Someone I met recently had a dreadful experience with the company they hired a web developer to design their website. Sadly, this person I met is not alone. The thing is unless you know what to look out for, you can easily sign up to something that does not serve your purpose and may result in a website you are not happy with. Generally what happens after that is you go and find someone else having to spend even more money and in a lot of instances having to start all over and you might not be happy with that result either.
Here are 4 key questions you MUST ask when you are looking at hiring a web developer to develop your website:
Which web design platform will you be using to design my website on?
Based on the web developer’s answer will determine whether or not the web developer you are interviewing will be a good fit for you. Firstly, you want a web design platform that you can ultimately control and manage should you need to. In-house systems are not transferable and they don’t always leave a lot of room for you to be able to make your own changes. If a web developer is building in standard html using software like Dreamweaver, be aware that unless you understand coding language you would not be able to update the website yourself.
Good platforms to look out for are: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, these are the 3 most popular web design platforms used today and all 3 of them are open source and easily transferable.
Do you give me login access details to my Cpanel and website dashboard
This is another extremely important question to ask. A lot of web developers don’t hand these over, the reason is for security and so that you don’t mess up your site. However, it is also a clever way to keep you tied to your current web developer. In my professional opinion if a web developer is not prepared to give me that info then I would not want to have my website designed by them. It’s like signing up for online banking, paying for it but the bank says sorry I can’t give you your login details for security reasons. PS. you should not need to pay extra for this.
Generating content on a regular basis is key to building brand awareness, positioning yourself as a thought leader and to optimise your website with fresh, valuable content. It is vital that you can make changes to your content and be able to write articles .
Who will be proof reading and polishing the content on my website once I’ve given you all the info and how do you guide clients when it comes to the content?
Content is KING! This is a known fact in the online world. Good quality content is what is going to help your website to rank. The content you put on your website is THE most important aspect of your entire web design project.
Depending on what option you choose there is always a big issue with content. If you are paying anything under R6,000 / £500 then expect to be writing and drafting your own content and what you submit to the web developer will go on the website as is.
If you are paying anything over R7,000 /£700 I’d expect to have my website built with all the bells and whistles because I’m paying for professional expertise then I would expect the content to be revised and checked by the web developer but sadly this is not always the case as my poor new friend discovered. They paid for a complete website expecting the bells and whistles with good content, and the site optimised so that it ranks. That is what was promised! Now they are stuck with a website that is incomplete and a website they are not happy with and a huge bill. Make sure that who you hire is going to give you the guidance and support you need when it comes to drafting the content for your website.
Tip: If you are not good at writing and your budget is tight then look at your network, your friends, there is bound to be someone with a natural talent for writing.
Will you optimise my website so that it will be able to rank on search engines like Google?
There are 2 sides to SEO, (search engine optimisation) the first phase happens when you are building your website. Each page needs to be optimised correctly according to Google checklist. Then once your website is complete on a monthly basis specialists would work at ensuring your website keeps ranking.
If you are paying under R10,000 then you cannot expect optimisation to be done on your website. However, if you are paying over R10,000 then check and make sure that optimisation is included or get a clear understanding in writing as to what you are paying for exactly.
Asking these 4 key questions will save you time, money and unnecessary expense.
Did I leave anything out? If so, please share your opinions with us.