Finding the best web design company for your brand can be the difference between having an adequate website or an effective digital presence that improves your bottom line. Like most digital marketing services, you tend to get what you pay for – don’t skimp on costs when it comes to your company’s web presence. A first-class website design firm that is able to understand your business, your customer’s desired user experience, and most importantly how search engines work will build far more value in the long run than trying to cut corners (your cousin’s nephew?). If you’ve never worked with a website designer before you need to be sure you’re not overpaying. Here are a few things to ask about in advance.

WHAT IS YOUR WEB DESIGNER CHARGING YOU FOR?

Your first consultation – You should be able to sit down with the designer and explain what you want and need from your website. They should then formulate a plan to execute that and tell you how much it will cost and how long it will take. You shouldn’t have to pay to get a simple quote.

Services you don’t need – Find out exactly what you’re paying for when you start working with a web design company. They may offer services that you don’t really want or need. Make sure you understand everything you are being charged for.

Hosting and maintenance – There can be hefty fees for website hosting depending on your type of business, but what are you really getting? Server reputation, speed, security, backups, website updates, customer service, and other maintenance requirements are all cost factors. Be sure you’re getting the services and paying rates that are fair for today’s market.

Writing poor content – Some web designers are whizzes at technical set-ups but then charge you for poorly-written, ineffective copy. Find out if the company has competent copywriters who understand the importance of engaging readers and giving them a clear call to action. If not, hire an SEO copywriter or learn to do it yourself.

SEO that’s poorly executed – If your web design company has only a basic knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation then you should only be paying for “basic” knowledge. Some design companies stay up-to-date on the latest SEO changes and can advise you on the best keywords and content to use on your site. If they don’t have a clear understanding of the importance of SEO then hire another company to build your website. A great looking website doesn’t do you any good if it can’t be found in the search engines.

Calling to ask questions – We all know customers who can take this to excess (See Clients from Hell). But normally, you should be able to call and ask simple questions without having to pay for each call. Hint: Most designers prefer email for simple questions and task requests – the good ones will call back if something is unclear. No charge.

Additional or hidden fees – Make sure it’s clearly drawn out in your original quote what you’re paying for and what will require additional fees. Most of todays’ Content Management System (CMS) driven websites like WordPress and Drupal require ongoing attention. Be sure to ask if the company will be maintaining your site and if that’s included, and for how long.

By asking the right questions and being diligent in receiving the answers you need, you can be sure you’re not overpaying your web design company