Whether you’re a one-man-band or a multinational company, there’s no doubting that a new website is a big investment. The chances are that you’ll spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a new-look site, so if you work with the wrong company, it could be costly. A website is the shop-front of your business online, and first impressions count, so it’s important that you get it exactly how you want it.
Below, we’ve rounded up some questions that you should ask before working with a web designer to ensure you’re getting the best.
Can I edit my content myself?
Having the ability to add and edit pages on your website can save you a lot of time and money – so ask about this when working with a developer. Content management systems like WordPress are easy to use and incredibly flexible, so see whether your website can be built on something that you can make changes to.
You should also speak to your web design company about training. Once your website is ready to go, then you should be offered training or guidance on how to use your new site. Perhaps you could sit down for a one-on-one tutorial, or maybe the web design company has created their own online video tutorials that you can access as and when you choose?
How much are updates and changes?
Even if you want your web designer to build the most bog-standard website, you’ll no doubt need to make changes to your website in the future. Whether you want a new page adding, your logo updating, a contact form fixing or a new landing page design, you should speak with your web developer about pricing.
If you know that you’re going to make changes on a regular basis, then perhaps a monthly web design retainer could be the best option?
What is the annual hosting fee?
On top of a web development fee, most web designers offer web hosting to keep your new site online. Choosing web hosting with your developer has its benefits – it’ll be easier for them to log into your site and make requested changes, and you’ll only have to deal with one company for all of your website needs – but you should make sure that you’re getting the best deal.
Ask your web developer if they provide an uptime guarantee – some companies, for example, will guarantee that your website is online for at least 99.9% of the time, and if it falls below that, they’ll offer some sort of refund or compensation.
Having your website online 24/7 is important, as you never know when a potential customer will land on your site, so you should only work with a web design company that offers reliable web hosting services.
Space is another factor to take into consideration. If you’re planning on writing regular blog posts with lots of high-quality images and videos, will your web host accommodate your hosting demands? You may need to consider third-party web hosting for these reasons.
Will there be a blog?
If you want to spread the word about your products and services, then you may want to consider the benefits of content marketing.
Being able to write regular content about your business and your customers can be valuable; not only will it drive referral traffic to your site, but it can boost brand awareness, brand authority and increase referrals and leads.
Make sure that your new website has blog functionality.
Whether this is through WordPress or another content management system, having the ability to publish news and updates whenever you want is valuable – and it can save you thousands of pounds in marketing costs.
Has my website been future-proofed?
Mobile browsing overtook desktop browsing back in 2016, and the mobile revolution is showing no signs of slowing down.
Having a website that is responsive and works on mobiles and tablets is important – if your website doesn’t, you could be missing out on potential customers. What’s more, Google’s recently announced mobile-first index means that you’ll be more likely to rank well on search engines if your website is designed with mobile browsers in mind.
Another important factor to take into consideration when building a future-proofed website is SSL, so ask your web developer to install a certificate when building your website. Google Chrome will now display a “not secure” warning on websites that do not have an SSL certificate to protect users from phishing, so an SSL certificate is no longer a “nice to have”.
What about security features?
Today, the threat of cybersecurity has never been greater.
And with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into play later this year, it’s never been more important to secure your website and keep your customer’s data secure.
Get reassurances from your web development company that the data your customers submit will be kept private – that means encrypting data over an SSL certificate and hosting backups of your data on third-party servers for protection.
How can you make my website better than the competition?
One final point we want to raise in this article is the skill of your web designer.
Ask your web designer how they’ll be able to make your website better than a competitor’s’ website.
If you want to stand out in this competitive online market, your website needs to have more bells, more whistles and be more interactive than your competitors – not a carbon copy of something else online.
Work with your web developer to get ideas for your new business website and push the boat out to impress.
There are lots of things that you should take into consideration when finding a web developer to build your new website, so take a step back and weigh up your options.
Remember that the cheapest company won’t necessarily develop the best website, and that ongoing maintenance and changes may end up costing more than working with a professional and flexible company.