3 Crucial Questions To Ask Your Website Designer

Whether you are bricks and mortar or based solely online, your website plays a vital role in your small business. 

Generally, it’s not until problems arise that you realise just how crucial it is.  You may be happily going about your business, then bam! Something goes wrong and you are left – confused, angry, panicked and for want of a better term royally screwed.

Recently, I’ve been hearing from clients and small business owners about the horrendous and completely inexcusable problems that they have had with website designers. And it makes me sad and disappointed.  Because that reflects badly on all other web designers who actually provide a top-notch service and care about their clients.

Listening to those bad experiences spurred me on to share with you 3 questions you should ask your website designer before you sign on the dotted line. The following questions are just the tip of the iceberg. However, to me they are really important and ones that you most definitely need to ask your website designer.

1 // WHO WILL REGISTER MY DOMAIN NAME? 

Your website designer should recommend that you register and manage your own domain name. I always encourage all my clients to do this.  Why? Well there are a number of reasons:-

  • It works out cheaper for you as you deal directly with the registrar instead of through a third party, who will add on admin fees.
  • You are in control of renewing the domain name so you are not reliant on your website designer remembering to do it.
  • If you need to move your website for any reason to a different provider then you can easily do this if you manage the domain.
  • You don’t risk losing your domain name when your website designer disappears or goes out of business.
  • The domain is registered in your name not your website designers name.  This will be important when you need to transfer the domain or your website designer vanishes without a trace. Having the domain name registered in your name will make getting it back a million times easier (yeah that’s right a million).

I cannot stress enough how important this question is to your website design and management because it is one of the top reasons small businesses have issues.

2 // WHO OWNS MY WEBSITE AFTER IT IS COMPLETE?

Some website designers will retain ownership of your website after completion. While this may not be a problem for you, if you do decide to make changes or have another designer make updates then you may run into some trouble.  You will be prevented from changing anything on the website because despite paying out your hard earned cash, you don’t actually own your online space.

You will then have to stick with what you have and pay the current designer for changes or move elsewhere and start over from scratch. Either way, it’s disappointing and if I’m investing in something as important as a website for my business, I want to own it not just rent it.

It is better to ask up front or check the contract instead of waiting until you run into issues to find out.

3 // CAN I HOST MY WEBSITE ELSEWHERE?

There are website designers who insist that clients host their websites with them.  This could be for a variety of reasons – their servers may be uniquely configured to work with the websites they develop for example. But if you prefer not to put all your eggs in the one basket, you may want to manage and purchase your own hosting. Again managing this yourself gives you control over your website and if any problems arise you can deal with them yourself.

There is however no problem with your website designer hosting your website. I host some of my client websites but I don’t require them to do this and if they do want to host elsewhere then that is absolutely fine.

Another potential hosting issue is that your website designer may be using crappy servers. And by crappy I mean – slow, overcrowded, buggy and prone to being hacked servers.  This could be catastrophic for your website and result in downtime and hassle you really don’t need.

FINAL THOUGHTS…

Website design is an ever growing industry with new design companies are popping up daily – promising the world yet delivering a shoddy service.

Of course, not every designer falls into that category but your website is a crucial part of your business.  You need a website designer who not only understands that but will strive to make sure it is a worthwhile investment for your business.

My advice is to do your research, ask lots of questions and ask for referrals from fellow businesses, friends and family.  That’s the best way to find a website designer who you can rely on to provide a quality service, that will be a positive addition to your business.

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