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Critical Issues to Discuss with your Web Designer

Oftentimes people learn the hard way (read – expensive way) about what they paid for when they had their website developed. It is certainly understandable if you are just starting out and trying to get a new site up and have not had any prior experience.

Here are some pointers to help you ask the right questions and know exactly what you are paying for.

1. Make sure you own the website & domain. Too often people have a website built and later decide they want to change providers, only to learn that they do no own what they though was their own website. There are two component of ownership to consider; the first is the actual content and images that make up the website. I would only work with a design firm that creates the code for you with no restrictions. The second aspect is the domain name (the www.yoursite.com address). If they register this for you, make sure it is registered in your name and worth your contact information. In fact, I recommend registering your domain yourself so you know you have control over it.

2. Find out how to make updates to your website. There are three ways to make updates to your site:

– Have your website built using a content management system (CMS). This will add to the cost but give you more control over adding pages and changing your content. Just make sure you use a search engine friendly CMS.

– Have your designer manage your website. They will usually charge either a monthly fee or a per incident fee, but it is normally not included with the cost of building the website.

– Make the changes yourself. If you have some knowledge of HTML, you can possibly update your own site. You can run into challenges however, so you want to make sure that you maintain a relationship with your designer for those emergency situations.

3. Get a backup copy of all your website. If something were to happen to your site such as a virus infection or a problem with your hosting provider, you want to be in control and be able to re-upload your website at any time. You can request it as a zip files which is a compress file containing all of the images, templates, pages, and any other components of your website.

4. Where is your website hosted. This may sound basic, but I have spoken with many website owners that did not know where there website was hosted, or how to contact their web hosting provider in the event of a site outage.

5. Web Marketing. Typically web marketing is exclusive of website design, as it should be. The most important thing you want to discuss with your web design firm is whether or not they are using any non search engine friendly technologies such as flash, dynamically generated URL’s, non search friendly CMS, etc. If they don’t know what you are talking about or blow you off, this is a good sign that you need to hire a new designer.

I hope you have found this helpful. Keeping this information in mind can save you lots of headaches and money down the road.

If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below and I will respond.

Have a great day!

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9 Responses to “Critical Issues to Discuss with your Web Designer”

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  • Bill:

    I especially like the point you made in number 3. I recently took on a project where the previous employee had been fired and basically took everything with him (or deleted it). The amount of time re-creating a lot of the logos and artwork was certainly costly.

  • I think the website hosting is a very important one. If you can’t get into your host than you are going to have a hard time doing anything with your website.

  • Yes, I agree that having a backup copy is very, very crucial. In fact I backup my database twice a month. Once there was a server outrage and the next thing I knew, my entire data was gone as my company could not retrieve any backup.

  • Moni:

    I like your point on getting backup of the website.Its really usefull information,never thought about it.Thanks for sharing.

  • Ron:

    IMO, this page is a must-read for web owners.

  • oldschool:

    Thanks for all of the contributions to this thread.

  • i agree with the things you had mentioned. having a back up copy of the website is important and at the same time where it is hosted also makes lot of difference.

  • Anonymous:

    I like the way which points you highlights in this article.I am agree with you that the back copy of every data is very crucial because if you lost your data sometime then you get it back copy of those data.
    Most of the peoples have their own websites and domains.But they always make changes to their changes with the help of web designer from time to time.If website is attractive then other will visit to your website.

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