Where should I begin?

Choosing a website design company can be a daunting task. What should my budget be? Can I trust these guys? What do I actually own at the end of the process? Do I have any say in the process. This article will provide you with some questions that ask that will really help you narrow down the candidates for your business.

What is my investment in this Web project?

In many lines of business, not just web development, providers will often look to tempt potential new clients with a low initial investment to get a client to sign. This is purely because cost is the simplest of comparison points a potential client can make. Your offering is 'X' his is "Y" he wins. It is only the shrewd business perspm who would look for ongoing costs, otherwise known as a total cost of ownership. Any website provider you engage should be more than willing to answer the following questions:

  • What is my inital and ongoing costs?
  • With what frequency will I be expected to pay this costs. Weekly, monthly, yearly?
  • After 12 months of ownership, what will have been my total outlay

What, if any, are the ownership conditions of my new website?

It is a common misconception among certain website purchasers that by paying a web design firm to design a website for you that you own all artwork and any software front end and back end and that your website can be installed anywhere with any provider and retain its full initial functionality.

Again your potential web provider should be able to answer the following:

  • Can I, at any notice, take my site feature and design compete and move it to a new provider? Will the site still function as originally agreed.
  • Do I own the CMS (content management system) powering the website or will moving the site mean loosing the control the CMS adds?

What support is available to me through your organization?

If your site goes down, you are having email concerns, you accidently delete a important file from your website you should ensure you understand what support mechanisms are in place at your nominated web provider.

Questions to ask on this front include:

  • Do I get 24/7 support
  • What are your backup regimes?
  • What are the support costs associated?

So what's in it for the sales consultant then?

In many lines of business sales staff are paid through a base salary, supplemented by a commission structure or commission only. How do you spot a sales person whose key concern is finding out how high you are willing to go so his/her percentage is a significant win to them

In this situation do not be afraid to ask some or all of the following questions:

  • Ascertain their level of product knowledge. If you know very little about the web invite a more tech savvy person to your intial meeting.
  • Did the consultant take the time to look at your business? Your existing site? Your mission statement?
  • What is their knowledge of the internet in general?

And the toughest of all questions and one no one should be afraid to ask a sales person.

  • What is your commision rate on this project should you be succesful in securing my business?

Get out there and start asking

Don't be afraid to ask these questions. The web is where everyone turns first and your website represent what your company stands for, but often what you stand for. Make the right decision the first time.