If you're purchasing website design and/or website development services, it's probably because you are not an expert in this field. Of course, you might just be a web guru so busy with high-end enterprise development that you don't have time to build your own website; if you are, you can stop reading this – it is not meant for you. Okay. For all of the rest of you who are still with us, the problem remains: you don't know how websites really work and you are hiring a website designer or design team to build one for you, and you know that you can't really tell how progress is coming on a lot of the behind-the-scenes work, and that feels a little like going to the auto-mechanic who may or may not be trying to siphon as much dough as possible from you.
So what are you going to do about it? You're going to do the same thing that you would with your car: you're going to learn a little about it and a little about the business looking under the hood. No, not enough so that you are an expert – just enough so that you can tell if your mechanic might not be telling the truth when he says that your head gasket is blown. In this blog, we will look at a few simple ways to recognize whether or not you are getting what you pay for with web design.
1. Make sure there are set deliverables. You should know exactly what you are going to get, how much it will cost and how long it will take until the job is done. This might seem straight-forward and obvious, but really it is not. Upper-end development is done by the hour, and for good reason: it can be very hard to predict when a tool might not work or when something might break. A person might spend four hours doing something that seems, to a casual observer, like it should take fifteen minutes; or vise versa. A web designer will take this into consideration when making their bid, and will probably estimate about ten percent more time on the project than what it should take if everything goes perfectly smoothly. This might be slightly inaccurate in either direction, but a good designer knows that the guarantee of a set price for a set service is worth the risk; if you make customers happy regularly, you can eat the cost of a project that suffers from unforeseen technical errors.
2. Hire a small team. Ideally your team should be comprised of only a couple people. While it is often necessary to have more than one person for a well-rounded skill set, there should never be more than three people working on one website. There are two reasons for this. The most important one is communication efficiency: the additional amount of energy required to keep additional people fully up-to-date on a website's plan and progress grows exponentially; to keep the left hand talking to the right hand, each additional person on a project is tantamount to one more line of communication for each other person on the project, thus increasing administrative overhead 1 degree more than the previous person did. The other reason is personal accountability. You need to be able to talk to both your creative lead designing your site and the person who is actually developing it; hopefully those people are the same person. Of course there might be more than one developer or a content writer or graphic designer, but overall there should be a personal relationship between the client and a person who has their hands fully in the project.
3. Ask questions. Ask your designer/developer what types of technologies the plan to implement on your project and then do some research. You probably will not figure out how these things work, but you will get a good idea of how expert the person you are talking to is. They should have a background in different Content Management Systems (CMSs), templates, extentions, plugins, coding languages and various other types of web-building technologies. Normally a lay person can get a good idea of how knowledgeable a purported “expert” is by asking additional questions. Dig in to the person. If they are unwilling or unable to answer your questions on the phone, they are likely not representing a team that you want to hire.
Please take all of these factors and more into consideration when you are considering a new website design team. As always, feel free to contact us at K2websitedesign.com, your California website design pros.