I know. We said unbiased… but a web design company is telling you this. So how could it be? Because they are neutral questions. But they pack a lot of upfront information you need to collect to protect yourself and your company’s future.
We’re keeping it short and sweet. Just 5 questions…and we’ll answer them* (answers not quite as unbiased).
Question 1: What Is Your Fee Structure?
Perhaps don’t ask this first – only because you won’t get an answer without some preliminary discussion. But certainly, put it into your mix.
- You want to know how the website payment structure works.
- If any ongoing fees are added at the website launch.
- Ask how many revisions you get and what is the charge for extra.
- What do they charge for a la cart updates?
Ask as many questions as you can. Many agencies have hidden fees, charge blended hours at high rates, they bill in hour increments with minimums. You’ll want to be prepared before partnering together and these questions project you from scammers.
Question 2: How Do You Handle Domain & Hosting?
Great question. You have to know this and under no circumstances are you to allow another company to manage your DOMAIN. The domain is yours. You pay yearly for it. We have heard of so many stories of crooked freelance “web designers” purchasing domains in their own name, then hold them for ransom. Always keep control of your domain name.
Hosting is another story. Chances are you want your web developer to host your website (if they know what they are doing). Here are some reasons why:
- When a developer manages the hosting, things move along quickly.
- They will monitor brute force attacks, manage the backups, update plugins/database, etc. (If they don’t – then leave.)
- A reputable agency knows how to secure the backend and hosting better than you (and that’s okay).
- They will (if they don’t – RUN) install and SSL and secure your website.
To recap, it’s okay for a developer to host the website, just not the domain. And make sure you get FULL access to that hosting (admin SFTP account and WP Admin) if you paid upfront for your website.
Question 3: What SEO Do You Include?
You’ve heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how important it is. Every web developer should be including on-site SEO into their proposal. This is the process of alt-tagging images, adding unique titles and descriptions, make sure your headings are correct, your URLs and code should be indexable, etc.
On-Site SEO it a technical step that takes some extra time, but it’s much easier and cheaper to do it as the website is being built than coming back in later and hiring a third party to rework it. Make sure they include this service.
Question 4: Can I Speak To Your Past Clients?
Lot’s of times we see developers showcase a portfolio of templates. They look like real sites – but they may just be concept ideas or examples they grabbed from the internet. Make sure your designer has an extensive portfolio and that you are able to see each website up and running.
As an extra bonus, if they have video testimonials of the clients or even encourage you to contact their past clients for honest feedback – that is a huge bonus! Don’t be afraid to ask these type of questions. If your prospective designer shy’s away from this, perhaps you should shy away from them.
Question 5: Do You Include ADA Compliance?
This is huge and kind of new! The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain business to make accommodations for people with disabilities (blind, deaf, navigate by voice, screen headers, etc.) Failure to create an ADA-compliant website can open your business to lawsuits.
Your web developer should be familiar with the ADA best practices and be able to implement them on your website – included! Some companies charge a ridiculously high price for this service because it’s new and relatively unmonitored. Don’t be a sucker and fall for that tactic. Many website better practices are already ADA inclusive. With just a few more minor tweaks you’re golden!
Bonus!! Red Flags: They Don’t Have A Contract
A little bonus for you. Something to watch out for. If your developer doesn’t have a contract for you to review, don’t use them. Contracts protect you both. If you believe you were promised something and there was no contract, what are you going to lean back on?
Some small tasks that are less than a few hundred typically don’t require a contract, but when you are paying thousands for a website – get the details spelled out and protect yourself.
Helping You Succeed
We hope these few questions will better protect you from the unregulated web design industry. It’s truly unfortunate when quality business get scammed by crooked freelancers.
If you get it for free, then you’ll pay twice.
Don’t be afraid to pay a little more and walk away with a fully protected, secure, SEO friendly, ADA compliant website. There are plenty of things in this life you can cut corners on and be okay (milk and not creamer, watch and SD and not HD, mow the lawn next week). When it comes to your business website, you can’t afford to have one of your most valuable first impressions disappoint out the gate.
Begin the conversation and contact us today. We’d be happy to help – even if it’s just offering friendly advice.