The value of a reputable web designer
We are (truly) sorry to hear if this has happened to you. It’s greatly concerning to us how often this happens. We know, because half of our recent projects were clients who came referred to us due to websites left unfinished by rogue freelancers or bad agencies.
We are by no means implying that all freelancers are unreliable but want nothing more than to make sure you go to a reputable web designer first, versus frantically looking for one because your website project is in jeopardy.
That’s why we decided to compile this article of what to look out for and what questions you may want to ask when choosing a service provider to build and maintain your website.
Ask the right questions
Building a website can almost be likened to painting a masterpiece (think about Vincent van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night): the initial (unseen) process of preparing the canvas, procuring the materials and mixing the paints play a significant part in the final product that meets and wows the eye.
Here are some initial questions to ask when procuring quotes for your masterpiece:
Can I see your portfolio or customer reviews?
It might be tempting to use a freelance designer to save on costs, but you need to be 110% sure that the initial cheap won’t be the eventual lance through the very heart of your business, should said freelancer go AWOL.
You are more than within your rights to ask for experience, client references and examples of their most recent work. See Pathfind Media’s recent work.
Do you ‘custom code’ or use a ‘content management system’?
For the purpose of this article, we won’t go into detailed explanations concerning the differences, but what you basically want to know by asking this question, is:
- Will I need a coding expert to make basic or elaborate updates on my website once it’s live, due to complicated custom code; or
- Do you use a CMS (content management system), which is more cost-effective, requires less turnaround time and is much simpler to update?
Of course, scope for either custom coding or a CMS (or a combination of both) exists, but this will depend on the design and functionality requirements of your website and should be predetermined during the initial briefing.
At Pathfind Media, we build websites with customised themes (not the same as custom coding) on WordPress (a content management system).
Will you provide me with the log-ins to my hosting panel and website’s back-end?
Just like a painting by a master artist – a website that was initiated by a freelancer or other agency will be very hard to take over and complete by a different website provider.
Should you find yourself in this unfortunate position, we (and many other reputable website developers) will therefore not be willing or able to finish or fix a rogue service provider’s unfinished work.
‘We can only take full responsibility if we have full control.’
– Jo Wagner, Pathfind Media
You should, however, make sure that your service provider gives you the log-in details to your website, as well as your hosting company’s control panel once it is ready to go live. This is the only way you will be able to access your website’s back-end and hosting platform to make any updates/hand it over to a new provider, in the unfortunate event that your provider does go AWOL.
What is included in the price?
The following items are essential for any website project, so make sure you ask what is included in the quote, and what isn’t:
- Domain registration/transfer from your current domain (once-off cost)
- Hosting of the website domain and/or your company emails (yearly/monthly cost)
- Software licensing
- Web design and layout
- Content creation (copy)
Leonardo da Vinci once said that ‘art is never finished, it is only abandoned’.
So, it is important to enquire about pricing on the following continued services for your website once it has gone live, to ensure your work of art lives on:
- Back-end maintenance (very important)
- Software licensing updates (very important)
- Website security (firewall) – especially if you will be running an e-Commerce site (very important)
- Service retainer for content updates, SEO, troubleshooting, etc. (e.g., to upload blogs or update certain details/upload monthly offers, or reports, etc).
We love a blank canvas
Welcome to Pathfind Media, where we don’t only specialise
in building and maintaining beautiful and functional websites, but where we also love partnering with our clients to turn their blank canvasses into website masterpieces.
If you’ve been let down by another provider, let us know, and
we’ll see how we might be able to assist – just like we did for our client
Ian Wolmarans from Zeal Surf.