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The ultimate website buyer’s guide

By
Jag Chohan
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When evaluating potential vendors for your website project, there are many questions you need to ask before making a decision. With the advice in this guide, you will be better informed and able to make an informed purchase decision.

1. Understand What You Want

Before even thinking about how much it costs or why someone should do what you want done, understand who is going to provide the service. If you have never hired someone before and don’t know what to expect from them then take the time to interview potential vendors. Not everyone has the same level of experience and standards. You should expect a minimum of three quotes for each project and make sure that they are all in writing, with pricing clearly listed out along with any issues or concerns you have about their work done or products sold.

2. Be Realistic

When requesting your website from a designer or developer, it is important to be realistic about what you want and need so that you will receive what you’re expecting when it comes to both price and quality. Spending more money on something doesn’t necessarily result in getting better quality. If there are specific things that are very crucial for your project, such as obtaining a custom design, editable content management system and e-commerce solutions, then be sure to provide the vendor with details of these requirements before hiring them.

3. Specify Your Requirements & Expectations

It is important that you outline all your expectations for a website or web project in writing when you are requesting proposals from Web Designers and Developers. Be detailed in what it is that you want done so that there will be no misunderstandings or misinterpretation about what must be included in your design. If there are specific features and technologies that are crucial for your project, be sure to outline how they should appear and operate. This can help save time later on down the road as well as money that might have been wasted.

4. Consider Industry Standards & Best Practices

When you shop for a website, it is important to consider the tools and techniques that are widely accepted in your industry. There are many instances where great websites have been built with very innovative ideas but they may not be functional or usable from other people's perspectives. When comparing Web Designers and Developers, ask them about their previous experience working within specific industries and how they would handle certain issues that might occur during the design process.

5. Compare Portfolios & Reviews

One of the best ways to find out what kind of service you will receive is by viewing past projects completed by Web Designers or finding information about previous clients who have worked with them before. This should give you some insight into how good their work really is as well as how much respect they have from their peers. It will also give you a chance to see the quality of work and standard of service that they provide.

6. Research Your Vendor’s Reputation & History

Another great way to find out how good someone is at what they do is by researching them online or asking around about vendors themselves. You can read reviews from previous customers, search the Internet for information about the vendor and even ask for references from other businesses who might be using them right now. Just remember that people are biased so try not to get too caught up in it when reading online reviews as some could be made by competitors or disgruntled employees.

7. Stick to a Budget

No one wants to spend more money than they have to but it is important that you analyse your budget and figure out what you can afford for your project. If possible, try to get a rough estimate of an entire website cost or design package price before you start the bidding process.

8. Consider How Quickly You Need The Work Done

If there is any kind of deadline set by yourself or anyone else involved in the project, then take this into consideration when hiring a company to help with your web development needs. Although most professional Web Designers and Developers will give you their initial estimated time frame for completing your project, always keep in mind that things could change during the course of work. Therefore, be sure to add an extra week or two on top of their initial deadline to allow for any unforeseen issues that might arise. This will ensure you don’t miss your deadline date and have your website up and running by the time you need it.

9. Shop Around & Compare Quotes

Before hiring a Web Designer or Developer, always remember to shop around at other companies first and weigh out the benefits and drawbacks of each company. Keep track of how long they take to return quotes as well as what additional costs are added onto the original price once they receive all the details about your project requirements. Asking for references from past clients is also helpful so feel free to reach out to them and get their viewpoints on the company that they used. By doing all of these things you will not only get a better feel for how well each vendor has performed in the past but also know if you are getting a great deal or being overcharged by other service providers.

10. Take The Time To Feel Comfortable With Your Decision

Lastly, don’t rush into hiring a company for your projects just because they are fast or cheap. If possible, try working with more than one vendor to see how different they really are and if you feel comfortable placing your business in their hands. Over time this should help you make an informed decision on who to hire for your web design projects as well as ensure that you get everything that you need from them without feeling cheated out of your money.

11. Final Say On Website Design Pricing & Payment Fees

When planning to go ahead with the development of your website, the first step is to decide on how much you are willing and able to spend. Starting out with a budget at the beginning will help keep costs in control as building websites can be costly when all factors are considered. The amount of money spent can vary greatly based on several factors such as the size and complexity of the site, custom functionality requirements, number of pages needed, etc.. Most importantly, it depends on quality because what you want is a well-crafted design that meets your needs without blowing up your budget.

