Websites can be a great tool for businesses. Hiring a web designer is an important decision as your website is nothing but your business’s online representation. Website designers are the ones who are designing and building your virtual brick-and-mortar, choosing the shades to go on the walls, which is going to effect the opinions of your visitors.
I have compiled a checklist for you to help you make the right decision when choosing an agency.
This guide will help you make that decision by showing you how to compare apples to apples.
The first step is to have a clear understanding of what type of website you need for your business and what you want your internet marketing to achieve. You need to consider carefully your aim, your goals and how you are going to measure success.
You can never get the right web host without knowing what you need. Developing a website brief will get you thinking about what you want from a new website. You should also make a rough plan for what you want. As this simple plan will get you and a prospective web designer onto the same page.
When you know what you need to accomplish your goals, you will be able to see if an agency fits the bill.
Cost is definitely a deal maker or deal breaker when it comes to hiring an agency. This is the aspect most of us will look at first when choosing a hosting provider; however, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Like with everything else you purchase, the phrase “you get what you pay for” holds true in the world of web design and development. If you begin to cut costs merely for saving a dollar, you may not get as much value in long-term as you planned in step one. So it is advisable to take a closer look at the features provided by each host, and then compare prices.
Although your first impact of the company will usually be their own website, make sure you look deeper into their portfolio. Look into a company’s specialty or area of expertise before you buy, and go with one that understands your particular needs as a customer.
This is not necessarily how long an agency has been in business. In fact, a lot of new agencies have some stellar ideas and new methodologies to consider. The point here is how much the agency understands your industry and have they already delivered a similar solution to their other clients?
A more important question than ‘how much is this going to cost?’ is ‘how reliable is your company?’ You should be confident that you can trust the team in producing the best results for your project and that they are able to show you a return on your investment.
You should be sure enough that the company you are entrusting your business to be respected professionals in their industry.It is perfectly acceptable to
Ask for the credentials of the designers or key members within the company.
Choose a designer you can get along with and communicate well with. This will be crucial for your end success. It is highly important that you understand what your web agency is talking about and doing.
When you enter into a discussion with them, they should be on your side, working hard to explain what they do, how they do it and most importantly why they are doing it.
You’re buying a professional service, where a team of experts should be putting in time to plan, design, develop and manage your project.
When your site goes down, for some unknown reason, can you call up and get a real, live person on the phone? And, more than that, can they find out what’s wrong and fix it, or at least tell you what you need to do to get my site back online?
Before going with a host looks into their reputation for customer support. See what kinds of different ways you can contact them when you need support – email, toll-free phone, chat, and so on. Are they staffed 24/7? Do they outsource support?
Finally, an important thing to consider about your hosting provider is whether or not they fit into your plans for the future. In other words, what you consider adequate hosting now might not meet your needs few years from now.
Any web-based enterprise should have its eye on growth, so if a hosting company might have difficulty accommodating that growth it could pose an issue. Will they be able to easily upgrade your account? Transferring from one host to another takes valuable time and effort which could be avoided if the company can scale their solutions for growth. As with all these factors, does some research, get some opinions, and make an informed decision.
There are times when a site crashes.
If your web host does site backups regularly then there is nothing to worry about when these incidents happen. Your hosting provider should be able to restore back your full (or at least, a big chunk of) site in no time.
On backups, here are a few key questions to ask your web host:
Hosting deals, shared hosting especially, are normally selling very cheap on signup prices but charge much higher on renewals. It is an industry norm. Unless you are willing to switch host every two or three years, there is no way to avoid the high renewal prices.
As a web developer, I can tell you that adhering to an agreed time frame is often tricky for both sides. Developers are often left waiting for a client to deliver the words and images which will make up the final content of a site. In order to reach a launch deadline, you’ll need a clear understanding of time frames, with milestones, to ensure that everything is on track.
Make sure that your projected time scale is achievable by that company.
The most important thing when choosing a web designer is really making sure you go with someone you like and can get along well with. Someone whom has strong examples of work that are visually appealing, someone who is honest and truthful about what they provide and are clear on their pricing.
When you are choosing a hosting provider, remember that what you want is to pick up the right web host. It’s not about finding the best web host in the world; rather, it’s about finding the hosting service that suits your needs