Your website is a critical part of your business and so choosing the right web designer is a big decision. It’s a decision which you take without really knowing what the outcome will look like. Take buying a car – you can easily see and experience the difference between a new Ka and a BMW. This makes understanding why they are priced differently easy.
However, this is not the case with your website. It is complicated by the fact that, like any other marketplace, there are huge price differences between web designers. This makes is tricky to understand the nature of those differences when you have yet to experience the service or see the result.
To help you get to the bottom of this here are a few more questions for you to ask so you can determine which web designer best fits in with your website project.
#5 – WHO OWNS THE END RESULT?
Some web design companies are protective of the code they use to develop your website because they regard it as their intellectual property. Consequently, they may charge you a license fee either as a one off or annually.
Others let you own code but reserve the rights to use it on other developments that may benefit their customers. (This is fair when you think that your website’s time and costs may be halved because the design company has used code from other projects.) If your supplier does decide to give you the code they may wish to stipulate a couple of caveats, for example; that you don’t resell the code or use it to support a completely different website.
Whichever way they do it make sure that ‘who owns what’ is clearly mapped out in a contract.
#6 – GET SOME REFERENCES
It’s well worth taking the time to contact a couple of your prospective web designer’s customers just to get a sense of how they work.
When you speak to their clients it’s worth asking a few questions relating to the company’s performance and abilities. Here are a few to get you started.
Was the website completed to your satisfaction?
Was it completed within the agreed timescales and budget?
What did you like/dislike about their performance?
Would you use them again the next time you redevelop your website?
Has your website been as successful as you expected?
#7 – WHAT’S THE PROCESS FOR DELIVERY?
Producing a highly polished, perfectly functioning and successful representation of your business on time and to budget is not without its complexities. There are probably over 100 factors to consider during your project’s life cycle. Here a just a few…
Buying and re-pointing domain names, search engine optimisation considerations, accessibility, usability analysis, user interfaces, navigation, copy, graphical style, coding to web standards, securing the code from hackers, marketing considerations, back-end technology choices, and that’s before we even begin accounting for your specific requirements!
With so much complexity embedded in your web project it is important that your supplier has a strong sense of organisation and planning. So, consider asking them for project plan or checklist to ensure all the bases are covered.
This is particularly important because you don’t want to find yourself having to pay for aspects of the development which you thought were included.
#8 – WHAT ARE THE POST-PROJECT ON-COSTS?
It’s unlikely there will be any on-going charges save perhaps that of hosting. However, it is worth knowing what the company’s hourly rate is in case the site needs maintenance updates.
You may also want to find out how much they charge for additional services such as, pay-per-click, email marketing, etc..
Next week I’ll let you into a few secrets of running a successful web design project.
Jed Wylie is the author of Make Your Website Sell and works for Morgan Wylie a web design and digital marketing agency in the Midlands. Follow Jed on Twitter at MorganWylieWeb