You know that feeling you have when you just want to set someone’s face on fire and put it out with a fork?
I get that… all the time.
Particularly with clients that go fishing for the cheapest website quotes and then come crying back to me, 3 months later so I can fix the complete ballsup of an incomplete website (that is STILL not finished and they have been paying through the nose for).
Smug as it may be, I love being right, but it breaks my heart to see small business owners being taken on a wild ride, trying to get their business online.
You don’t speak tech – I totally get that.
When a quote for R15 000 lands on your desk and you’re comparing it to a quote of R2 000, OBVIOUSLY your wallet is going to be leaning more towards the cheaper quote.
But you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
I’m so sick of seeing clients held hostage by self-proclaimed “web designers” who clearly have no fucking clue what they are doing, aside from making a few changes to a free WordPress template.
It seriously makes those of us who do it right (and who spent stupid amounts of time and money getting qualified) look bad.
So, I decided that the world needs a list of things to check before they jump into bed with just anyone who claims to know what they are doing.
If you are setting up your own website hosting – Great!
These hosting companies are cost effective and offer great customer support for the more technically challenged.
The initial domain setup (reserving your website address) should put you back between R70 and R150 for the whole year.
Basically, with these companies, you can get your basic website hosting for as little as R50 per month.
Unless you’re running a pretty big operation, this should be all you need.
All in all, setting up your hosting for monthly payments is going to cost you around R160 upfront and as little as R50 per month, after that.
If Mr Designer is handling your hosting and you are getting charged 3 times that amount, you have to ask why.
Waaaayyyy too many businesses get caught up in a hostage situation with this point and this point alone.
You get a reasonably priced website that looks great. You launch it. Everybody loves it.
Then, one day, you want to update a little information on your site.
You haven’t been shown how to do this, so you ask Mr Designer for this “quick change” and BAM! You’re hit with a R3 000 bill!
Maybe you aren’t charged too much, but Mr Designer takes 3 weeks to reply to your mails?
Either way, you can’t be left at the mercy of Mr Designer.
Unless you have a super complex site that has been custom-built to do some weird and wonderful things, you should be able to make basic edits yourself.
Make sure that this is communicated before your project starts. Otherwise, if Mr Designer decides to drop off the face of the planet, you are up Shit’s Creek – and the only paddle is a new designer.
Here’s a new “techy” term for you:
CMS – Content Management System.
Use this term with Mr Designer and he’ll be less likely to fuck around, because *clearly* you know what you are talking about.
A CMS is basically a building platform for websites and blogs.
There are TONS of them out there – but very few that you should accept for your site.
Basically, you are shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t include a blog page on your site.
The Google algorithm is constantly looking for fresh, new, keyword-rich content to move up the Google ranks. Well-written and constantly updated blog posts help you do this.
It stands to reason that, if your website developer is any good, they would encourage you to include this on your site. In fact, I throw it in as a free function to help my clients get motivated.
You should be able to log on to your website to add a blog post, whenever you want.
If this is not something that Mr Designer can make happen, you need to go somewhere else.
Mr Designer should ask you for a list of at least 10 focus keywords and phrases, before your web design project even starts. If this does not happen, red flags should be going up already.
While your actual copy (website wording) does play a part in your Google ranking, these keywords can be built into your website pages to help you along. But this alone is not enough…
There are 3 key Google integrations that should be part of your website build:
These basically introduce your website to Google, as if to say “Look! A new friend!”, and help you move up the ranks faster.
The sad fact is that 80% of self-proclaimed web designers will sound puzzled, when you bring this topic up. If you sense and hesitation here – Run!
This one is a little bit of a trick question…
If Mr Designer answers “yes” to this, he’s a fucking liar.
Nobody can promise this – Not even the CEO of Google himself.
Google takes about 3 months to register any of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) settings. If your website has been built correctly, you will be able to check your keyword rankings using Google analytics – which should be built into your website.
As mentioned, your copy does play a huge role in your Google rankings, so the most part of the responsibility is on you (unless you use a kickass copywriting service). But, without the Google integration, Google won’t even notice how cool and page-one-worthy your website is.
Even if you do get to that winning number one position, it’s going to take constant work to stay there. Use your blog, make sure your site is constantly updated and keep focusing on those winning keywords.
It is inevitable – at one stage or another, you’re going to need adjustments made to your website. Whether it’s a new page added in a year from now or a simple layout change, you need to know that you can have adjustments made, without having to pay for a whole new website.
Obviously, the rates will vary for different requests, but this is a question you want to ask at the start so that you don’t run into any nasty surprises that make you contemplate selling a kidney.
Obviously, if this is the first time you are going to be dabbling in your website, there are going to be questions. Mr Designer should communicate with you and explain all the basics, but there will always be more popping up down the line.
You need to know that you can pop through an email with questions, should you need answers, and you’re not going to be charged to ask something simple, like “How do I change this image?”.
One thing my clients find super helpful is the training session I offer with every website package that I offer. This is an online training session where you can ask all the questions you need to be able to confidently navigate the simple changes of your site alone. First prize would obviously be to get one of these, but help should be available to you if a question pops up later.
You know what pisses me off? Monthly contracts.
The odds of you needing changes to your website every single month are slim to none. So why should you be tied up into paying for this?
There definitely should be an option for pre-paid maintenance, such as a 10 hour package that is available over the space of a year. However, monthly payments are most likely going to tie you into unnecessary spending on work that’s actually not happening.
Opt for pre-paid maintenance (to save cash) or go for ad-hoc maintenance, where you pay as the updates are done.
Mr Designer should make it clear, from the get-go, exactly what will be expected from you, as the client.
Before the website project starts, you should have the following ready:
If Mr Designer doesn’t communicate this, the odds are that the communication for the rest of the project is going to be a little foggy too. This is going to lead to a lot of frustration, on both parts, so watch out for this little red flag.
If Mr Designer passed the test of these questions with flying colours, you’ve found yourself a good one. If not, be prepared for tears and frustration.
I always believe that you get what you pay for – so if price is your deciding factor, you want to be able to check that the answers to these questions won’t result in more unexpected expenses down the line.
Furthermore, every legit web developer has their own style, so having another developer fix Mr Designer’s ballsup is going to be that much harder. Pay a little more and get it done right the first time.
It’ll save you thousands in the long run.
Want a website done by yours truly? Book a free consultation and let’s chat…