For those with limited resources, short time frames and no desire to get their hands dirty, web design services offering a quick, easy and cheap template driven solution may be the right answer. But beware! Make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for so down the road what looked convenient and easy doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare.
It’s Your Domain Name. Own it.
Working with a company that “takes care of everything” for you may be fine but when it comes to registering your domain name, make sure it is being registered under YOUR name and associated with YOUR contact information. Why is this important? Consider the case of Acme Plumbing [names have been changed to protect the innocent]. They hired a “we’ll take care of everything” company to design their website. The sales rep registered the company’s domain name under his own name and contact information. When the domain name was several months from expiring, the renewal emails were sent to the sales rep. See where this is going? The sales rep left the company. Acme Plumbing had no idea their domain name was expiring until they were unable to access their website. Nightmare number 1.
Can Your Website Grow as Your Business Grows?
Sure it’s tempting to get your three page website up in 24 hours. Especially when all you have to do is email your content to the design company and voila! There it is. Your shiny new website. But if your business plan calls for growth – and if it doesn’t why are you in business – make sure you understand the process of growing your website to match your growing business. Will your web design company add pages for you as part of your original contract? If not, how much will it cost? How quickly will they get to it. How much control do you have?
Another Nightmare Scenario
World’s Best Electricians [again, names have been changed to protect the innocent] went with a “one stop shopping” web design service. The company registered his domain name, built a three page website with stock photos of their choosing, and hosted the site on their servers. Joe, the owner of World’s Best, didn’t have to do anything. What a deal. Except Joe’s business started growing. He wanted to use real photos of his work. He wanted to add testimonials. You get the picture. Not part of the deal said his one stop shopping company. Joe has decided he wants a brand new website but needs to get the domain name transferred to his name. Problem. His sales rep, apparently the only person with any knowledge of his account, has left the company.
Nightmare number 2.
I am not condemning the template driven, one stop, quick and easy web design companies. They offer a valuable service. What I am saying is make sure you understand very specifically what the company will and won’t do for you. It is important for your business to understand the following:
- make sure your domain name is registered to you
- understand your web design company’s policy about updating your site, i.e. adding pages, etc
- make sure the company is reputable and has a measurable track record
- try to find out the average life span of the company’s sales personnel. If there is frequent turnover ask why. Be suspicious.
Chances are you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about your business. Perhaps you have a three year plan, a five year plan or even a ten year plan. Keep that in mind when deciding who will build your company’s website.
Photo credit: fuzzysaurus