How to select the right web design firm for your B&BWhen selecting a firm to do the website for your Bed and Breakfast, it is important that you select a firm that understands your industry, not just simply how to code a website.
As the owner of a bed and breakfast, you realize that your prospective clientele are not simply wanting a room to sleep in, but an experience to remember. It is vital that your web design team understands this and is able to communicate this, both visually and through words. The images and words used on your site need to evoke a real sense of what to expect when they staying at your B&B.
You should expect to have a web design firm to visit with you, either in person, if they are local, or by phone or Skype, if distance precludes a face-to-face visit. Beforehand, they will usually provide you a list of questions to discuss when you meet.
Here is a list of the 15 questions you will need to be able to give answers to (adapted from an article by Martha Retallick:
1. Why do you want to have a new website, or have your current site redesigned?
2. What will happen if you don’t have a new website, or have your current site redesigned?
3. Please describe your organization in a few sentences.
4. What is there about you and your background and your bed and breakfast that sets you apart for potential customers?
5. Please describe your ideal customer. Is it families, couples, organizations, weddings, etc.?
6. What is your budget for this project? You need to be prepared to give your designer a price range. Even the most basic site will cost you $1500 if it is designed properly. Most business websites start at a couple of thousand dollars and go up from there, especially with the addition of any ecommerce.
7. Who are the decision makers on this project? What is the turnaround time for making a decision? Ideally, a web designer will want to deal with someone who’s in charge. Your time frame should be for the site to be live no later than 30 days after the web designer has all final images and content from you
8. What is your deadline for completing the site?
9. Please list the names of five other sites that you like. Why are they attractive to you?
10. Have you researched your online competition so you have an idea of what you do and don’t want on your site?
11. Where is the website content coming from? Who’s responsible for updating it? Is it ready for use on your website?
12. Do you have a logo? Do you need a logo or does it need to be redesigned? Do you need other graphics for your B&B? A good graphics package is important for every B&B.
13. Are you planning to do online booking and payment? This is something the web designer will need to know upfront, as there are requirements for ecommerce sites that do not apply to information only sites. E-commerce, accepting online booking payment through your site, has a lot of moving parts and you need to make people feel comfortable sharing their credit card information..
14. If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site? Which of these words or phrases is most important? Come up with a reasonable list – say, three to five terms.
15. How do you plan to encourage repeat visitors and referrals? How is a website like a piece of granite? When it sits there and never changes. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep web content fresh – blogs come to mind. Making a website refer-able is a much greater challenge. Best advice I can offer is to make the site into a valuable resource – like this one.