If you’ve ever owned a car, I’m sure you’ve been to a mechanic before. And even if you haven’t, you probably know about the reputation mechanics in general have. When you go to a mechanic, you’re generally at the mercy of their knowledge of how a vehicle works, so they can charge you whatever they want.
I don’t mean to knock on mechanics, There are a lot of honest, hard-working ones out there. But the point is to proceed with caution. The trick is to know enough about your car that if they were to try taking advantage of you, you’d catch them.
The same thing can be said for website designers and web developers. The truth is, most people don’t know the first thing about website creation. They may know how to use a website (just like they know how to use a car) but what they don’t understand is what lies beneath, how to build and maintain it.
Even if you’ve had experience working with a web designer or developer, you may not know which questions to ask and what effect it can have on the overall outcome of your website.
So to help empower you with the knowledge you need, here are 6 of the most important questions to ask any web design company you work with.
1: Do I own and fully control my domain and hosting?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask. Not every web company is going to give you ownership of your website in the end. In fact, some companies will even charge you a monthly fee just to keep your website and a fee every time you need to make an update, no matter how small.
We believe if you pay to have your website built, you should own that website yourself. What do you think?
2: How will people find my website?
The old adage “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t work online. Anybody can build anything online, so it’s more important than ever to stand apart from the noise and rise to the top. If you don’t, you’ll end up isolated, with a great service offering that nobody knows exists!
Is your web designer able to properly optimize your website to help you climb to the top of Google? And how long will it take them to do so?
Here are some hints:
If they promise you the top spot on Google, they’re probably lying. Why? Because they don’t control Google! No SEO can promise you the top spot on Google. What they can do is promise to use the best strategies to help you climb the rankings, but that’s all.
If they tell you it will only take a short amount of time to do your SEO, they aren’t doing it right. SEO is an ongoing process, not a one-time only thing. When your website is finished, that’s only the first step in your SEO journey.
3: What sort of websites have you designed in the past?
Anyone can design a website on the cheap. In fact, you could go create one for absolutely free right now! But just having a website isn’t enough. It won’t do much for you.
Think of it like this. If you’ve ever created a resume, you probably know how important it is to create one which stands out. Sure you can just go use the resume template which comes with Microsoft Word, but that will just make it blend in with the legions of other people who did the exact same thing!
You can scribble all your skills down on a piece of paper and hope for the best, but what does that say about your own confidence and professionalism?
Your best bet is a website custom designed to meet your unique needs which stands out from all the pretenders and showcases your talents and abilities in the best way possible!
Today a website is a lot like a resume. Why bother making one unless you’re willing to make it stand out from the pack!
Ask your web designer for examples of their work to see what they have done in the past. If you aren’t happy with what you see, it may be time to seek out someone new.
4: Do you have marketing experience?
For today’s professional, a strong web presence is more important than ever. Is your web designer interested in your marketing, or only in designing your website?
If you’re just putting up a simple hobby website, or making a homepage for your dog, you probably don’t need to market it. But if you’re a business professional, and you want to use your website as a tool to help generate leads and grow your business, why not work with someone who builds your site with marketing in mind?
If you’re planning on marketing yourself, it’s better to work with a designer who understands the nuances of digital marketing and how you can best profit from it. Whether you do your own marketing (which is a bad idea to begin with!) or hire a company to market for you, you’ll have a much easier time if your site is designed for marketing.
5: Do your designs work across all platforms?
Web design is different today than it was a few years ago. We can thank smartphones for that. Once upon a time, websites looked the same on just about every platform, since there was really only one platform to worry about. Now a website has to look just as good on a 60 inch monitor as it does on a 2 inch smartphone screen.
If your designer can’t give you a design that looks good on all platforms, you’ll end up with a subpar product which won’t meet your needs and is obsolete right out of the box!
6: Is your work done locally or outsourced to a foreign country?
Why is this an issue? I mean, the internet is international right? It transcends cultural boundaries and brings us all together in peace and harmony!
Well, not exactly.
One of the issues is ethics. Some web designers outsource their work to places where workplace standards aren’t always as high as they ought to be. Yes there are many people who make a living wage there, but there are others who are being exploited for their skills. Is your designer working with people who are being exploited? How would you know?
But even if this wasn’t an issue, there are still strong cultural and linguistic barriers to be concerned with. Even if the country they’re outsourcing to is an English speaking country, the language will be quite different. If you’re trying to target people in Toronto using Australian or Indian English, you won’t be getting far.
It’s far better to work with someone locally, who knows the market here and tailors their designs with that in mind. On top of that, you’ll be helping to support the local economy, and in these economic times that’s more important than ever!
The Truth About Web Design
I hope this gave you some food for thought and helped you make a more educated decision about your website. It’s not a subject most people understand fully, so we’re here to help!
Of course, the most important idea is to make sure you’re working with a reputable, reliable webdesign company, and asking some of these questions will help you decide who’s worth your time, and who’s taking you for a ride.