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How to – Know what you are buying from a web designer

So – you have agreed that a particular web designer will provide you with a new website that will do all the things that you are expecting it to do. You know nothing about how web design is done. Why should you? We can’t be experts at everything. I don’t do my end of year accounts as I recognise that I’m lousy at spreadsheets and masses of figures. So I get an accounting expert to do it and I trust that all is done correctly and that I am getting value for money. This may be a simpler thing to judge than the website scenario and this is why.

Websites consist of

  • the visual stuff and how attractive it looks on your screen
  • the content i.e.. the words, images and information and how well that may be put together to give the right message for your market
  • the functions, like forms, that have to interact with your market
  • the administration side of the website – how you can add articles, edit pages, put up new images/videos/testimonials etc
  • the hidden stuff like
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that helps Google assist people to find you
    • Security measure for your site that help to prevent nasty people hack your site
    • Maintenance of your website and backups so that the site is kept healthy, secure and functioning

So there is a lot going on and how are you to tell what is important and what isn’t? The truth is that it is all important. No use if the site looks pretty but there is nothing going on in the background to lead people to you or the verbal content isn’t giving the message to your market in the way they will best receive it. You can waste a lot of money and gain very little.

As a designer of over 30 years experience and a web designer of 15 + years experience I get very upset when I see my colleagues and business associates not being given the whole picture or being led down an inappropriate path or simply being lied to. I don’t pretend to know everything but, believe me, I can tell when people have been sold a pup. The amounts that some people have paid for poor service and outcomes appals me. The converse also applies – some pay peanuts but have been led to expect that they have a bargain. What do you get when you pay peanuts?

So, I am going to do a series of articles on different aspects of commissioning a website. The first one will be called “So, you think you have paid for a customised website design?” This will be out in 1 month.

In the meantime feel free to download my useful checklist at the the bottom of the Strategy page.

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