13 things to check when choosing a web company
When your website needs a refresh, it can be difficult to find out where to start. The overwhelm may be so bad that you end up leaving it altogether, despite what impression your current website is giving. An outdated website is bad for business so if you’re ready for a website refresh or revamp, first check these 13 points on how to choose a web company.
A good website is crucial to the success of your business and a negative user experience, high bounce rates, and little engagement should be avoided at all costs. Your website is one of the most important ways to create awareness for your brand, attract your ideal clients, 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. That’s why we have put together this list of 13 things you should check before choosing a web company to trust with your project.
Ask them this:
1. 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.
2. 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 have the time to wait on a third party to do it for you or be willing to pay extra for it. For this, you’ll need an easy to manage CMS (content management system) and some training. A good website company will show you how it works.
3. 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 content available already or if you still need to get a photographer or videographer on board. A good web developer should have a clear process in place that explains what’s expected from both parties and how long it takes to complete every step.
4. 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 simply set and forget. It’s hugely important to work with a website company that is there to support you every step of the way, before, during and long after the launch.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Can I see a portfolio of websites you’ve built before?
Before you work with a web company, 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.
10. 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 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.
11. 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.
12. 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 a website company 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, the code and the content.
13. 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 when done right you can get a full return on investment for the website cost. As with everything, you’ll get what you pay for. Hire a website company with a great reputation, payment options that suit your budget, 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.