During economic hardships the last thing any business owner needs to do is waste money on their website design by paying multiple California web design companies over and again as they fail to build a proper design.
I am going to list the 5 most common mistakes made when making websites and this should serve as a guide to business owners on what to ask for and what to look for when choosing a California web design company. This guide will serve as a tool for any business owner to know exactly who to choose!
Before measuring the value of a design firm the most important questions to ask any design company before checking their work based on the 5 steps are:
1. Are they an actual company? Find out if they are registered as a business or corporation and can be found on the better business bureau website.
2. Do they have a team of designers/developers working for them or are they a one person show? If they do not have a team that is a red flag because no single person can effectively manage a design firm and create professional sites.
3. Do they offer a contract and ask for a deposit up front and final when completed? In the world of construction you don’t have to pay more than 10% to get a job started, however in the world of web design there are no rules so if the company you are choosing is not flexible to accept a partial deposit to start and final payment on completion I would be very concerned if you will ever get your site completed. If they don’t offer a contract that requires a signature that is also great cause for concern.
4. Will you have full intellectual rights to your website and domain? Never ever, ever!!! Go with a company that has the rights to your sites design and domain name. You should own your domain name and register this yourself and when the site is complete have the right to move your site to any hosting of your choice without penalty or fee.
Let’s get into the 5 most common mistakes that web design firms make when making a site and how you can verify this before you ever start. 1. Site Validation:
This is the top of my list of things to watch out for and most commonly over looked. When you are talking to a potential web design firm ask them for a few sites to look at and then let them know you will get back to them after you have done your homework.
Once you have the sites to look at, take them over to “w3c validator”. Just type that term in google and choose the first option. Enter a website in the field that requires it and click “check”. Now check the next one and the next one, etc. If these sites do not pass then you have reason to believe that your site going to fail as well!
What does this mean? It means you are going to end up with a site that is poorly coded and possibly out dated. It may even be a pre – made site that was just changed slightly and given to you as new work.
Every site that is made should validate and should be xhtml / css valid. 2. You are made to rely on the design firm for simple changes to your site
With all the advances in technology and web design there is no reason why your site should not come with a CMS (custom management system) program. This mistake is due to a design firm’s lack of resources and or they just want to keep billing you over and over for minor things.
Does a design firm have a right to make you pay for simple text changes? Yes, but that choice should be yours as the clients to make. A simple text editor program that lets you login online and make changes to only the text portions of your site is a very common program and there are many variations to choose from.
If the design firm does offer this, ask for a test run before you hire them to make sure you like their CMS program. Even if you are a busy person you will find that making changes on your own goes much faster when you do it and at a much less cost. 3. Oops, they forgot to put the most important features on your site! (How to contact you or how to get started). Every site that wants to make money online needs to have a presence of a real person behind the site. Your business online has to convince someone in 5 seconds that you are the company for them. If your phone number is not at the top of the site or a way someone can get in contact with you is not available on the first page of your site then you may lose over 50% of your business online.
Nothing is worse than going to a site where you are not sure if you will be able to get the full service you about to pay for. 4. Your links are not searchable by SE Robots! Unless you plan to have a site that doesn’t require natural traffic results to happen, this can be another huge mistake when developing a site. Your site needs to be searchable by the SE bots of Google, yahoo, msn, etc.
This means your links need to be real text html links that any search engine can follow. If you are having a directory of information created then every single result of that directory should be seen by any SE bots. This requires your design firm to have a really good understanding of SEO practices.
You can do a search on any site in Google by typing in this:
If you see a site is huge but only a few pages are indexed then you are sure to have the same issue. What is the point of all those pages if they are not found? 5. Sitemap is not made or not maintained What is a sitemap? Well ask the design firm to show you this on the sites they made and ask how these sitemaps are kept up to date.
The most common sitemaps are sitemap.html and sitemap.xml. There are programs now that can be set to auto check for new changes and new pages on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and then this data sent to the search engines so they are up to date as well.
There are many benefits to sitemaps and every site needs one.
There are many other factors that go into a web site design but these 5 will give you a clear option on who to choose and who to lose. If they know of these 5 steps then they will know the rest!