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What should I look for in a great website design company?

When it comes to finding a good website design company there is a lot more that goes into it than simply how well your site looks. Many companies find out the hard way that their beautiful flash website does not and will not get much website traffic due to slow loading and poor exposure in search engines. A good web designer will:

  • Communicate to you in a way that you can understand
  • Provide you with a portfolio of sites they have designed
  • Provide you with Upfront Costs – No Hidden Fees
  • Give An Estimated Time Of Completion
  • Offer Hosting and Maintenance
  • Offer Both Basic HTML and Content Management Systems
  • Provide Flexible Payment Options
  • Provide SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Provide Website Backups and Security

What Is the Average Return on Investment can expect to receive?

The #1 reason why companies build a website is to make money. Therefore when it comes to pricing it should be based on return on investment.  While companies charge different prices, this question will give your web designer a chance to explain how they will give you a return on your investment. It is not always the best to go with the company that is the least expensive because sometimes that means they will deliver the least results.

What type of website will you design and build for me?

There are several different types of websites of which you may choose for design and implementation. These include HTML, PHP, Asp, .Net, Java, Flash, eCommerce, and Content Management Systems.

Find out about the advantages of websites based on programming and formatting languages.

What are my payment options?

There are several ways that you can pay for your website. Some companies will charge you half upfront and a half at completion of the project(when the site is uploaded to your hosting). Another option will be to charge half upfront 1/4 at 50%(50% is usually after design approval and development of the home page) and 1/4 at the completion of the project. Lastly, some companies offer website financing. With financing, there is a small setup fee that will cover the website being designed and developed while the remaining balance is paid over a 6, 12, or 18 month period.

How long will it take the web designer to complete the design?

Website design is one of the few items that you will find businesses working on for 2, 3, or even 6 months. A good rule of thumb for a brochure website design and development is 30 – 45 days. Companies that offer some type of reasonable guarantee that your website will be complete in a given time will take your project seriously, and work to get your project finished.

What will be my URL or domain name?

Choosing a domain name can be as simple as choosing your company name. However, for some businesses, they will find that their name is already taken. This means they will need to be a little creative in choosing the perfect name. Here are some ideas to help you choose a great domain for your business:

  • Consider choosing a domain name that includes your company name and the city you service. For example or
  • Think about choosing a domain with the city your serve and the service you provide. For example, a company that offers website design in Decatur, GA can choose the name
  • If you are providing service nationally, rather than choosing a city with your domain only choose a domain with the service you provide. For example, would be a great domain if it were available. However, you will find that many domains are already taken. Therefore, you may need to combine the services you provide. As in the example above, a domain name would be a great option.

Will I own my website once I have completed the payment?

One of the most important questions you can ask your website design company is; “Will I own my domain name and website?” Too many people that I talk to about this seems like an obvious answer, however, there are many circumstances where you may not own 1 or neither the domain name nor the website. This will vary greatly depending on the designer you are talking to, however, it is important to get the answer to this question upfront and in writing.

Find out a few reasons why you may not own your website or domain name(URL).

How will I know if people are visiting my website? How will I monitor my website traffic?

It is highly recommended to work with a website design company that offers web analytics and statistics programs.  Programs like Google Analytics show you how many people visit your website, where they came from, your bounce rate, and what they were searching for on Google to find you.

Programs like and Crazy Egg offer a more advanced look at your site by showing you what pages of your site perform well, and where your web visitors click the most when they land on your page.

Find out how to know if people are visiting your website.

What Is A Bounce Rate?

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who click on a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page for a short time.

Where will my site be hosted and what is their uptime?

There are several factors to consider with regards to website hosting. I have found that many companies prefer to host with their web designer instead of being responsible for their own hosting. As a rule of thumb, a website should have 99% uptime if it is with a good web hosting company. When making the decision on what is right for your business there are several things to consider.

Find out the factors to consider when choosing if you should host with your website design company or if you should host your own site.

How many email addresses do you include with my website?

With your website, your designer should assist you with setting up email addresses with your new domain name in the address. This means no more Gmail, Comcast, or Hotmail on your business cards. The number of email addresses will vary depending on the company and the scope of your project.

Will I be able to make changes to my own website or will I only have to pay you (web designer) to make updates?

Websites are more dynamic than ever. This means that programmers are able to give everyday businessmen and women more flexibility with making changes to their website without having to learn HTML, PHP, or any other website language. Consider a content management system(CMS) such as Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress for your website design so that you can save time by making updates quickly yourself. And save money from having to call your designer every time you need to change text, add pictures,s or video.

Find Out About The 3 Most Common Content Management Systems(CMS).

How can I learn to make updates to my website?

You are an expert at running your business, not making websites. However you understand the importance of updating your website, adding photos to your portfolio or you are simply interested in starting your blog but don’t want to pay for web design school. You’re in luck!  Content management systems like WordPress offers video tutorials on their dashboard as well as thousands of user-generated tutorials on YouTube. From adding an image to a page to updating your portfolio to adding videos, you can learn how to do anything by watching YouTube.

Do you offer logo design?

Having a company logo can help you establish your identity, strengthen your brand and reinforce your credibility. Ask your Web hosting company if they can create a customized logo design for your website – and if they’ll provide that logo design in several file formats so you can keep your online presence and print marketing materials consistent. (Already have a logo design for your business? Ask your professional Web design company if it can be used in your website design.)

How will my website look on mobile phones?

The explosion in user adoption of mobile devices has revolutionized the web. Though designing for the Mobile Web follow similar principles to designing websites, we must consider some notable differences.

  • For one, current mobile device networks don’t run at the same speed as broadband devices.
  • In addition, there is also a myriad of ways our mobile web designs are displayed, from touch screens to netbooks, which make even the smallest desktop monitors look like giants.
  • The ideal scenario would be that each device simply scales and adapts to your existing website — and some devices, such as the iPhone, are able to because of their built-in web browser.

How many websites have you made in my industry? What were their results?

A website design company can successfully design and build a great website for any industry, however, sometimes a company that has had significant experience in your industry can save you time and money based on their success with other companies. If you are in love with a company work with this company regardless of whether they have a ton of experience in your industry. Keep in mind, if you have a few questions in your mind already and they don’t have significant experience, it may be worth continuing to look for the best fit for you.

Do you offer Search Engine Optimization?

You can have the most beautiful site in the world, but if no one sees it, you will not be able to use it to grow your business. A company that offers SEO will include very important factors in the coding of your website that search engines require for all websites that receive a 1st-page placement. This also includes creating web content for your site, listing your site on search engines, and other important components of getting to the top of the search engine charts.

What kind of results can I expect to have from my website? How long should it take for me to see these results?

Your first month with your new website will be the least amount of traffic your site will ever receive. You should expect your site to gradually improve in traffic every month. Whether your focus is on local search, marketing your site nationally, or even globally the first-month focus of your SEO will be on getting the word out that your site is live. In most cases, it should take between 4 – 6 months to give a good idea of what type of leads your site can generate for your business.

Are there other ways than SEO that I can generate additional leads from the internet that you recommend?

There are many ways to generate leads to your business outside of your website. These include social media, pay-per-click, yellow page directories, or classifieds.

Find out how to use the internet to generate leads for your business in addition to SEO.

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