You really need to watch yourself when you select a web designer and make sure that you are not going to be at a disadvantage should you choose to leave them at a future date. Remember that nothing lasts forever in business and this is equally true for your website and your website designer, so you need to make sure you have answers for the following;
- Do you own the copyright to your website? If you choose to move your hosting or choose a different web designer, are you able to use the existing design for the time during which your new site is being developed.
- Who is in control of your domain name? Some website designers will register the domain name for you and this is a mistake. Always make sure that you are registering your domain name and you have access to the domain registrar account. This way you cannot be held to ransom for your own name
- Is there a termination fee? Be wary of termination fees and cancellation fees should you decide to change providers. Just like the big telecoms providers, it seems there is an eagerness with some web designers to lock you in for a significant period of time.
- Who edits the site? A good website is nothing without regular content updates. Who can edit the site and add content? If your web designer edits the site then what is there lead time and do they offer a service level guarantee. You can find yourself waiting for weeks to have content added and paying for the privilege!
- What kind of Search Engine performance are you buying? Some web designers will promise you they can get you to the first page on google. This is very unlikely for any competitive or mainstream keywords. Anyone can get to the top of the search engines for their own brand name, especially if it is your domain name too. Spamming free directories isn’t very effective, and submitting your website does nothing if you are already indexed anyway. Real Search Engine Optimisation takes time, and free SEO is worth exactly what you pay for it!
- What other services are offered? Are you able to setup newsletters from your website? Can you add functionality as your business develops or changes. Most businesses make significant changes to how they do things every few years, and your website needs to be able to keep up.
- What support is provided? Is the site hosted with loads of other websites? Can your service provider control the actual web server so the speed and performance can be monitored? Are you able to look at the stats of your site and keep track of visitors?
I was amazed to hear of a web designer recently who took a client through ‘website hell’. They allowed their web designer to take control of their domain name. He then proceeded to claim ownership of the copyright and promised to make edits which would be done according to a monthly retainer.
After not editing the site for a number of months despite the customer paying the retainer, they decided to leave. They then had to pay a two month termination fee before they could get their domain back. The designer then turned off the site and failed to provide any of the content which he said was theirs, and when they placed a backup of their site on a new host, he then sent a copyright abuse notice out to get it shut down. After the site was shut down he then contacted the customer to offer to sell them the copyright!!
This is all perfectly legal, but not the kind of sharp practice you want to be on the receiving end of. Needless to say the victim of this web designer will never use them again. If you find yourself in this kind of situation then please contact us and we can help you get control of your website.
If you have control of your website and can add copy when you want to you will not sbe at a disadvantage. If you don’t, book on our “Build your own website for FREE” NOW and avoid all these problems.