These days it seems like every man and his dog are web designers.
And now with web development software such as WordPress freely available, and themes available to download either for nothing or less than $60, it almost seems that anyone can be a web designer.
But in true fact there is actually many things you need to consider when choosing a website designer, and it goes way beyond just price and a nice looking web design.
Here are 5 points every business owner should ask their potential future web developer to avoid problems once the site is complete:
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO THEY HAVE AS A WEB DEVELOPER?
This sounds so painfully obvious, but the reality is 95% of business owners never actually consider to ask the developer if they are actually qualified?
You wouldn’t have a non-qualified builder create a home for you, or a non-qualified electrician fix your wiring, so in the same way you want to ensure your web developer is qualified or has developed at least 30+ websites for you to review so you know that you are receiving a quality website and not a piece of junk. If you’re paying a good price for a professional, make sure they are actually that.
DOES YOUR WEB DESIGNER OUTSOURCE THE WEBSITES?
This is extremely important to ask, as it can have major ramifications for your website later on.
Many ‘web designers’ don’t actually build the websites themselves, and instead outsource them to web developers overseas in India or the Phillipines. Many of these developers work for less than $12 per hour on computers possibly less cared for which may contain malware. And just say if they develop a WordPress website for you and 6 months later you have a version or theme update which breaks the customisation, will they be available to fix it immediately? Will you be able to talk directly with them about the issue? Or will you have to throw the website away and start again?
My advice is to NEVER use a developer that outsources their websites, and ensure your website includes a maintenance plan to cover any general updates.
If your website is cared for you should get many years of life out of it, so you want to ensure you have local access to the developer for the life of the site.
DOES YOUR WEBSITE DEVELOPER UNDERSTAND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION?
I always mention to my clients that a website without SEO is like a car without an engine. It might look nice, but if it doesn’t go anywhere it is useless. Your website needs to be search engine optimised during the development process, not after the fact, to ensure you will rank well on the search engines, and the truth is that only around 45% of web designers actually know how to optimise a website, and most don’t even include it as a standard service! Always ask your potential web developer if they optimise the site and what they plan on doing. A quick hint to see if they are any good is see if they rank on the first page of Google themselves.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR WEBSITE CRASHES?
Most websites these days run on a database and while it doesn’t happen very often , they can crash due to either a malicious attack, the hosting runs out, a plugin update or something else. If this happens you need to be sure you have a backup plan in place, so always ask your web developer what yours will be. If your site is being backed up regularly, in the case of a major issue and your site is non-recoverable your backup should have you back up and running within the hour.If you don’t have a backup your website is most likely gone for ever.
DOES YOUR WEB DEVELOPER UNDERSTAND ONLINE STRATEGIES?
A nice looking website doesn’t always mean you’ll drive the sales or leads you expected. Every website should have a planned and structured strategy in place before starting, designed to ensure the site loads fast, the correct content is ‘above the fold’, your call to action is visible, the site has a low-bounce rate, and your traffic is being monitored. The site must also be mobile responsive and easy to use for your target audience. Ask your website developer for a website planner, siteplan and strategy before agreeing to anything. If they can’t provide these three things then run away, fast.