portland web development
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The Portland Business Owner’s Guide to Website Development

November 05, 2018

Portland is a weird town. We all know that.  And much of that weirdness comes from our local businesses. Walk in any direction and you’ll find businesses that range from quirky to hip to downright bizarre.

But just because your business is weird, that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore conventional marketing practices.  While it might be a badge of honor to be so underground that basically no one’s ever heard of you, that’s a death sentence for a small business.

It might cost some hipster cred, but you’re going to need a good website. And a Portland web development firm can help you build a website that can expand your reach while still retaining your individual voice.

Are you interested in building a website but don’t know where to start? Here are some questions you should consider.

What Do I Want From a Business Website?

There are nearly two hundred million active websites on the internet right now. That’s about one and a half websites for every single adult in the United States.  While many of them might serve a similar purpose, most of those websites are unique.

When you’re building a website for your Portland business, it’s not enough to just decide to make a website. You must decide what you want to get out of your website.

You might want to open an online store so customers can have goods delivered to their home. Maybe you just want to have a photo gallery of the types of items in stock. Or maybe you want customers to be able to preorder event tickets.

Your entire site is going to be designed around your intended purpose. Your web developer can help talk you through options for what your website can do for you.

What Do I Want From My Web Developer?

You might think that a web developer’s job is self-explanatory. You need a website, and they build it for you.  But the relationship between a web developer and their client is much more complicated than that.

There are dozens of separate services that a web development agency might offer.  But you might not need every one of them.

Backend Buildout

One of the most valuable services any web developer offers is building out the backend of your website.  The backend refers to anything that isn’t displayed on the page that contributes to user interaction. This is all the code that you trust to be working fine.

A well-done backend creates a seamless, user-friendly experience for your customers-and for you.

Design

Many people confuse web development and web design. And while there may be some overlap, they are very different.  Most often, web development refers to the code hidden in the back end of the site. On the other hand, web design is everything you see on the screen.

That said, many web developers also do web design work. However, web designers don’t always work on development.

Some people hire a web developer for the backend buildout and do the web design themselves. Or they might hire a separate web designer for that.

Is It Responsive?

A huge part of web design is making sure that your website displays properly on every device.

You’ve probably visited a website on your phone that was still sized for a computer. The text was small, the links were hard to click on…maybe it had elements that wouldn’t even load.

A responsive website automatically resizes itself for the screen you’re watching on. And that’s a big deal as mobile devices now make up 63% of all website visits. People are browsing more from their smartphones and staying longer.

If your website isn’t responsive, it can send those users-and their money-packing.

Make sure you talk about site responsiveness with any web developer you talk to.

Continued Tech Support

Many people think that a website is like a Ronco Rotisserie Oven. You just set it and forget it. Your web developer builds the website, the site goes live, and then you just let it do its thing.  But the internet is a vibrant place. Things change, and quickly.  And this can cause problems with your website. Servers go down, websites crash, and sometimes users find ways to break the site that the developer overlooked.

Many web developers offer continued tech support for their clients. Others hand you a bunch of files and some keywords and leave you to find your own tech support.

Make sure you and your web development firm talk about how involved they will be.

Who Updates the Site?

As your business rolls on, your website is going to have to be updated.  You might need to correct out-of-date information, update inventory, add names to your staff page, or add an event calendar that you regularly update.

Many businesses update their websites in-house. But some web developers will update your website in the long term.  This might be convenient, but you’ll be trading off control over your own website for easy updating. That trade might be worth it depending on your circumstances.

Ready to Hire a Portland Web Development Firm?

If you’ve read this article and are ready to hire someone to build your website, you might be chomping at the bit to call someone.

Luckily, you’re already on our site!

We offer a wide variety of Portland web development services, from web portals development to eCommerce development to industry-specific solutions and more. We even develop customized mobile apps.

And we do it all with the absolute cooperation with our clients.

Contact us today to see how we can help your business thrive.

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