When you’re ready for a new website or looking for your first website, how do you choose a web design company or web developer to build your website? What questions do you need to ask, what do you need to know and where do you start?
These are very good questions when one find themselves in this very situation of needing a website. In my many years of developing websites, I’ve heard from too many clients who made a costly mistake and wish they had the information I’m about to share now when they first hired a developer.
In this article I want to shed some light on exactly how to choose the perfect web design company for your website. But before you start interviewing, there are things you should know that will help you find the best company that matches your needs and also so you’re prepared to ask the right questions and answer any as well.
Here are 3 things you should know before looking for a company to build your website.
1. Should I hire an Individual or a Company?
All to often I hear people say. ‘My friend is building me a website, he/she knows html’ . Many people take this route for many good reasons. One, they know and trust their friend and know he or she has good intentions. Two, It normally won’t cost them much if anything at all.
In most cases though this approach is a mistake as the friend or family member may know how to build a website, but lack the expert skills needed to build a professional website that your business needs. I’ve also seen cases where the friend works for a professional company but because of the low cost or free favor the time needed to build the website is cut short and a less than professional website is presented. The problems with this approach can fill a 200 page book.
In short an individual or a friend or family member in most cases will not be the best choice if you’re looking for a professional website that add value to your business.
2. What Type of website do I need?
There are many different types of website, and you will want to know which type your business or your goals will require you to have.
A website isn’t just a website anymore. A site can be a landing page brochure, a business page, an informative story, an online shop, a complete industry guide and more. Your website can do anything you want, from generating leads and sales to captivating an audience and driving traffic to your business location. The type of website you will need will also affect the price of your new website. So it’s good to also have a budget and knowing what type of website you’ll need will help you when it comes to figuring out your budget.
Now lets figure out which website will fit your needs. Few questions to ask yourself are: Will I be selling any products or services online and collecting money through the website? If so then you’ll need an e-commerce website. If you won’t be selling online then your website will be an informative one.
A common choice for most businesses is a Business or Brand website. This type of website exist to give information about the business, to let people know it’s values, what the business does, how to follow the brand on social media and how to contact the business.
Often times this type of website can be combined with lead generation, and Support type websites. By adding an email capture, giveaways and other lead generating tactics the website can generate valuable leads for the business. Adding Support to the website such as FAQ’s, Chat services, etc can help a business customers with technical support for the products or service the business sells.
3. Should I use a Template or get a custom built?
This question can be it’s own blog topic as there are pro & cons to both sides but I want to keep it simple and give you enough knowledge so you can make your own decision.
To help you decide here are just a few pros and cons for each.
Pro: Shorter Development Time.
Con: Other businesses in your niche (Your competition) may already be using the same or similar template.
Pro: Templates are cheaper. If you have a lower budget this may be your best option.
Con: Templates may not be built SEO friendly which means your search engine rankings will suffer.
Pro: Templates website can be created without having to know html/CSS coding.
Con: They may not work on all browsers and support can be limited.
Pro: Your website will have a completely unique design that is tailored to your likes and business needs.
Con: Development times can be lengthy. 4 – 6 weeks.
Pro: The website will be built to be Search engine friendly.
Con: Custom website is more expensive than a template.
Pro: A CMS – Content management system can be built into the website allowing you to easily make changes to the site on your own from anywhere and saving you costly updates and maintenance charges.
Con: Can’t thing of any more cons..
If your budget for a new site is still growing but you can’t wait then maybe a template will work for you. However the best choice is obvious that a custom website will do more for your business and save you time and money in the long run.
4. How much does a website cost? What’s a good budget?
Now you have a pretty good idea of what type of website you will need, now you’re ready to figure out how much money you’ll need to have it built.
So there are many website online that will give you an idea of how much a website cost and I recommend searching the web so you have an idea but for a template expect to pay from $250 to $1000 and for a full custom website the price depends on your business and what features you will need. But a good average price is between $1500 to $5000 for small business and $5000 to $20,000 for medium size business. A web design company will need to discuss your exact case with you before giving an accurate price. Normally they will consult with you and then create a proposal outlining everything they will do for you, what you can expect and the cost.
Some companies will work with your budget as well giving you small monthly payment instead of one large payment.
At this point you’re now ready to start looking for a company to build your website. Here are 5 questions to ask before signing a web design contract.
1. How do you charge for web design?
Simple yet important question. There are companies that will build your website and charge a one off cost while others companies will build and charge a small monthly fee. The main difference between these types of contracts are with a one off fee, you have one set price for the website, which when is paid you have total control and full ownership of your website and it’s files. Whereas with the monthly contract type, the payments are small and manageable but one missed payment can mean your website gets suspended and its possible you can lose your entire website. The benefit is this can be very affordable for most new business starting out, but also mean paying a lot more for the same website over time.
2. How long will it take?
Having a custom website built means that unforeseen obstacles can happen. Find out from the company the estimated time to have your website built and make sure to follow up with them to make sure it’s on track time wise.
3. What Maintenance is provided after the website is live?
Just as you would when buying a car, you want to know what type of warranty if any does the website come with.
After a website is built and placed live on the internet, you may notice issues with the site after a week or month and you should not have to pay to have the issues fixed. Often times you may miss a compatibility issue or a customer viewing your website points out something a noticed. Its a good idea to find out if there are any kind of Free maintenance offered to fixed errors after the site goes live and for what time period.
4. Do they have a portfolio of past work?
Before deciding on a company it’s wise to make sure they are capable of building the type of website you would like. If the company is established they will have examples of local business website they have built and a link to view the website. This will give you a good indication of their work.what’s important is that they have a few examples or demo website that they have built and there should be some good ones. keep in mind not all will be perfect and the reason may be the website owners (their clients) have full control over their website, making changes that may not match or not performing regular maintenance.
5. Will the website be built Search Engine Friendly and Responsive?
This question may be two part. One, you want a company that will build your website search engine friendly and responsive as this will help your rank, also this will cut cost when you decide to hire SEO experts to push your ranking higher. Two, Is there an additional cost for this or is this included in the price? Any company building modern professional website should automatically include responsive web design and search engine friendly in the price because no website should be built without it. If this is not offered standard then keep looking for a web development company.
If you got value from this post please leave a like or share and I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment in the section below and I’ll reply to thank you.
Also if you know anyone that may be looking for a website right now or soon, please share this with them as it may help them make a good decision. Knowledge is power!