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Briefing a web developer to update your website

Briefing your website developer doesn't have to be a chore, but it’s easy to see why it’s so often considered one. The trouble is, many people don’t know which direction to turn when it comes to instructing their web developer.

As a result, the excitement of technology’s consistent novelty more often than not finds itself sequeled by confusion. Questions such as: how does this technological change affect audience needs? What area takes precedence? What do we actually want from this project? are often asked.

So to help, here’s some food for thought when briefing your web developer.

Design and development are two different things:

Savvy coding, a fast and efficient user experience - that’s web development. If design isn’t the main issue, then all you really need is a developer well-versed in the back end of development.

However, if your website looks like it’d be more at home at Stonehenge, then you’ll need a developer with design and development capabilities, or alternatively one backed by a good design team.

Get to know as much as you can

It’s okay to be a little unsure about the complex foundations upon which your website is built. But in order to provide a better insight into your requirements, it helps to have the following information at hand:

  • What platform are you using? Is your site custom built? Are you using WordPress? Drupal?

  • What coding languages have been used to build your website? Here are the most common: Front end: HTML5, CSS3, Javascript/JQuery
    Back end: PHP,  Java, C#

  • How is your website structured, and what does your file structure look like?

Alternatively, you could get your website audited. But it’s worth remembering that the extra work will cost you.

You could benefit from a Content Management System (CMS)

If your website requires regular updates, perhaps it’s time to think about investing in one. CMSs allow you (with a bit of training) to update your website whenever you feel, without needing to code.

Research from suggests that at present, more than half of the UK small businesses are using Wordpress as a CMS, avoiding the hassle of even simple languages like HTML.

And dependent on the CMS you choose, you can also take advantage of thousands of free plugins to assist you with areas like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Don’t just consider responsive design, ensure it!

Being mobile-friendly is no longer an option. What with the UK retail industry sacrificing £6.6bn just due to its lack of mobile investment as is, there’s simply no time to lose in jumping on the mobile bandwagon.

No matter what the size of your business, or the allure of your fetching design, if a customer struggles with user experience, they won’t continue to use your site.

Start as you mean to go on

Before you even begin the project, cast your mind to future maintenance, and what this means for the here and now.

It could involve greater input from your Service Provider over a longer period of time. In other words, potential monthly costs and constant upgrading. On the other hand, if you’re choosing to go down the CMS route, training may need to be included into your budget.

Blog supplied by Darren Howard, Content Editor with blur Group. By sourcing your supplier through blur Group, you will have access to 65,000 vetted Service Providers, and can cut out the legwork required to source the right company. blur’s team will also be on hand at every stage to provide a help, guidance, or answer any questions you may have.

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