HOW TO HIRE THE RIGHT WEB DESIGNER – PART 4
31. Do you provide e-commerce services?
A full service website design company will offer e-commerce services to enable a website to complete online sales. Enquire what solutions are utilised by your designer and ask for specifics regarding the framework. Elements such as shopping carts, multi-currency capability (if required), customer database and the ability to offer discounts, are all valuable assets in the e-commerce world.
32. Do you follow web design best practices?
All respectable web design companies should follow the basic standards of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and that all of their code complies with this validation. This is to ensure that your website works on all modern devices, browsers and platforms. They should also be proficient in all major programming languages such as HTML, CSS and PHP.
33. Will I have a static or unique IP?
Ask if they will assign you a unique IP address (if they are taking care of this on your behalf) rather than a static IP address. The former ranks higher on search engines and is considered more trustworthy by the majority of email providers.
34. Will you register my domain for me?
If you are working with a full service web design company, they should provide all business internet services. This includes registering a domain for you and possibly hosting and email accounts. Ask your designer if the domain name you have chosen is available and how much the lease will be for each year.
35. Can I view the progress of the website as it develops?
Reputable web design companies will make their progress viewable to a select member of parties. This will allow them to make changes, suggest possible additions or image choices and also flag up anything that they are not keen on from the outset and giving them creative input along the way.
36. What tests will be carried out on my website before it is launched?
A new website will need to undergo vigorous testing and analysis on every level before it is fit to be launched live onto your chosen server. This will include (among other things) testing for syntax errors, correctly uploaded files, cross-browser compatibility and functionality of forms, scripts, links and other important elements.
37. What interruption will my current site experience?
Once your website project is complete, you will need to enquire as to how much downtime (if any) your current website and email system will incur. There may be a specific time that you would like the migration to happen, such as during the week/weekend or late in the evening to minimise disruption.
38. Who owns the rights to my completed website?
You will want to know the ongoing situation once everything is finished. Find out who your domain name is registered under and also about your hosting account and control panel – is it you or your designer? Will you be given full administrative powers in the backend admin panel (this isn’t always a good idea!) and who will you contact if there is a problem with the website or you need something updating. You will also want to record all of the login information and passwords for your account, as well as the hosting company you are with and where your domain is registered.
39. Who owns the artwork rights?
Some designers may copyright their artwork that is supplied in your project. Make sure you are clear on who owns the rights to what elements and also see if you can request the source files – these are sometimes available to purchase.
40. What hosting services do you provide?
As we mentioned earlier in this article, a full service design company will be able to supply you with all business internet services. This will nearly always include a hosting package. Even if you already have a host in mind (or already have one), always ask what they can offer you. This may often be a much better deal than you had without their expertise and if you are hosting on their servers, they will instantly be able to address any problems that may occur. If performance of a large website is important to you then ask what type of server you will be considering on and what access you will have to things like email accounts, control panels and databases.
As part of their website services, web design companies offer web hosting. This means your website will reside on its hosting server. Even if you already have a web hosting provider, it’s a good idea to ask what the web design firm offers in terms of hosting plans, whether the fee includes a unique IP address, how much bandwidth, processing power and disk space are included, its guaranteed uptime and speed of access, the type of control panel or user interface, methods of access to tech support, and if there are fees for sponsored links, pay-per-click, search engine submission or optimisation, or any other additional fees.
You might find a better deal than your current one.
41. Will you integrate social media into my web design?
Linking social networking sites to your website is now part of the norm in website design. Find out if the web designer will do this and at what cost. Some web design companies go a step further and offer social media integration services to help you generate more leads and turn them into sales. Ask about social media marketing plans, like setup and management, blogger outreach, and monitoring and measuring.
42. Do you offer on-going maintenance after my site goes live?
As technology and trends change, you may want to have additional web design and development work done on your website. This could include updating content or updating compatibility with browser changes. Ask the web design firm if they offer maintenance services and if they are provided on an as-needed, on-going, or retainer arrangement. Find out what the prices are to update content and make minor and major edits.