Sunday, December 9th, 2007
Here are 15 questions that a prospective website client should consider when shopping for a website developer.
1. Do you have a service guarantee? What can I expect from you with regard to service levels?
A quick search on Google for the keywords “Calgary website designers” returns a result.
A quick search for the term quarantee, or service guarantee on the home pages of the top natural search results shows that no-one talks about guaranteed service levels.
2. Will I have access to my website statistics, and can you help me to understand them?
So many of our new clients don’t even know about website statistics. Evey web server tracks visitors to a website. Most website hosting companys provide statistical reports through an online link. You need to review your logs and make you online marketing “measureable”.
3. What process do you use to guarantee me that I will not receive an invoice that I am not expecting?
Several times over the past years, prospective clients have commented to me that their previous web designer “nickle & dimes” me to death with little bills. We made an effort to ensure that this doesn’t happen, by implimenting a process. It is important, as a client, that you understand that you have to pay for services from you website designer. The onus is on your web developer to ensure you know how much your request will cost.
4. Do you answer your phones or do you use a conveluted interactive voice system that will cause my heart to pound?
If I have to call Rogers Cellular service (my soon to be previous cell phone provider) one more time, I am going to spit nails. 50% of the time, that I phone them, my call is dropped. Some of the time I get through to a person, and some of the time, the department that I need is closed.
Trying to get ahold of one of our clients recently – they had an IVR, dial 1 for this, dial 2 for that… I tried 5 different phones and evey one of them was unrecognized (the tone) for this system. I could simply not get through to the person. I finally email him and asked him to call me.
I will never use an IVR for our customer support lines.
5. How many designers do you employ? Will my project include the creative talents of more than one person?
The depth of your web designers resources can impact the quality of the results.
6. What is your refund policy? Do you have policies?
A good question. Find out what will happen if you decide to end your project. A number of website projects fail to get completed for any number of reasons, including business closures, inability to produce content, or a change in business plans.
7. Do you ask clients to sign a contract, before begining a project?
I believe that the more clearly documented a project and service level expectations are, the better the project will proceed. All website development projects should be documented in an agreement.
8. How will you bill us for our new website project?
ie: deposit, any progress billings, when is final due?
9. Will I own my website when it is complete?
Here is an article that I wrote, some time ago, called “Do you really own your website? Maybe not.”
10. Can I have a CD with a backup of my website when it is completed.
11. Will my website be developed using industry standard codes and databases, so that in the future, should I choose to change service providers, there won’t be any issues?
As a prospective client you don’t have to be technical. No acronyms here please… just make sure that the code-base your site is developed with. is widely used and that the code is not encrypted. You need to be able to move-forward if you web devleoper does not.
12. When you lose a client, are you graceful, or do you hinder their ability to move forward? Tell me about the last client you lost.
Hmm. Wonder what kind of response this question will drive. We have transitioned several website owners from their previous website developers to our company. It is not always graceful and professional. Some developers make it very difficult. On the same note, not all clients who leave their website developer have left on good terms. In some cases they have treated the developer poorly, been rude or in the worse case – not paid their outstanding debt. Graceful works only when both parties are capable of being professional.
13. Does your business have a continuity plan, so that if “you” get hit by a bus…
14. Do you have designers, programmers and marketers on staff?
Designers are designers, programmers are programmers and online marketing is online marketing. Very few designer are programmers… very few programmers are designers and so on. The depth of talent that your website company can provide is important to acheiving goals for your online business.
15. Will my website be search engine friendly if I allow your team to design for me?
I still see a lot of websites that are being deployed that are over designed, under developed and using techniques that are not condusive to easy indexing by search engines. While the importance of search engines may not be apparent to you as you start your first website project – trust me, when you website starts to generate new business leads… you will thank your website developer for making your site work for the search engines.
Thursday, December 6th, 2007
I attended Troy White’s full day seminar yesterday, The Wild West Wealth Christmas. Troy hosted the session and brought together a power-house of speakers. The topic was, of course, marketing.
I ended up with four pages of notes. Of which I have distilled half a dozen measurable actions for my company to investigate and test as we move into 2008. I am not going to get into a long diatribe of what my notes contain here, but I will tell you that I feel I got great value from my day with Troy.
Guests included author & publisher Mary Halpen, who nearly brought the room to tears with her heartfelt business and life lessons, Brandon Roe, who spoke to increasing prices without objections, and Doug White, the reported Grandfather of direct marketing.
Troy is planning the 2008 Wild Wealth Summit for early summer. If you own a business or have a direct stake in it’s success through marketing, then keep youe eyes open and watch Wild West Wealth Summit for updates.
Troy – Thank you for a great program.
David A. West