What to Ask Your Web Design Or Web Development Company

Getting a professional design for your website is crucially important. Potential customers use the web to research many purchases before buying. So it’s vital that you present a good impression.

Many people have found it’s not easy to find a good web designer. This can result in unnecessary expense and headaches. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems.

Many people’s first concern is the look of their website. Does it have a professional feel that customers will find appealing? Make sure that you look through previous work that your web design company have done. Some web site designers have graphic designers in house. They can help you get the exact look that you want.

Ask your web design company if they will be using a template or if they’re creating a custom made site. A template driven site will cost less but your site may look like hundreds of others. You can make the decision as to how important these factors are.

You should think about how you are going to attract customers to your site, at an early stage. Can your web designer also provide search engine optimization services? By doing this your site can appear on the first page when your customers search on Google and Yahoo. It is often wise to build a site with SEO in mind. This is more sensible than building a site and then making changes to optimize it later on.

Naturally, cost is going to be a consideration. When thinking about this, take into account the ongoing costs associated with your site. Don’t be fooled by companies that provide a site cheaply but charge expensive monthly fees. Over a three year period these can really start to add up. You should be certain about what you will be charged for updates to an existing website. There have been businesses that have been charged huge fees for minor changes to their site.

Getting a new website is a great opportunity. But don’t let the process turn into a nightmare. By avoiding some of the mistakes that other businesses have made you will end up with the perfect website.

Finding a Digital Agency: What to Look for in a Web Design or Web Development Agency?

Narrow down your digital agency selection using our handy top ten tips on choosing a web design agency.

1) Check out their own site

Do you like it? Does it sell to you? Does it contain all the types of skills that you’re looking for e.g. good web design, well designed user interface, well built, works on mobiles. Does it impress you?

2) Ask to look at their portfolio

Are the case studies recent? Do you recognize the company names? Do a Google search and check that the companies exist and have the same website that the agency designed. Do you like the website designs they have produced? Ask yourself: Do they represent the company well? Would you use this website? Do they have experience of website design in your field? Do the website’s meet their objectives?

3) Check References

Ask the web agency if they can send you references or testimonials from customers. And when you get these testimonials, make sure you check them out. Call the clients up and check that the testimonials are real.

Finally, ask how long the agency has been running. Age doesn’t always matter, but it does help to identify experience.

4) Capabilities

All agencies will be good at some things and not at others. Find out what they have experience in and what they do well, they often have a bias to one content management technology or another. Often, it’s helpful to get the CV’s of all staff employed. The best agencies will have a balance of online marketing, development and creative. If you have specific requirements – make a list and ask the agency what their proficiency is in the specific skills.

5) Availability – Service levels

Check that they can meet your needs. Quite often companies have a client account team in the UK but their main development team may be based elsewhere. Make sure you get a phone number not just an email address (and not a premium rate number either). Ask the web design agency what the turnaround time is for responding to emails.

6) Resourcing

You want your web design agency to be big enough to ensure that if your account manager is off sick or on holiday your business is not forgotten.

Do you prefer a larger, higher resourced agency or a smaller, more flexible agency? The general rule would be to find a web agency that’s resourced to reflect the size of tasks and projects you require. If you have 1000 employees but your actual marketing and development budget is reasonably low, you are only likely to need an agency of 5-10 employees. If you have 100 employees, but you are heavily reliant on outsourced projects, a larger agency may be more suitable. No one size fits all!

7) Age of agency

Age doesn’t always matter, but in this industry it can be an important factor. The web has seen many changes in a relatively short space of time, if a website design agency has been in business for five or more years it have obviously been managed well. The internet has seen the boom and bust of many company’s; those that live to tell the tale are obviously being run well.

8) Are the staff approachable and professional?

It’s important that you connect with the people managing your account. The best results will be created when you forge a partnership with your web agency.

Do they provide an off the shelf package, or do they tailor their resources to your needs? Do they use a lot of jargon or explain things clearly? Have they provided relevant suggestions suitable for your business? Far too often, company’s try to sell you products that you don’t need and are not tailored to your needs.

9) Check out the agency’s terms and conditions

This is quite important and helps avoid problems further down the line. Here’s some helpful questions to ask:

  • Are there any hidden costs, like set up fees or holding fees?
  • Can you make staged payments for your web project?
  • Are updates and maintenance included in the website design fees?
  • Are bug fixes charged for?
  • Will you get a copy of the source files?
  • Who owns the source code?
  • Who owns copyright of the design?
  • Are the files back-up?
  • Will it work on smartphones?

10) Do they outsource their work?

Check to see if your project will be developed in house or if it will be outsourced. Ask to meet the design or technical team. If work is going to be outsourced, find out where, are you able to contact the team? There are many cases of company’s who have an account management team, and an outsourced development team. It’s common for technical development to be done off shore as resources abroad are cheaper. The problem with this scenario is guaranteeing the quality of the work produced. Does the account management team check the back end code? Does it meet current guidelines and legal requirements? Can they be flexible enough to meet your needs?

Want a web agency with a difference contact Alchemy Interactive

My Web Developer Disappeared With My Site, What Do I Do?

Here are six things you can do to help recover your website files:

1. Email the developer

You may have already done this before but it wouldn’t hurt to email the developer a few more times. Try emailing them from different emails but don’t ask them about your files just yet. Tell them that you are interested in getting a new website developed. If they respond, then you may proceed to ask them about getting your site files. This can be sticky because they may or may not respond. But, trying doesn’t hurt.

2. Call the developer

Whenever you work with any developer, whether offshore or locally, you NEED to get a working phone number from them in case of an emergency. Call that phone number several times. Call them from different phone numbers in case you feel that they are not answering your calls because they recognize your number. If they respond, DO NOT be rude or get angry at them. Even though you are angry, don’t let it show. Your goal is to get your files back.

3. Contact your hosting company

Give your hosting company a call to see if the files are on your server. If they are, good for you. You can download the files and store them on your hard drive so that when you find a trusted developer, you can give it to them. If the files are not on your server, then more than likely, your developer was working on it from another server, or they removed it from your server.

4. Freelance website

If you hired them on a freelancing website like elance or odesk, then you have a better chance of getting your website back. Contact the freelancing website and let them know what happened. Most of them will do whatever they can to help you. Unfortunately, it’s not always guaranteed that you will get your website back as the developer can take your files and your money, delete their account, create a new one under a different name. This is sad, but it is done one too many times.

5. Pray and keep hope alive

After you’ve done all you can to get in touch with them, at this point, you are at their mercy. Just pray and hope that you hear back from them. If all else fails, then you are left with only one thing to do… hire someone else.

6. Hire someone else

After all attempts fail, you have no choice but to start over. This is not an easy thing to do because you’ve already invested so much time and money in your other project. But as tough as it is, it’s the last and necessary resort.

The Bottom Line

It’s very unfortunate for those who’s lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars like this. That’s why it’s very vital that you take the time to research your developers, especially offshore ones before hiring them.