15 Things to check when choosing a web company
When your current website is due a refresh, it can be a daunting task thinking about where to start. The overwhelm may be so bad, that you end up leaving it altogether despite what impression it is giving about your business. We’ve pulled together 15 bullet points to ask when choosing a web company.
A good website is crucial to the success of your business. It is one of the most important ways to create awareness for your brand, attract the right customers, and generate new leads. While a professionally designed and developed website will cost more, it is an investment in your business that will pay dividends for years to come.
Of course, we understand that all this can get a little overwhelming, which is why we’ve put together this list of 15 things you should check before choosing a web designer to take care of your project.
Ask them this:
What platform do you use to build the websites?
Not all web building platforms are created equal. Some have limited options and charge extra for certain features, there could be additional annual fees, and not all platforms allow for easy changes and additions as your business grows. Choose a web designer who listens carefully to your needs and wants, and who clearly explains what the possible limitations could be. The team at Monster Creative specialise in building websites using WordPress.
Do I get training on how to update and use the site?
Having access to update content such as text and images or being able to add a new page to your website once it’s live is important. You may not always have the time to wait on a third party to do it for you. For this, you’ll need an easy to manage CMS (content management system) and some training, or at least a step-by-step guide that explains how to do it. A good web developer will show you how.
How long does it take to build a new website?
Good things take time as they say, but it’s important to have clarity on how long it will take for your new website to be ready for launch. It all depends on a range of factors, like if you have all images and text available already or if you still need to get a photographer or copywriter on board. A good web developer should have a clear process in place that explains what’s expected from both parties and when, plus how long it takes to complete every step. At Monster Creative, we’re confident in saying that our process is second to none.
What support do I get once my website has been set live?
Work on your website is not finished once it’s gone live. That’s a common misconception. You should not think of your website as something you set and forget. It’s hugely important to work with a website company who is there to support you every step of the way, before, during and long after the launch. Ask them how often they contact you after the new site is set live?
What security measures do you have in place to prevent my site from getting hacked?
Hackers are a nightmare, and site security is not something that should be overlooked. You may think that nefarious hackers have no business coming after your small business website but don’t be fooled. Hacks don’t just happen to the big guys. It’s important to protect your data, and your user’s privacy, with solid security and sound hacker protection. Check what measures your web company has in place to prevent your site getting hacked.
How do you approach SEO (search engine optimisation)?
Without search engine optimisation, you can have the most stunning website ever made but no one will be able to find it. SEO is the method of maximising a website’s search rank to increase traffic and conversion rates. It’s not something that should ever be overlooked. If your web developer creates a visually appealing and technically sound website but neglects the SEO components, they have missed a super important factor to your website’s success. That’s why Monster Creative’s techies and copywriters always put SEO first.
Have you worked with other business in my industry?
Although it’s important that your web designer understands your industry and has a feeling for your business, it’s not crucial that they specialise in building websites for your industry. A good web company will take the time to get to know you, ask you lots of questions, does competitor research and will ask for clarification if anything isn’t clear. We’ve worked with business owners that operate in all sorts of industries, and that’s one of the reasons we love what we do. We learn new things every single day!
How long have you been around for?
A website company that’s been around for a while will have gained a reputation for their work. The fact that they’ve gone the distance is a sign that they are good at what they do. No offence to new talent, but web developers with little experience may build you a website that’ll need a lot of revisions. A developer with a good few years’ experience will know what to ask you in order to build what you actually need, foresee things you might want in future, and build an extendable site that can be revised as your needs change.
If applicable, why are your websites so cheap?
Cheap might sound good but please beware that there is always a catch. Always! As a rule of thumb, cheap websites are poorly designed, which means chances are that it will function poorly too. Using a template is usually the only option for a low-cost website design, and that means your site will be the cookie-cutter kind and not convey your business and brand correctly. It is unlikely to convert visitors into leads or customers. You don’t have to spend a fortune either but trust us on this: cheap is a red flag.
Do you host emails/provide free email services?
Website and email hosting are two separate services that can run independently of one another. Having both your web and email hosted in the same place is common of smaller businesses and can be useful to start out with. If you’re looking for a more secure and reliable email service, you could use two separate services for your web and email hosting. Feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about how this works.
Can I see a portfolio of websites you’ve built before?
Before you work with a web designer, you’d want to see some of their previous work. They should have a portfolio readily available and easily accessible for you to view. Check if at first glance, you like their design work. Does it look all the same, or is it creative and exciting? Is it all for a similar industry, or do you see a nice variety? If you like what you see, and their pricing and processes are also attractive, it could be a good match.
Do you have any testimonials from clients?
Most website companies will have a selection of testimonials from clients on their website, and it’s a good idea to also look at reviews that have been posted on Google or other external platforms. It’s important to check out what others say about working with a website company. Finding the right team to bring your vision to life can be tricky, and it’s a big decision and investment. Working with someone who understands you and your business, provides feedback and suggestions, and can bring it all to life in a reasonable time and on budget, is what matters.
What type of testing do you do before you set the website live?
Again, this should be part of the process and clearly explained. No website is set up and launched in minutes, no matter what the drag-and-drop website builders would like you to believe. Even after all the content has been added and the website has been built, it must be tested thoroughly for functionality. It should load fast and work in all browsers, look good on all devices, have no broken links and the text should be lined up nicely and easy to read. Before it goes live, your website should be ready for a top-notch user experience.
Will I own my website once it’s been launched?
This is an important question and it’s easily overlooked. Unfortunately, it happens too often that websites are being held hostage. If you contracted someone to build a website and you have it in writing that after final payment is made you will own the website, then you should indeed own the website! Our advice is to only work with an agency or developer that offers you to sign a decent contract that stipulates all this. Only then you will have 100% control of all the assets – the design, code and content.
This one’s for you: Have you listened to your gut?
It’s a bit of a wild west out there so beware of the sales sharks that promise you the earth then deliver a horror story. Unfortunately, we hear it a lot. People have been taken for a ride and spent a lot of money with website companies that overpromised and underdelivered. Your instincts, paired with the right amount of research and recommendations, will tell you if the provider you are talking to is the right fit for you or not.
A final word, websites aren’t cheap, but they don’t have to cost a fortune either. As with everything, you’ll get what you pay for. If you decide to build your website yourself, let your tech-savvy cousin do the job or hire a cheap freelancer on Fiverr to take care of it, chances are the results are not as good as what you’ve hoped for. Hire a web developer with a great reputation, reasonable rates, and an interesting portfolio of work. That’s when you’re in for the win.
If you would like to have a chat with the team at Monster Creative, we’d be more than happy to help and we’d love to hear from you. We’ll explain everything clearly, without the jargon, and we never push hard on a sale. We genuinely want to see you succeed and build you an amazing new website that you can be proud of.
Get in touch with Monster Creative team here.
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