There are so many choices when it comes to your website designer/website developer. Quite frankly, it’s one of the easiest businesses to start. All you need is an email and a computer and you can open up your website business. But how do you filter out the bad from the good? Here are some key points that can clue you on to a better choice.
Number 1. They don’t have a business email address! This should be the most painfully obvious clue and if you see this you should run away as fast as you can.
First, what do I mean? Our website is xceptional.co. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org (please don’t spam me! haha). That is a business email domain. If your website designer’s email is email@example.com should run for the hills.
Why? It shows a glaring lack of knowledge of how websites function when they don’t know how to set up their own email on their own domain. Your website is tied directly to your emails as your website and emails are routed through the same DNS system. Lack of knowledge in this area can cause you lot’s of pain when the time comes to launch your website.
It’s not expensive to create your own business email system, so there is no reason a website developer should avoid doing it, other than lack of expertise, or an agency of one (see below why that may be another clue).
Number 2. They are Cheap! Everyone loves a deal. I get it. However, the misconception about websites is that they are easy and can be to put together quickly. That statement alone is true. A website can be put together pretty quickly. A website that works can not. When I say a website that works, I mean it’s successful.
A successful website establishes need and wants in less than 3 seconds. It establishes what problem you are solving. A good developer understands your business objectives and creates clear calls to action. Your site should have a purpose, communicate well with your audience, have quick load times, and be mobile friendly.
Here’s the long and short of it. Web Developers/Web Designers are selling 2 things – their time and expertise. Your good deal may not be a good deal when it’s time and experience that are being shorted to give you that price. Ask yourself: would you rather have a website for $500 that produces $0 in sales, or a $5,000 website that produces $50,000 in sales?
Number 3. It’s (pick any of the following): the kid next door, the nephew going to school, a guy your friend works with, etc…
Basically, this can be summed up as anybody that doesn’t do websites full time. Simply put, it takes 10,000 hours for a person to become an expert(https://www.xceptional.co/blog/hiring-a-social-media-expert-will-save-you-t…). Anybody in this category doesn’t have it.
One thing I see over and over again, is what do you do when that person abandons your website, stops taking your calls, and doesn’t reply to emails? It’s not their full-time job, so why do they care? I know what you do: you call an expert company like Xceptional, and the process to get back control of your site is painstakingly time-consuming, frustrating, and costly. Number 4. The Web Team is Just One Person! I should probably have this higher, but some of my previous points back this up even more. The truth about websites today is that they are very complex. There is “design”, “UX development (UX stands for User Experience)”, copywriting, and backend development that goes into every website. Each is their own expertise. Think of it this way: building a house requires electricians, roofers, HVAC installers, framers, etc. Each with their own set of skills, knowledge, and expertise.
So track with me here, given what I said earlier about 10,000 hours being needed to be an expert, and each website needing these 3 or 4 skills, how can one person possibly be an expert in each? It’s just not physically possible.
Number 5. They use WordPress! I have to be careful when I say this. I’ve seen some very good work with WordPress. I truly believe it’s the wrong solution for most companies. You can see my thoughts on why in “WordPress is the Worst”: https://www.xceptional.co/blog/wordpress-is-the-worst/
Most WordPress developers don’t understand the engine that makes websites work. This becomes an enormous problem down the line when your website is slow or you need custom updates. WordPress developers look for plugins, real developers look for solutions that fit your exact needs.
Wix and Squarespace are in this same category. Those are designed for the do it yourselfers, and no reputable website expert would use them because of their lack of customizability.
Summary Experience is an indicator of skill. You want to be sure your website firm has been at it awhile. You’ll also want to take a look at samples of sites they’ve designed. If you like the websites that they have built for their other customers, it’s likely you will also like what they build for you.
Best of luck! Drop me a line if you’d like to get a quote on your next project: firstname.lastname@example.org