Most small companies will consider hiring a web designer at some point. The good news is that there are many web designers out there. The bad news is that not all web designers will play fair… as a new client of mine discovered.
You’ll get your website all right, but it may not be very well done, and you may have trouble getting support later.
Here’s my client’s story…
My client, Mrs K, sells products online. Two years ago, she hired a web design company in Dallas to build a website that would let her customers buy her products online. The company provided her with a website that looked OK. It had a shopping cart and it was capable of handling online sales.
Then, about four months ago, Mrs K contacted me, saying that her website wasn’t performing well and that she was losing sales. She tried to contact the person at the web design company, but after several attempts over several weeks, she got no reply.
Then she contacted me and asked me to take a look at her site. I did a quick scan of her site and found that all her web pages’ titles and descriptions were the same. From a SEO point of view, that is terrible!
I told her about this. She then asked me if I could change it, since she was unable to get in touch with the other company. When I logged into the website admin section that this company provided, I saw that it was really bad and it didn’t allow me to make those changes. I suggested to Mrs K that she consider having her website rebuilt on a decent website platform.
At that point, I found a phone number for that web design company and passed it on to Mrs K. She was finally able to contact them, and here’s what she discovered:
- The company farmed out the development work to offshore developers in India.
- Her website was hosted on one of the company’s servers and Mrs K could get absolutely no access to it. (All of my other clients have access to their website servers.)
- They were willing to move her website to another provider, but wanted $250 to do so.
In the end, I rebuilt Mrs K’s website as a mobile responsive WordPress website that is search engine optimized. She has access to her website anytime she wants, and I’m here if she needs help.
The moral of this story is: Be very careful when hiring a web designer!
To help you avoid Mrs K’s experience, here are…
Tips When Hiring A Web Designer
- Find out if the developers will be doing the work themselves, or whether it will be done elsewhere.
- Find out if your website will be hosted on a server that you will have some access to. At a minimum, you want to have Control Panel access and FTP access.
- Find out what will be used to build and administer the website. In most cases, a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla will be a great solution.
- Look at testimonials or references for the web developer.
- Ask to see examples of previous websites that the web designer created.
If you do these four things, you have a good chance of hiring a web designer that will give you good service and that will be available when you need them later.