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Having a website developed can be a difficult time for businesses. Too often, they end up getting ripped off by web developers. The web world is littered with horror stories of businesses and companies not getting what they paid for, but following are some helpful questions that you should be asking your web developer.

Can your website developer answer these question?

Once the site goes live and I need to make future changes, can I do this myself? Most websites should be built around a CMS or content management system platform that will allow you to make your own amends. This will save you heaps of time and money if you can do it yourself. Make sure that the web developer will be building your site using an open source CMS ( such as WordPress ), that does not lock you into their contacts. This is wide spread amongst many web development companies and if you fall prey to this, you can end up paying monthly fees ( never disclosed to you) for using their CMS platform.

  1. Will the design of the website be customised or based on a pre-existing template. Many businesses will be happy with a standard template design, but if you require something a little more complex with thought put into the design process, then it should be customised based on a detailed brief. Don’t try and go the cheaper standard version to save a few dollars now. Having a customised design will make you look unique and set your business apart.
  2. What is their portfolio like? Can they show you their most recent work and perhaps some examples of sites they have developed for other businesses in the same industry. Don’t be afraid to call a few of their past clients and get their opinion on the work performed.
  3. What are the hosting fees like? Can they organise the hosting and where will it be based and what type of security does it offer? Ideally if your business is here in Australia, it should be hosted here. Also, many web developers charge outrageous monthly hosting fees saying they are necessary for web maintenance and updates. This is unnecessary and you really need to pay a small fee every year for hosting. Don’t get ripped off in this space.
  4. Will my site be worked on internally or will the designs be out sourced? Make sure you work with a developer who will be doing your  designs. Having them out sourced to a freelancer can compromise the designs and entire development process.
  5. Do I get training with my CMS? And, if I need help on an on going basis what are the hourly rates?
  6. What is the timeline for my project? Try to set solid project milestones to avoid delays and budget blowouts. Delays can easily turn a web relationship sour, so adhering to a schedule will be the best philosophy.
  7. Will they design and develop a site using search engine friendly techniques? Having your website ranking well on Google is great feeling and it will lead to am increase in web traffic.
  8. Will the developers install Google Analytics into the site to make web analysis easy?
  9. Are there any hidden costs that I should be aware of down the track, such as hosting, CMS monthly fees, intellectual property fees etc.
  10. Are they going to be putting any social media links into the site? You will be needing at least a Facebook and Twitter link on your home page. Social media marketing are considered the building blocks of marketing campaigns and your web developer should have a firm understanding of this.
  11. Will there be a contact form on the website and where does the captured information on this form go to? Will they help set up an email newsletter system?
  12. Can I come in for face to face meeting to make web amends? This is great of you prefer that kind of contact rather than emailing everything.
  13. Who owns the intellectual property once the site is complete? Who owns the images and do I have to pay a yearly fee for these?
  14. Can you put a blog on my site and will you be able to train me in how to use the blog.
  15. Will you help me in the writing of the site content or do you have people that can help me with this. Content marketing is great for your Google rankings, and all web developers MUST be able to provide a copywriter for you most important landing pages.
  16. How long does it take to design and build a site? Most developers will say five to seven weeks from initial meeting to site deployment.
  17. With the CMS, which areas can I edit and which are static? Are you comfortable not being able to amend the static areas of the website?
  18. How much do are you going to charge for web design? Better web designs will charge for their work and design expertise, whilst cheap quotes will result in websites that have had corners cut with many short cuts taken. If they quote a fixed price, ask them exactly what this includes.
  19. Will you be developing up a set of Wireframes for me to look at before any design work starts – Wireframes allow the user to see the site structure. Like architectural drawings of a house.

If you are still unsure and need help, then call the team at Hopping Mad Designs on 02 9360 8514 – we are more than happy to answer any questions you might have regarding web design & development.

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