Our hints and tips for finding a web designer/developer combines everything from questions to ask to things to consider in order to help you make the best decision possible.
Be open about your budget. The old saying "there are many ways to skin a cat" can also be applied to web design and development. There is usually an "ideal" way to do something, however if your budget doesn't quite stretch that far then there are other ways to create something with similar functionality for less.
We all like to run before we can walk, its human nature to want to advance quickly and web designers/developers are no different. Many companies will give timelines that aren't realistic so be aware of this. Some companies out there are offering websites for as little as £250, at an hourly rate of £35p/h that is only 7 hours of work.
Lets take a standard webstie - that 7 hours would have to be spread accross the following tasks:
1) Talk through what the website entails, what the client wants to get out of having thier site built/re-designed
2) Build a specification document and then tweak the specification document with client
3) Create multiple wireframe mockups (To show what is being included)
4) Create multiple colour mockups (To show different page types and devices)
5) Create final colour mockup
6) Code the site
7) Upload test version of the site
8) Test the site
9) Get signoff
10) Change over to live version of the site
11) Monitor the SEO over the launch month to check it performs as expected.
In between all of that is corresponsdence time with the client.
As you can imagine that is a lot more than 7 hours work. So at £250 you are either going to get a rushed job (i.e. using a template and just changing the logo and colours) or a job that takes a lot longer than expected and the development company won't be around for too long.
Design, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. So designing a website is as much about knowing what you want as the client as it is about the designer knowing their colour wheels, best practices for website layouts and search engine algorithms.
Make sure you give your designer examples of sites you like and of things you looked at or used and thought "oh that works really nicely" this will give them an idea of what you personally like. Of course they'll be able to aid/guide you in whether that works in practice or if its the best way of doing something but asthetically its down to you, the designer and your brand.
Unfortunatley development is a time when the client rarely gets anything to see. This can be frustrating but trust in your designer and the prepration work you've done with the specification, wireframes, colour mockups to know that they are building exactly what you are looking for and what will work best for your business.
Domain & Hosting
A domain is the address visitors type in to get to your website (i.e. www.cotswoldcode.com) - when you get a site developed a lot of companies will want to "manage" that domain for you. However if they go bust or you have a falling out with your development company they can use this domain against you, so ideally you want to keep this where you can access it and manage it.
Websites are stored on servers usually rented by the design and development company, these servers sit on the "backbone" of the internet in places like London or abroad like Ireland or Germany. These cost a substantial amount of money, and because of that, the cost is usually spread across clients in a "hosting fee" charged on a per month or per year basis.
There are a number of things you should ask of the company:
a) How often they do backups of the servers and how these are stored?
b) What happens if the company goes bust?
c) Is there the option to host on "virtual hosts" which usually means they can put your site on its own and charge that cost on, that way you can have access to it if anything happens to the web development company.
Here at Cotswold Code we backup every 6 hours. We recommend you keep your domain name and that you host the site or at least you own the account that hosts the site, this way if anything happened you could always carry on running the site. We like to keep you in control going forwards.
Hopefully that has given you some insight in to what to look for when getting web design/development work done and maybe some questions to ask to make sure you pick the right company for you and get the right service.
Categories:web design, websites, website design, website development, web development, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, Cotswolds, Graphic Design, Branding