non-customizable design packages should tick every box on your checklist.

Once you have the various price quotes in hand, run them by the rest of the town office staff. Meeting with all the people that will have to interact with and update the website is the best way to decide on the best provider. It’s also the best way to agree on the final budget. If an agreement can’t be reached, ask your potential designers whether they can provide a demonstration, either online or in person, to show the efficiency of their system. This isn’t only about the website’s landing page; it’s about ease of editing, adding new pages and making changes.

Step Three: Payment

When approved, most towns will pay by check. Since very few small towns pay with credit card, this is another important element to double-check before committing to a purchase.  If ongoing costs will be accrued, such as maintenance, updates and hosting renewals, choose a payment option that is easiest for the office to handle. If a designer demands payment via a non-existent credit card, maybe it is time to choose a different provider. Otherwise, you might consider borrowing a staff member’s credit card and reimbursing the amount by check.

These are the most important steps when it comes to choosing and employing a town web design and development professional. Be meticulous and patient, and you’ll find the right designer for your town!

Image courtesy of Simplu27

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