CHOOSING A WEBSITE DESIGNER
So you are a small fish wanting to join the big sea. You have thought long and hard about your new business venture and after many months are finally ready to take the plunge! Of course, you will need a website presence. Perhaps you already have a website but it just needs a refresh. It doesn’t look great and is on page 30 of Google! A website can be a big investment and so it’s not a decision to take lightly. It’s worth thinking carefully about how you go about choosing a website designer.
You want a good looking, stylish website, that is SEO ready and responsive. The hiring decision you make can dictate your websites’ success.
What will my website cost?
What is the inclusive cost of the project? Will it be a flat project rate or an hour rate? Think about any hidden extras like logo design, images, video, SEO and of course VAT. Don’t be afraid to ask for an itemised list of deliverables that are included in the price and ask what isn’t included.
As your project progresses, you might want additional services outside the original scope of the project. Look at the company’s price list for more information. Find out how billing works – will you be required to pay a deposit and the final amount on completion?
Do you want the web designer to organise your domain and hosting? This most likely will be an extra cost but takes away some of the hassle from you, so on reflection may be worth it.
Check out past work
Do you like the style of the designers own website? Is it clear and easy to navigate. Check out what other websites this company has built? Are there any testimonials for this company that you can read? A growing trend is for web designers to design websites so that the user experience (UX) is a positive one. Otherwise, visitors will not stay on your website for long! Check out my short article on what UX means for more information.
What is the web designer expecting from you? Typically, you may need to provide images, text and/or other content you want on your site. If you provide your own copy, it may need a few tweaks for better search engine optimisation or design presentation.
Regarding images, ask the designer if they have access to public domain images. Nothing looks worse that having unprofessional images on your website. It will not show your business in the best light! Stock photos are available for free from companies such as pixabay and pexels.
Do you need to integrate social media?
Will the web designer integrate social media into your website? – this is now considered normal practice. What about an instagram or twitter live feed? Which social elements will be included and will there be an extra cost to do this?
Search Engine Optimisation
Is SEO included and what elements are included? Today, most websites should be designing websites with SEO in mind. Having the right keywords on each page of your site is an essential SEO marketing component. That said, a full keyword study depends on your budget. We at Surrey Web Studio will offer all our clients a basic SEO package as part of the fee for building your website.
Will my website be responsive?
What will it look like on tablet and mobile? It’s now good practice for agencies to future-proof their projects by designing for mobile users first and desktop users second. The ever-growing switch to on-the-go logging makes this a necessity.
What CMS will be used?
What platform will be used? WordPress is one of the best and most popular CMS platforms used today to build websites. Look at my article on why you should consider WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System).
Will I be able to edit my website?
It may be important for you to be able to edit the content? What support level can you expect from the company after your site goes live? Is training provided to edit the website? What kind of training? Are we talking about a printout to read or sitting down for a face to face meeting? Your chosen web designer should be on-hand to make ongoing tweaks and changes to your site for a certain amount of time after launching it (within reason). Check to see if they offer a web maintenance package and what the cost is.
What is the cost of additional work on the website after it is built eg in a few months time, if I need to add more pages and so on. When choosing a website designer always consider future costs. A good idea is to ask them if they offer maintenance services and if they are provided on an as-needed, on-going, or retainer arrangement. Find out what the prices are to update content, and make minor and major edits.
Who will own my website?
Will I own my website when it is finished? Furthermore, be sure to ask if you will be required to lock into an ongoing contract to keep your site live and functioning, or if the completed site will be delivered to you upon completion.
You also need to know the name of the company where your website’s domain name is registered, all user names and passwords and the name of the hosting company.
Your website matters because it reflects you, your brand and your business. It is the first impression your potential customers have of your business, so make your website a top priority when launching your new business. We at Surrey Web Studio can make a stylish and affordable website to suit your budget and your needs.