Ep 19 | Questions To Ask Before Signing a Website Contract
Don't get stressed out when it comes to hiring someone to build out your website. Ask a few simple questions and you'll be on your way!
It makes me sad when I hear stories from small business owners about their bad experiences with website developers and designers. I want to make sure this doesn't happen to you or doesn't happen again.
Each person runs their business differently, they add and subtract services. On the flip side, if you don't know your business well enough to know how to ask for what you need, then that's something to think about. In this episode, we're talking about how to set yourself up for success so you get what you want!
What's the difference between a developer and a designer?
A developer is someone that has a more technical background. They feel comfortable with coding and all the backend magic needed to make your website SING!.
Designers make it look pretty.
It is important to think about it from both sides. You want it to function technically well. That the pages load quickly and it has everything it needs to perform well for search engines. You also want to make sure it feels good to your visitors and is engaging.
What's included in the contract and what are you responsible for?
This is still a partnership. And even though you're hiring someone to do the job for you – you'll still need to be involved and provide input for different parts of the project.
This is the biggest, most expensive asset you'll have online so you want to make you are involved to make it the best it can be for your business. You'll want to understand (and this isn't an exhaustive list):
- who's writing the copy?
- who's finding the images?
- who is laying everything out and deciding the structure?
- what role do you play in finding examples you like?
- is your branding complete?
BE SPECIFIC on who is responsible for what. That will help you with understanding the cost break down and who is responsible for what.
What platform and who is responsible when the website launches?
If you want ownership of your website, you need to feel comfortable with the platform.
We prefer using Divi by Elegant Themes because of the customization opportunities. It is also something we can train our clients on so they can manage it themselves. We help with tweaks here and there but they are largely in control and can make changes without having to reach out to us.
If you don't want to take it over then it might not matter what platform they choose. Just remember, that at some point your relationship might change with who you hire. So it's important to ask about custom coding because elements like that are harder to transfer to a new platform or new developer.
Depending on who you hire, they might have a preference. We offer care plans and hosting and domain are included at different levels.
You may want to control it yourself so you own everything!
BONUS: don't forget to talk about your email if you're changing hosting so it doesn't go down. We recommend GSuite for your email. It stands separately from your website and is super secure.
What's your timeline?
There are so many reasons why websites don't get completed on time.
If I'm being honest, there are very few projects we've completed on time. This is for a variety of reasons:
- I overextended myself and took on too many projects.
- the client didn't get me the materials we needed on time.
- took too long to review the designs.
- didn't clearly define what they wanted so the final product isn't what was expected.
Words have so many different meanings. For example you say, “I want to use butterflies.” In your head, you meant simple line drawings but we used brightly colored drawings. While we did what you asked, it wasn't what you wanted in your head so it requires a lot of rework.
The more you can share examples of what you want, the smoother the process goes.
We tend to put up a home page and share that design with our client. That way we can see if our design is on the right path, and it gives our clients a visual. Then it can be tweaked before it goes too far along in the build process.
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!!!
Remember if you're hiring someone, they work for you. So ask for what you need.
What happens once the website launches?
We have monthly maintenance plans to help take care of your website after it launches. These plans can run the gamut and have all different types of features and benefits.
For some companies, this is how they make the bulk of their revenue. So they may build out your website for a lower fee and then over 24 months you have to pay them a monthly fee and they own your website. Might might not have any control over your website and have to contact them for every change. You pay a little less up front but pay more overtime to keep your website up. It can be a great option if you don't want to maintain your website at all.
Make sure you know how much control you want to have!
It can also be a combination. We give you the keys to the kingdom when it launches. If you do a maintenance plan with us then you get access to our membership for the first year for free! This gives you additional training on how to drive traffic to your site and how to maintain and edit your website as you go.
Our maintenance plans give you updates, security, uptime, all sorts of things. We also have consulting time built into certain plans. You get all the control you want and access to us to help you where you're stuck. We are in your corner.
We believe in empowering our clients to make changes on their own.
Interview at least 3 different companies.
Each conversation will give you a better idea of what you want and need from your website. This is your baby. Stand up for how much you want, or don't want, from the project.
(2:46) Differences between a developer and a designer.
(4:13) What's included in the contract?
(5:28) What platform and who is taking over when it launches?
(7:19) Choose your hosting and domain.
(9:13) Understand the timeline
(11:50) What happens once the website is up and launched?
(16:35 ) Interview at least 3 different people