We can’t blame business owners for choosing such providers because most of them don’t understand the difference between professional website designs and the more sketchy designs. Plus, the low prices and technical promo jargons sound attractive and beneficial to an average consumer. That said, to help customers avoid this common mistake, here are the things you should look for in a qualified web design provider:
First, ask the provider for domain name that your website would be run on, and who would be the owner of that domain name. If you already have a domain name under your management that is great, but you still need to ask this question because there are a few scenarios where you can find yourself in an unfavorable position:
For example, if you own an auto repair shop named Reli Auto Repair and your provider:
- Runs your website under their company’s sub-domain name (ex: ReliAuto.ProviderWebsite.com) rather than on your domain name (ex: ReliAuto.com), they are actually leasing you a sub-domain URL from their domain name instead of running it on your own domain name at ReliAuto.com. What happens if the provider’s website is down for services or if it crashes? Your website would be offline as well. Remember, your domain name and website are your online real estate. Together, their value often increases over time; therefore, you want to promote YOUR website on YOUR domain name from the beginning.
- Suggests that they register a new domain name for you or transfer your existing domain to their management, you need to make sure they have an enforceable contract which states that YOU are the owner of that domain name before taking any action. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation where your provider holds your domain name or website hostage when you want to make a change or transfer it away from them.
Second, ask the provider whether you will have control over your website, and if you can make basic changes to your website’s content without having to pay a fee every time you want to make a simple change. The best way to find such providers is to look for those who specialize in content management system (CMS) website designs.
Also ask whether they will include CMS website coaching in their web design project. This would mean that, after your website is complete, the provider would coach you on how to make basic changes to your website content. This coaching will give you a head start and save you money in the long run, no matter where you host your website. Providers who view their clients as partners will have no problem including this service in the project for you.
In fact, a highly qualified web design provider would automatically include this service in every project. Why? If clients are able to make changes to their websites, the websites will have more up-to-date information. These sites will have greater benefit to their clients, and web traffic (and resulting business) will increase. These will be the happy clients who will come back for more services and refer new customers to that provider.
Third, ask the provider whether your website will have a custom design or a static template format. Most often, less expensive websites are built on a template platform with very limited customization to fit each client’s specific needs. Because of that, I suggest choosing custom website design so your website is created professionally and with your goals in mind right from the beginning.
The only time I would recommend a template website is when the provider can adjust most of its design and codes to match your specific needs. Overall, you need a website that is customized to match your type of business or organization as well as to communicate your key messages effectively.
Fourth, ask the provider whether your website will be mobile responsive. Increasingly, consumers are using tablets and smartphones to search for information online 24/7. If your website is not mobile friendly, you will lose a large chunk of web traffic. Therefore, it is very important to make sure your provider will build and test appropriately to make sure your website is mobile friendly, illustrates your key messages intelligently, and auto-resizes to fit screens of all sizes and types. A quick way to test this is to bring the provider’s website up on your mobile device(s) to see how it displays. Was it easy for you, as the viewer, to navigate on their company website?
Fifth, ask the provider whether your website will display consistently on the current version of the five main web browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari for Mac. The reason why these main web browsers exist is because consumers have different preferences in browsers. Yes, everyone has their favorite! For best results, your website needs to be compatible with all of these browsers to represent your organization professionally, and on all occasions. Qualified web design companies will always include this in your web design project.
These are the five most important things you should look for when searching for a qualified web design provider. If you want to compare apples to apples for web design prices, below is the re-cap of these five questions. You can use them in your email to request a web design price from various providers.
- If you design and host my website, what is the domain name you will run my website on? Will I be the owner of my domain name?
- Do you specialize in CMS website design? And do you include CMS coaching in your web design project?
- Can you do custom website design as well as custom template website design?
- Can you custom build a responsive website that is mobile friendly on a variety of devices such as Desktops, Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones?
- Can you build a website that is compatible on the five main web browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari for Mac?
Overall, if you find this article helpful, please share it with others who might benefit from it as well. Thanks!