You are an entrepreneur. You have a vision for your business. You are making plans for your future. So, don’t be short-sighted when it comes to your website.
I get it – you just started your business, time is tight – money even tighter – and why pay somebody else if you can just do it yourself?
A good percentage of my clients are business owners that have tried to build their own website using a wide variety of website builders: GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, WordPress (with random themes), Squarespace, etc. – and failed.
I’m not saying that any of these are better than others – but if you don’t know how to use those website builders then you are no different than someone trying to be YOU overnight and assume you have all the knowledge and experience it took you years to acquire and perfect. Makes sense?
1. How much is YOUR time worth?
Let’s say the average smaller website runs about $1000 to $3500 (depending on the platform, features, designers experience, and geographical area) and takes between 15 to 60 hours to build – this makes it roughly $63/hour to would your website…that’s pretty affordable in my opinion.
So, is it worth spending evenings, weekends, and any other spare minutes you may have to try to learn yet another thing – or are you better off getting new clients and selling more products instead?
2. What are your website needs IN THE FUTURE – not today!
Make a list of features you need on your website today AND (more importantly) in the future:
- Pull testimonials from review sites automatically
- Event calendar
- Payment portal/donations
- Customer accounts
- Booking apps
- Custom design/look
3. How much time & money are you willing to commit to your website EVERY MONTH?
Not at all if you think that:
- WordPress needs a bit of ‘hand-holding’ every month: WordPress, Theme, and all Plugins need to be updated. Sometimes they don’t play together nicely and break something or crash your site = 15 to 60 mins spent per month = $$$ spent
- Squarespace: no updating needed (it’s included in your monthly subscription) = 0 mins spent per month – $0 spent
4. What platform should I choose? WordPress? Subscription-based? Custom-coded?
This is best answered with a phone call or meeting with your web design company since this requires quite a bit more research and greatly depends on your future needs and budget.
5. Will you be able to make changes yourself?
Do you want to post blogs and make simple text updates yourself? Then you better find out how easy (or complicated) it will be on your chosen web design platform.
In my opinion, however, I suggest you hire a local professional to do website updates of any kind. I, for instance, offer 5-hour retainers so when you have a new employee or blog to post you simply send me an email or text message and your updates get handled – hassle-free and in a timely manner.
6. Will you own the website after it’s finished?
Is that even an option you may ask?
Well, I’ve seen it all! Before you hire a web designer you better find out who owns the website after it’s launched (it better be you or keep looking). And never EVER hand over your domain name – even if they insist they can’t do the work otherwise (it’s not true). Once they have your domain name and website they have the upper hand…
7. Can you move your website to another web hosting company?
- Yes: WordPress websites can be migrated to any web hosting provider that offers (managed) WordPress website hosting
- No: subscription-based platforms like Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, etc. can not be moved. You are stuck with them so you better be sure that your chosen platform is worth your time and money and has all the features you will need in the future.
8. What are your monthly costs?
Depending on the designer you hired, website platform, and hosting company your monthly costs can vary greatly from the price of a designer latte to a mid-size car payment. Think about this for a moment!
- Monthly “maintenance” fees – I’ve saved some of my clients’ hundreds of dollars a MONTH by switching web hosting companies! I bet I can save you some money, too.
- WordPress website hosting can be anywhere between $3 to $100+/month (totally depends on what’s included and how successful they were in up-selling you unnecessary features and services)
- Plugins may be free of charge, have an annual or one-time fee for a ‘pro’ version – when chosen carefully it’s totally worth to pay for certain plugins
9. What if the website goes down or experiences problems – who do you call to get help?
Your web designer of course!
Not so fast – some web designers are literally ‘done’ with your once they hand over the website. You better find out whom to call if you have any emergency arise. And it will.
10. Don’t be baited by low development fees and high monthly fees!
Some (out-of-town) web design companies may bait you with a low ‘get started’ fee and then make you commit to 12 -24 months of $xxx/month. In the end you may or may not get to keep your website and you probably paid way more than if you had just hired a local web designer.