Things to consider when choosing a web developer

Social media is flooded with offers for cheap websites.  For those shopping on price alone its difficult to understand how the same website proposal can warrant such drastic price variations.

  1. Artistic style

The look of a website is very much a matter of personal choice.  When considering a developer ask to see a portfolio of similar sites in related industries.  This will give you a feel for if you like the artists style.  A developer should be able to build a site that sticks to your brand and uses your corporate colour palette.

  1. SSL and mobile responsiveness

As of July, website addresses that begin with http:// instead of https:// will be marked as not secure by the Google’s Chrome browser.  More information can be found here.  To convert your website to https you need to use an SSL certificate.  When enquiring about web hosting it is worth asking if the SSL certificate is included with the hosting.  Converting your website to https can also help improve its general performance

Roughly three quarters of internet browsing happens on mobile devices so a website needs to be mobile responsive.  Websites that do not perform well mobile devices will see their Google rankings heavily penalised and web traffic impacted.  Is your developer building you a mobile responsible https website?

  1. Price traps

The basic services of a complete website include:

  • Domain name
  • Hosting service
  • Web content
  • Email service
  • Search Engine Optimisation

Be careful that you are not being offered a cheap price with one only to find hidden costs with the others.  A popular trick is to sell domain names and web hosting extremely cheap only to see enormous price increases with the renewal of these services when the complication of moving the services sees many customers begrudgingly paying the renewal cost.

Ensure that these services are registered in your name.  If you do not own or have access to your website content then you can’t move it to another provider meaning they are free to increase prices at their leisure and your only recourse is to redevelop a new site elsewhere.  Reclaiming a domain name that is registered in somebody else’s name requires a dispute to be raised through auDA with no guarantee of success.

  1. eCommerce sites

Websites where you will be trading and/or keeping customer records require additional scrutiny.  New data breach laws recently passed mean that if your website is hacked and customer data is compromised you are legally required to notify all the impacted customers that their personal information has been breached.  The resulting legal costs render the incentive to build your online store on the cheap null and void.  There are considerations like how customers credit card information will be handled, how customer records will be stored and how easy the site will be to manage that should be taken into consideration.

This risk can be mitigated to some extend by using 3rd party transaction brokers.  It’s also worthwhile considering a suitable insurance policy that protects your business against costs relating to data breaches.

  1. How easily can I get help with this?

There are several platforms developers use to build websites.  It is the reality of business that from time to time we seek to move our services elsewhere.  How easy is it to find a developer familiar with your platform?  Websites built in WordPress are easy to relocate as WordPress developers are extremely common.  Custom built CMS websites can be extremely problematic if your new developer needs to work out how the site is built or the CMS simply cannot be relocated.  You can very easily find yourself in a position where the website needs to be redeveloped as opposed to just moved to a new hosting service.  You can very easily find yourself held hostage by the complexity and expense of taking your business elsewhere.

  1. Ongoing support

Is your developer offering to help you with your website long term?  It’s very common to find customers who have had website built that have been loaded onto retail hosting packages and the developer has vanished into thin air once they’ve been paid.  Make sure you know where your domain name and web hosting are.  Websites are rarely a set and forget service.  Things change.  You may need to update a phone number, add or remove a service, or just generally give the site a face lift from time to time.  Being able to access your content is very important.  All too frequently we find ourselves in the situation where we need to track down a customer’s services as they were never told how to access them.

Summary:

The staff at Trouble Free Computing Solutions are more than happy to discuss your website needs with you, offer you advise on what service would best suit your businesses needs and support you into the future.