Design Company Advice – Website Design Buyers Guide Series
In this series we are providing a buyer’s guide to web design services. To give a more balanced range of advice we have accepted contributions from business owners with experience in buying web design services. In future series we will also cover SEO Services and online marketing. We will also add our input to the guides with the prefix ED:
Name: Ben Beath Email: [email protected]
I’m a Web Designer with 8 years’ experience, and the owner of DesignerWebsites.com.au. I’d be happy to provide a couple of quotes for you from the experience of someone who has built hundreds of websites and has seen a lot of successes and failures amongst them….
I’ve listed a few of the pitfalls we see on a day to day basis:
Getting comparative quotes is essential, but it’s vital to ensure you’re comparing apples with apples. Almost every week, we’re engaged to rebuild websites because the client chose the original web designer simply because they gave the lowest quote. There’s nothing wrong with shopping around, but it’s vital to take the time to understand why a supplier is able to quote lower – is it simply because they are able to work faster and smarter than their competitors, or is their quote lower because they’ve excluded some features, or just haven’t understood the brief? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions, because it can save you time-consuming rebuilds and arguments down the track.
ED: Great advice, couldn’t agree more. Often it is helpful if you can compose a clear brief of your design project. Then all quotes will be for the same specifications. Some companies can help you compose a specification and it is worth paying for that service if your site is complex.
Don’t let your web developer host your website. We often have to assist clients to “liberate” their websites from previous suppliers, and it’s not uncommon for rogue web developers to claim ownership over a website, and refuse to hand it over to another supplier without an extortionate fee. Control your own hosting, and that way if you encounter problems with your supplier, you’re easily able to switch to another web developer easily and quickly.
ED: Also good advice, probably I would also add that you should ask your designer to recommend a 3rd party host that suits the requirements of the site they build.
Be wary of the one stop shops. It’s not uncommon for small web development agencies to offer dozens of services in addition to websites, such as hosting, logo design and even general advertising services. Having one provider often makes it easier for the client, but it can easily lead to inferior results because it’s simply not possible for a 2-3 person team to be adept at web development, and be able to develop a brand and logo, and manage the infrastructure and support required for hosting. Do your research and choose the best suppliers for every product, not one supplier who says they can do it all.
ED: Good tip Ben, we have found the same thing, which is why we are digital only.
Look out for monthly fees. Many web developers offer a low rate for the initial build, but will sting you with on-going monthly fees. Over the course of two years, the total of these charges can end up being double what you would have paid to simply own the website outright.
Register your own domains. We have encountered rogue web developers who register their client’s domains in their own names, and then refuse to hand them over when things go sour. Your domain name is the cornerstone of your online business – take the time to register it yourself.
Hope this helps
Designer Websites is a top-tier Melbourne based web design firm that offers user-friendly & affordable websites, online stores and web solutions.