Researching and hiring a web design company can be a very frustrating process. It is at the peak of your frustration that you are most likely to make a mistake. Here is a list of five things you should ask before hiring a web design firm. This list will save you time, money and headaches.
How do you operate your customer service when I have changes?
This question helps uncover two issues: responsiveness and cost for changes. If you want a company that will pick up the phone when you call you have to establish that boundary ahead of time. Also, some companies charge for every change you need make. This may include adding a new product or service to your existing website. Make sure you know how much this may cost before you enter into any contract.
How long are the terms of your contract?
You should never sign a 36-month contract for website support and services. Technology changes too fast and if your website company has you locked into a three-year deal there is a chance they may get lazy on updating your website. Look for companies that provide no long-term contracts or at most 12-months.
Who owns the website and content?
This is a serious question that needs to be answered. There are contracts, by reputable website design firms, that include upwards of $24,000 “buy-back” clauses. Basically they sell you a website, then charge you monthly fee to maintain that website. If you decide you want to leave, they sell you your website back! This is an outrageous practice and you should avoid any company that tries to sell you the same product twice.
Can you send me five current client’s website addresses?
Look at the websites and click around the navigation. Does everything work or are there any errors and graphics that look out of place? If you see blaring mistakes move to the next company. The second thing you should do is call each of the businesses and ask them to explain their experience with the company you are considering. This will provide some valuable information.
What is your experience with building mobile websites?
Like it or not, mobile is growing and fast. You must have a mobile website if you plan on doing business in the next couple of years. Have them send you some examples and make sure you check them out, on your mobile device of course.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.