How to Avoid New Website Failure
Avoid new website failure when you are redoing your website or starting from scratch and want to hire it out. If you aren’t sure what to expect or what to ask, here are eight very important questions to ask your prospective web designer to protect yourself.
1. What is included with my website design?
Do they custom make the WordPress template or use a template? And what is the difference? Often if you start off with a template, you’ll be able to see a great sample of what your website will look like. But be aware that not all WordPress templates are good. Some have bad coding and you may have issues in the future.
If they are going to design the site from scratch, the price will be much steeper. Your designer can do a PSD to WordPress, where you can view the end result in PhotoShop and then create your site. There are also some good “drag and drop” WordPress templates where you can get a lot of options and have your site semi-custom built. Again, these take longer and the price you are quoted will generally reflect that.
Make sure the WordPress template you pick is coded properly and has good customer support.
2. How many pages are included?
And this is something you should be thinking about — what specific pages you want on your site. Plus how you are going to structure the navigation and how many pages are included in the design quote? Do you need different formats on your pages or will they be the same? If you have an existing site, can your designer migrate and use some of the existing pages and graphics? Depending on how your site is built, pages may be an easy thing for you to add yourself, but not always. So find out how easy it is to add pages.
3. Who’s writing the content?
Or in plain English, who is doing the writing? Do you have to provide the content for the pages or do they help you with any of your writing or story telling? Do you have existing content that needs to be tweaked? And that’s another thing, make sure that any writing you have on your website is not about you — like we provide, our mission is, etc. No one cares about you, your vision and goals. They want to know how you are going to help them. Usually, you can tweak your writing to make it about them. Find out how much rewriting or writing your content will cost or see if they have someone they can suggest to write your content.
When writing your website content, think of what’s in it for your customer.
4. Is your designer creating any graphics?
Do you have any images or graphics? Do you have a logo? What will they be doing for you and what can you provide? I find that with my projects, we normally quote some image/graphic creation in the design. And it’s all in-house, so we can keep the project going. But we also work with any existing logos and graphics that our clients have if at all possible.
Sometimes we need some stock photos (not cheesy ones like Vince Vaughn’s spoof) for the websites we design. So, we have to make sure that either they or we purchase the photos with the proper license.
Make sure you have the proper license for images used on any website project.
5. How long will the website project take?
Find out how the web design firm works. When will your site be finished? When will they start on your site? Some companies are booked months in advance. And as designers, we often juggle quite a few projects at a time.
All my customers get a preliminary questionnaire. Once I get that back, the customer goes in queue. Usually I need more things, or they change their mind on some things. So, then they go back in queue after I receive any additional things I may have requested or they want.
I’d love to say it’s an overnight process, but it’s not. Good design (like fine wine) takes time. So find out how long they anticipate the site will take.
6. Who’s hosting your website?
Is the web design company hosting your website or are you purchasing it? As designers, we can have our own servers and hosting companies. But what happens if your design company provides the hosting and then goes out of business? You may be out of commission for a while. So, just make sure you clarify this with them. Personally, I prefer to host the WordPress sites on SiteGround. They have extra security features that are fabulous. And my customers have full control of their hosting and site, although I do help a lot maintain their sites after. Which bring up the next question.
7. Who maintains the site after it launches?
You do have to update WordPress and any plugins that were installed. Find a company or ask your design firm if they can maintain the site for you. If you feel comfortable and will do the updates, then by all means, do them. Test your site after to make sure that it looks good on different browsers and that the update is compatible. Once I lost the “kitchen sink” on WordPress and couldn’t format anything. I just had to tweak it a little.
8. What payment is required to start the site?
What type of deposit will you need to give them to start and when is final payment due? We normally take 50% up front. But each company has different requirements. Just make sure you know what you are getting with payment. I’ve heard stories of web designers delivering something very different than the client was expecting — so you want to be clear to avoid new website failure.
So, that’s a list of eight things to help get you started when talking to a web designer and make sure you avoid new website failure. Communication is so important, so make sure you clearly understand what you are getting with your job. What other questions should you ask? Please post below.
Jo Guerra is the owner of Kick A Marketing. She loves to help women business owners look, sound and feel great online. She creates WordPress websites that rock her clients, is a certified SEO specialist, writes copy that doesn’t suck-the-life out of prospects and is a Digital Marketing Consultant.