Websites can be one of the greatest tools for a business
But if you go down a path that is not a good match for your purpose and budget it can be an expensive and time consuming nightmare. Buying a website can be tricky, simply because sometimes you don't know what you don't know and that can make it difficult to ask the right questions. So to help you out and get you oriented we have put together this awesome guide of what you must know before choosing a web design company.
1. Is the web company established and experienced?
It's important to find a web design company that has experience. You can measure this in years, number of clients and also through the quality their web design portfolio.
Years in business indicates that the web design company is a stable and successful business and that they will be able to competently work with your business for the long term. Number of clients indicates that the company should be very familiar with the full spectrum of website projects and won't take on a project that they don't have the experience in completing. It also indicates that they have had the opportunity to iron out their work processes and are familiar with deadlines and timeframes.
Three important questions to ask are:
- How long has the company been designing and developing websites?
- How many clients do they have?
- How many employees do they have?
2. What should I expect to pay?
A question we often hear is – "how much should I pay for a website?"
Website prices can range a lot, you can get a website for as little as almost nothing and just pay for hosting, or the price can go all the way through to $25,000 and beyond. One of the interesting things about the web design industry is that you can get quoted a considerably different amount for the same job depending on the company that is quoting you.
To some degree the saying "you get what you pay for" holds true in the web design industry. However there is a point where the price just keeps going up and the quality of the work or expertise doesn't justify the cost.
The best way to look a website is that it is a long term project and an investment in your business. If you are prepared to pay a little extra and choose the right company your website can be an asset and money making tool for years to come.
3. Can you update the website content yourself?
Ensure you will have access to update and edit the content of your website 24/7 on the fly. This is achieved by software which is called a content management system or CMS. Regardless of whether you intend to edit and upload the content of your website yourself or hire someone to do it for you, it's important that your website is built on a content management system so that it is easy to make changes. You will also want to make sure that the CMS is an industry standard platform and you also want to make sure that it's easy to use and that good training and support materials are available to you.
4. Will you get support when you need it?
Does the company you're purchasing the website from offer ongoing support? When you purchase a website, it is very important that you choose a web design company offers reliable, generous and cost effective support on an ongoing basis. This is incredibly important because a website has a lot of different functions and aspects to it, and it helps to have professional assistance available when you need it.
Things you might need help with:
- Your emails
- Your domain name
- Your hosting
- How to use the content management system of your website
- Ecommerce setup
5. Keep it all in one place
It's very helpful and convenient to be able to simply have one company handle everything that relates to your website and online presence. Secondary services are anything that will support your business and your online presence. That could be graphic design services, copywriting, domain names, hosting, support, and most importantly online marketing. You want to know that the company you're dealing with can offer you a full range of services that relate to your website and that they have good solid marketing skills.
6. Are there any additional or hidden charges
When you are purchasing a website and receiving quotes, in addition to getting a fixed project price, it's important to be aware of any limitations, ongoing charges and costs that may be related to the website.
For Example: hosting and support fees. But you will also want to know about additional development costs or future design costs. It is good to know how much the ballpark studio rates are per hour to cover your expectations. It's also important to establish the project scope and prices straight up.
Another thing to consider are the particular limitations of the service, for example, limited hosting space or design revisions. If the company is placing limits on these you can guess there's a chance that you will be charged extra if you exceed these limits.
7. See samples of their work
It is important to review and see samples of the work and craftsmanship that the web design company has produced in the past. This will give you a good reference point for what they can provide for you. It's important in these cases to not only look at the quality of the design, but also the functionality of the websites. Any good web design company should be able to show you a large amount of work that they have done. This will be a very good indication of the service and quality that you'll receive from their company and it's a great place to start in terms of evaluating the company.