12. Hire A Graphic Designer First

Hiring a graphic designer for web design purposes is an excellent idea due to their unique skill set and ability to transform original concepts and ideas into reality. It is the graphic designer’s responsibility to take your ideas and bring them into existence by creating, designing, editing, animating and converting images for web pages. This is accomplished through various applications such as Photoshop or Figma. The creation of graphics provides one more advantage which is that they have multi-platform effects and will look good on any device from desktops to mobile devices.

13. Budget For SEO Services & Keep Track Of Any Expenses

When producing a website there are many opportunities to get involved with SEO services due to the fact that so many people are leveraging this space in an attempt to rank well in search engine results. If you decide not to hire someone for these purposes it is recommended that you at least take time out of your schedule to research SEO and how it can further increase the ranking of your website.

14. Set A Timeline For Completion Of The Website Design Project

Setting a timeline which has a set deadline will allow both parties to understand when deliverables need to be completed by. While there may be times where certain tasks take longer than expected, mutually agreeing upon deadlines will help keep everything on track along with helping prevent delays in terms of money owed as well as payments received. As previously stated, it is always best practice that this is clearly outlined in the contract which is signed by both parties so none of these issues come up.

15. Test The Website On Various Levels & Multiple Platforms

When creating a website there is the belief that if it looks good on one platform or device then it will look nice just about everywhere else. This is not always a guarantee and you should test your website on various levels to ensure its functionality as well as make sure it looks great across multiple devices such as desktops, tablets, and phones. Having this done early gives you the opportunity to identify issues that may be present before launch rather than after when they are much more difficult to correct.

16. Seek Relevant Information From Your Web Design Company

There is no doubt that having an understanding of coding can play a valuable role in being able to develop websites. However, the time it takes to learn this can be considerable and there is no way of knowing how long you may have to dedicate yourself towards learning. While your web design company should not need to know every little detail about what goes into creating a website, they should provide sufficient knowledge for maintaining the site going forward once everything has been delivered to you. If it appears that something does not work properly on your site – ask them if they could check it or give advice as pertains to your own situation.

17. Always Keep Track Of Change Requests

More than likely your project will go through multiple rounds of revisions before the final version is submitted and this means more change requests than usual in comparison with other projects. It is important that any time a change is requested that it is documented clearly in the contract and/or official agreement you sign with your web design company. Otherwise, there may be confusion as to who requested what or why certain things were changed. Regardless of that being an issue between both parties at some point down the road, it will help to avoid any potential problems further down the road in terms of legal action for breach of contract including needing to prove where issues originated from.

18. Avoid Conflicts Of Interest

If you are going to hire a designer or firm for the creation of your website try using an outside provider instead of another company that works on marketing such as SEO. While these companies may offer similar services, they usually have different motives behind each project which could lead to issues in future if something is not done correctly and/or shared appropriately. It is best to stick with one service provider that takes care of all aspects involved in creating an online presence rather than multiple vendors who focus more on certain areas.

19. Use A Good Web Hosting Company

Just like you would do when shopping for any other type of business hosting service from web design companies, it is vital that you look into them before making a choice. There are numerous hosting companies online that offer very cheap plans or have plans with unlimited data transfers – but these are not always the best options to go with in terms of quality and security. It is important to be adequately protected from hackers who can potentially access your site through vulnerabilities in your host, so having this done correctly may prove more worth it than saving a few pennies here or there in relation to web hosting costs.

20. Work With Someone Who Offers A Site Audit

Whether you are just starting out on building a website or looking for assistance on improving an existing one, you will probably want someone who offers a complete package of services that come at an affordable price. All too often companies end up paying advertising costs or marketing fees only to find that they have not been given the best advice on general website functionality in relation to SEO and other things. When you are looking for a web design company, it is certainly beneficial to seek out one with an overall goal of improving your presence online.

21. Avoid The Cheap Option

Even if you have some basic knowledge of how websites operate and do not want to pay extra for having someone else manage it – there is no reason why you should settle for less than the very best possible. While this may seem like a waste of money at first, investing more into what goes into creating your site will inevitably help improve its performance over time, which would end up saving you money in the long run. It is not worth saving £50 or £100 upfront to have your site go down for a few days due to a hacker attack and end up spending more money on repairs later on.

Conclusion and Final Points

Let us know if any of these tips have helped in your decision making process in finding a web development company for your new or existing website.

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