52 Questions to Ask Your Radio Station’s Web Developer

a.k.a. "Choosing a Website Developer for your Radio Station"

It’s important to ask the right questions before choosing a website developer for your radio station. I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the most important questions to ask before hiring. These are to ensure you get value for money, and a site viable into the future. You also need to be sure they can deliver on their promises and have the experience required.

As with a lot of things I write about, this is a skew here towards not-for-profit radio stations, however most of the questions apply across the board.

General

Have you built a rich-media website before?

What would you improve on your last rich-media website?

Are you managing the whole project, or will I need to deal with others?

Who has ownership of the site and its components once it’s launched?

Do we have full access to all of the source code, layered graphics, etc. after launch?

Are you using any sub-contractors, and if so, how many projects have you done with them before?

Is this quote fixed-fee, or could it fluctuate?

Will this site make use of HTML5 and CCS3? If so, how do you plan to make this compatible with older browsers?

How much cross-browser testing will you conduct?

Will you conduct usability testing?

How long does the warranty period last? What does this entitle us to?

Content Management

What content management system do you recommend? What experience do you have with this?

How is this CMS licensed?

Does this CMS support the “Create Once, Publish Anywhere” methodology?

How will you break up the data types for each page and deliver this using different templates?

How could we share content between sister stations easily?

Media Playback

Do you have experience with embedded media players?

What streaming technologies have you used with embedded players?

What file formats do you suggest we deliver our content in?

What are the cross platform implications for each media file/stream format?

How can listeners share this content on social media platforms?

Can my player be embedded by users on sites, such as Facebook, to allow for easy playback?

How can we have our now playing song data display on the website? Will this be pull-or-push based? What load will it have on the server?

Can we monetise our playlists and players further with affiliate programs?

Mobile

Will my site be optimised for mobile?

What functionality may not work on the mobile version?

What options do we have to re-purpose web content for native mobile apps, either now or in the future?

Canonicalisation

How will you avoid canonicalisation issues?

Will there be one unique, canonical page for each podcast / video / MP3 / article / page?

Payments / Donations

Will my site be PCI compliant?

How will payment / donations integrate with existing backend systems and processes?

Will there be any double-entry of data between various systems and sites?

Can we create multiple versions of our payment/donation forms for different purposes?

Can we add donation tallies and special features to the site during our various appeals?

Search Engine Optimisation

What type of SEO work will you perform?

What SEO strategies should I employ for my site?

How can I capitalise on organic search traffic?

Will you help us develop a full site-wide SEO strategy (or network-wide if you are running multiple sites)?

Advertising

How will ads be managed and targeted?

Can the web display advertising integrate with our existing advertising booking systems?

How can we add pre-roll advertising to on-demand audio / video?

Social Media

How will social media platforms integrate with this site?

How can we drive visitors to our site from social media platforms, rather than the other way around?

Hosting

What type of hosting do you recommend? (Shared / VPS / Dedicated)

Do you suggest my site be hosted locally or overseas?

What are the first and second year hosting fees?

Will my site be optimised for high traffic levels?

How will this host cope with a sudden burst of traffic?

What disaster-recovery processes are in place?

What SLA does this web host have?

What backups take place, and who is responsible?

How quickly could we restore the site to a new host from a backup?

 

Shameless Plug: If you are looking for someone to develop your next radio station website, consider hiring me. As a broadcast technologist, I feel that I have a pretty good sense of the unique end-to-end requirements your organisation has.

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I'm Anthony Eden, and I'm a IT Professional, Broadcast Technician, Software Developer, and Solutions Engineer. I've been working in broadcast media since 2008, and developing software and websites for just as long. Right now, I provide freelance services through Media Realm - in particular, to the media and not-for-profit industries.

Follow Anthony on Twitter: @anthony_eden