When it comes to a new website, whether it is the first one for your new company or an upgrade from a previous design, meeting with a web designer for the first time and understanding all of the creative aspects you can enjoy is exciting, albeit a little bit daunting.
But, rather than get blown away with all the pretty pictures, lovely colours and the future vision of what you might end up with, there are some basic but very important questions you really need to get answered.
Here are some of the key questions you need to ask your web design company before you even move ahead with your website.
Can I Change My Own Website?
One of the most common complaints in this industry often does not arise during the website design and build, it is actually after, when the client realises they cannot change their own website, as they assumed that they would be able to. Therefore, if you want to be able to change pages, add blogs, sort photos and add new things, make sure they build your site on a system that allows you to do this. Do not get me wrong, you won’t ever be able to change everything on a site, but if changing content is your basic requirement then you need to let them know from day one.
Where Will The Site Be Hosted
This is not often a common question, but if your site is going to be pretty heavy with tons of content, a basic reseller account might not hit the mark and you also always wanted the site hosted in the country that your main target group of customers is going to be based in. Poor quality hosting will affect your bottom line as it will reduce sales and enquiries, and this is obviously something you want to avoid during the early stages, which is why getting decent hosting sorted form the outset is so important even if you have to pay more for it.
Who Owns The Domain Name
If this is a brand new website then you are going to need a domain name, and unless you have previously purchased this in anticipation, it is common for your web design company to buy it for you as part of the setup. Therefore, you need to make sure that if they are buying the domain as part of your package or price, then they should register this in your name or your company name, as if the time comes to part ways and it is all in their name, it just raises an issue that really does not need to be there.
What About Updates?
This really is a key question, especially if your website is based on a CMS system like WordPress or Joomla. These platforms need updates applying not only to the core system but also to all of the plugins that the site may use, which if not updated, are a major security risk and could see your site hacked or taken over. Ask the question about who is responsible for these updates and if you are, make sure you back up before updating and if they are, you may need to go onto some kind of maintenance package or paid contract to make sure this work happens.
Will The Website Be Mobile Friendly?
Any decent and up to date web designer or web design company should now be turning out designs that work on mobiles and smart phones, or as we call it, responsive websites, but you must ask this question to avoid a costly shock later down the line. With the already existing Google Mobile Update Algorithm really coming into play over the past few months, a mobile friendly website is simply critical, and something that needs to be in place from day one rather than having to be revisited at a later date.
What If You Retire, Die Or Something Else Happens?
No one likes to ask this question, but if your web designer and possible host fell over and died tomorrow and they were a one-man band or small business, what would happen to your site? Or what would happen if they decided to call it a day or went bust? As I say, make sure you ask the “what ifs” and “what do I do if this happens”, as the only stupid questions are the ones that are never asked. You need to carry on no matter what, so make sure you have a plan in place in case anything does happen to the people you use for your website.