When you engage a web designer
The first thing you read on web designers’ sites is their use of technology and the solutions they offer. However, they often don’t state that each and every ‘solution’ has an individual price. Many don’t list what constitutes a poor site and many don’t inform you that your future enquiries to their firm may not even be handled in Australia.
What to look for
SEO – tracking is almost always advertised as part of the web design. However, it is an extra charge usually paid monthly where a report is generated to see progress. It is not complimentary but it is super important. In deciding whether tracking is a cost worth paying the client needs to understand what they need to do to rank. The client’s efforts in establishing back links and contacts increases their ranking on search engines but most new business don’t understand SEO. SEO ranking is what web designers track so explaining the value of content marketing and how to optimise the site for tracking should be outlined.
Errors on web sites – great web designers outline errors for clients so that the client is educated on how to maintain their own site. Poorly titled images, no tags, broken links, poorly coded web sites, slow load speed and site mapping all damage the functionality and ability of the site to promote the business.
Understanding the client’s business – many clients assume that because the web designer specialises in specific industries’ they must be good. This may be correct but it can also be because the web designers’ have specialised their services and that enables them to utilise their resources more efficiently and effectively.
Clients may also feel compelled to stay with large web design firms because of the designers’ brand. Clients often don’t know they have more access with a smaller web designer. Having access to a web designer is essential and many large companies use overseas contractors to reduce their costs – mostly not disclosed at introduction.
The cost of using an industry specific designer is often more expensive for small companies because they don’t have the resources of larger clients. Larger web design firms also have the costs associated with servicing larger companies and these costs are transferred equally regardless of the size of the client.
Report progress and web issues – should always be outlined in terms of cost, period and how to improve the site. A system failure that needs immediate attention can’t wait. Delays in fixing and reporting problems is exacerbated if the staff are not local. Large web firms that employ overseas staff often means clients are placed on frustrating ticketing systems. It can also mean the issue is relayed more than once creating confusion and further delay. It is very important to know who will be handling your site and a time frame expected for resolving issues.
Hosting your web provider needs to allocates space on a web server for your website to store its files. Web hosting makes the files that comprise a website (code, images, etc.) available for viewing online. The main types of hosting are shared, dedicated, VPS and reseller.
Coding – is web language. If code exists then as a client you can use it on their site. For example, if you want a pop up on your site that allows clients to enter details this would be easy to provide and low cost because the code for this already exists. However, if you need a new feature not yet ‘created’ new code would need to be written and that is more expensive. A good web designer will be able to advise on this and educate you on ways to reduce your costs if you require a more tailored site.
Knowing what you are paying for should be transparent. A good designer will go through what makes the site work efficiently and they will take the time to understand the client’s specific business. Whilst your first impressions of web design may have been the excellent visual experience and the platform’s functionality you also need to engage a web design firm that will inform and support you going forward.