It’s always a big decision when choosing who to work with when it comes to a new website.
Can I trust them?
Will they rip me off?
Do they really know what they are doing?
These are just a few questions you may be asking when thinking about what to do and who to choose. Let’s be honest, we have all regretted some of the decisions we have made regards who we have chosen to work with in the past. When we are spending our hard-earned money, we need to know that it’s in safe hands and that the people we are giving it to will do a good job.
There is no question that within the web design industry (and many other industries) there are never-ending horror stories and there is no hiding from that. With this in mind, it’s important that you do your research and ask the right questions before signing on the dotted line for your new website.
Before choosing who you will be using to design your new website consider these important questions first…
1. What proof do they have that they are good at what they do?
One of the best ways to ensure that you are investing in the right website partner is to look at their past work and feedback from that past work. Take a look at their portfolio, ask to look at their last few projects, do they have many online reviews? You cannot just take their word for it that they are good, you need proof.
Does their work impress you?
Is the work they have done the sort of design you would be happy with for your business?
Do their reviews speak of good service?
Every business will say that they are good and offer a great service but that is not enough, it’s important to dig deeper and investigate further. Gaining proof of past work and written confirmation from previous customers is one of the best ways to gain the confidence you are choosing the right website designer.
2. What is included in the purchase?
It’s important that you are clear about everything that is included in the quote for a new website. If you are comparing quotes from different web design agencies, then you need to ensure you are comparing like for like.
Some factors to consider are:
There is nothing worse than getting to the end of a project and discovering all you believed to be included is not. It’s vital that this is all confirmed upfront before the project begins. Be very clear on what you require and ensure this is all included.
3. What software will my new website be built in?
Websites can be built on many different platforms, and you need to know which platform your new website is going to be built on. Some well-known platforms are WordPress, Shopify, Magento, Squarespace and Wix. These platforms all vary and offer differing capabilities. We build our websites on WordPress and wrote a blog on why we do this which you can read here.
It's important that you know in advance which platform your website will be built on so you can understand if it’s the right one for your business. Some points to consider are:
It’s important you have a conversation upfront on what platform is being used for your website and whether it is the right one for you now and in the future.
4. After my website is live, what happens going forwards?
Once your website is live that is when the hard work begins. Surely, once your website is live the leads are just going to flow in, right?!? This is probably not the case.
Gone are the days when you can launch a website and that is it, job done. Websites have to be built on, added to and worked at. They are not a magic wand for success. They give you a foundation to build on and will be central to all your marketing, but they are most definitely not a magic wand.
Once your website is live the following is important:
Every website agency will be different in terms of what they offer going forwards so have this conversation upfront. Are you wanting to keep it up to date or is the designer going to do this? If so, how much will this cost? If you want to be found on Google, then what needs to be done and who is going to do this?
It’s important that you ask the important questions as part of your initial discussions and then there is no confusion later down the line.
5. Will the website grow with me?
You do not want to be launching a new website every year so flexibility for growth is an important factor that so many business owners do not consider. There is nothing worse than investing in a new website to find a year later it won’t really do what you need for the future.
It’s vital that any website has scalability. As you grow you want your website to grow with you. You will want to add new features and developments and you must ensure your website can cater for this.
No one can predict the future and there are times that you completely change direction, and the website will not cater for this, but this is more of a rarity than a regular occurrence. 99% of the time a website should accommodate your future needs along with your present plans.
6. Will the designer still be around in a few years?
If we have heard it once, then we have heard it a thousand times…
“I cannot get hold of my web designer”
“They are not returning my calls”
“I have heard they have just left and moved to Spain”
If you have not had this happen to you then you are one of the lucky ones. Sadly, this happens far too much in our industry so make sure you ask questions such as:
How long have you been in business?
Can I see some of your work?
Can I see some of your reviews?
How many people are in your team?
What you are looking for is as much proof as possible that they will still be around years from now and keeping your website alive and progressing.
7. Will I own my own website?
It’s natural to think that once you have a website with your logo and info on then it’s yours and you own it.
It’s not about what is on the website but what the website is built on. As already mentioned in point 3 it’s vital you consider what software your website is built on because this choice determines who owns your website. Self-build platforms such as Wix, Squarespace and Shopify may give cheaper website solutions, but the reality is they own your website, and you don’t. Yes, it will be live for people to view, you can edit it and change it, but you are stuck on their platform. You cannot take your website and move it. In reality, it’s theirs.
When you choose a platform like WordPress you seize control. Your website is one big file and database that you can take and move where you want. It’s yours; you own it, and you can move it.
This is something that many business owners don’t know until it’s too late.
8. What are my responsibilities to the project?
It’s important to understand that when you are having a new website designed it’s a partnership between you and your web designer. There are of course many responsibilities that the website design agency has but you have some too. The outcome of a website is always the most successful when both parties commit to their own responsibilities.
Website designers’ responsibilities:
To manage the project
To ensure communication is strong throughout the project
To build and design the website
To make positive suggestions throughout the project
To ensure the website is fully tested and robust
To send a website live that both they and you are proud of
The clients’ responsibilities:
To provide constructive feedback
To supply all agreed content in a prompt and professional manner
To stick to agreed timescales
So often website projects are slowed down due to the lack of content provided and lack of feedback. Of course, everyone gets busy, and the website can become less of a priority when this happens, but it’s important that as much as possible everything is kept on track.
There really does need to be a commitment on both sides to make the project happen and to keep it on track.
10. How will the chosen designers add value to my business?
Having a new website built is not just about having a fancy brochure online, it’s much more than that. Your new website should add value to your business. Your new website needs to help you:
It really is important that you don’t just see a website as something that sits online and gathers dust but plays a key part in your business strategy. It should help you grow and achieve your long-term objectives as a business.
10. How is the after-service?
We have all encountered good service and bad service. It happens. We can all tell stories of how a company has sold us something, promised the earth and then when a problem comes, they are nowhere to be seen. It’s sad and disappointing, but all too common.
Unfortunately, the same thing happens with website design agencies. They will promise you the earth and not deliver so it’s important that you know if you do encounter problems or have questions in the future that you will not be ignored. Future support is vital when it comes to who you choose to design your new website.
You need to be assured that they will respond to your emails, deal with your support enquiries and be on hand to answer questions. You would think that this is a given, but we can assure you it isn’t. Again, ensure you check out reviews, speak to their current customers and get a positive feeling that you will be important to them going forwards.
Choose Purple are a website design agency located in Worksop, near Sheffield. Working with clients across the UK, the above 10 points are as important to us as they are to you. We take great pride in helping our clients not only have a website they are proud of but also one that helps them to grow their business. If you would like to discuss a new website for your business contact us here or request a quote here.