19 Apr Ethical Web Design
Ethical Web Design
How to pick the right Web Designer – Top 10 Tips
Unfortunately in the web design industry there are many scammers, non registered businesses ( people working in their bedroom, charging a fortune for sub-standard work and have no experience or knowledge and not paying their taxes ), people offering prices too good to be true ( If it is too cheap…there will be a reason for this! ) and this basically gives ethical and trustworthy designers a bad name. Too many businesses get ripped off from web designers and we hate this! We want you to protect yourself and have the knowledge to choose the best company for you.
When looking into getting a new website and when talking to a web designer, ask these questions to help protect yourself from scammers:
- Is the company a registered business? Have you seen their portfolio? testimonials? looked at earlier work?
- Do they have clear Terms and Conditions and give you a clear quote and state what’s included?
- Can you edit your site content after completion?
- How easy is it to edit your site?
- Do you have FTP and control panel access to your web hosting?
- Can you create email accounts for your own domain? If so, how many?
- Is your domain registered to you or your designers company?
- What other charges are there for “extra” services?
- Does your site have basic Search Engine Optimization done on it when completed?
- Does your site need monthly maintenance and how much does this cost? Can you do it yourself?
Is the company a registered business? Have you seen their portfolio? testimonials? looked at earlier work?
It is very important when choosing a web design company to make sure they are who they say they are. You want to find a registered business with a good reputation. Do your research into the company. Check on Google, Give them a call on the number they list as their contact number, email them, and check online reviews. You can ask them for proof of their business, meet them at their work address, make sure they are registered with HMRC, ask if they have an accountant that can confirm they are a registered business? Do they have a business bank account ? Are they registered with the Information Commissioners Office as they need to be under the Data Protection Act 1998 if they handle any personal information? All these answers will give you a picture of the type of business they are and if they are running legally and correctly. Also have a look at testimonials on social media and have a look at their portfolio of earlier work to see the standard of their work.
Do they have clear Terms and Conditions and give you a clear quote and state what is included?
Terms and conditions are important when you are picking a designer to create your website. Websites are not cheap, and you and the designing company need protection. You need to look at things like deposit required, can you change your mind? Do you lose your deposit? Do you have a cooling off period etc? Ask to see the companies terms and conditions so you can be sure that you have all the answers you need before ordering from the company.
Do you have the ability to edit your site content after it has been completed?
Some web designers will give you a lovely looking site but won’t give you the ability to edit any pages, and then you have to pay them for every change you want. If you’re unable to update your site, Google and other search engines will notice that you site hasn’t changed and will drop your site’s ranking, meaning your site will appear lower in their search results for your keywords. You should have full access to edit your site, so ask if you will get this. After you have paid for the initial web design you also do not want to have to keep paying the designer for small changes that you should be able to do yourself. You could end up with a constant large bill for small changes that can be avoided. Ask your new designer if you can make changes if you need to, if they offer a maintenance service to keep the site secure and what costs are involved if you need larger work and updates. The designer will be able to give you an upfront and honest answer from the start so you are aware of any potential costs. If you do not want to update the site yourself, make sure you know the costs of keeping it updated and tweaking it so you know from the very start. If you’re paying for a website, YOU should own the site you’ve paid for and have full access.
How easy is it to edit your site?
Also they may give you access to change your site, but you have to learn HTML coding to do so. Also check if the company will give you written tutorials to refer to and to learn how to edit your website and use its different functions. Check that you do not need to know any complicated code and that the designer has made it easy for you to make changes. Make sure the designer you choose gives you easy access to update your pages if you need to, or offers you a maintenance service at a reasonable rate to help you maintain your website.
Do you have FTP and control panel access to your websites hosting?
We are shocked to how many clients we see with current websites and no access to their cpanel/hosting management or FTP access. So many customers do not even have their own cpanel account for their hosting and do not have access to even create a database or a full back up of their site and database. Do you know why some untrustworthy designers do not give this away? because you, the customer, can choose to move your hosting and website away from them at any time you want! If you receive poor service or realize you are getting ripped off, you cannot get access easily and go to a better company. They hold your business in their hands! Note: that if you don’t have access to your hosting by either cpanel/hosting management area or FTP and you want to move to another host or designer, you are at the mercy of your previous designer or host. They can, and probably will, charge you for access to move.
Can you create email accounts for your own domain? If so, how many?
We’ve seen a number of businesses that have their own domain, but use a free email service like Gmail or Hotmail. This looks unprofessional, and is easily fixed. Some web developers will give you a couple of email addresses for your site, and charge you for every extra address you want created. For a small company with only one or 2 addresses that might be fine, but if you want a range of addresses for other functions like events, bookings, info, enquiries etc., the costs can really add up. At Poppy Design Studio we don’t charge you for extra email accounts and either we can set them up for you, or you can set up your own.
Is your domain registered to you or your designers company?
If you register a domain through your Web host, they may keep control of your domain name. They can use this as leverage to make sure you stay with them for any further work. When you register a domain name through Poppy Design Studio we register the name for you in your name and you own that domain. We keep the domain in our management area for our ease of management but if you wish to change where your domain is registered, we can easily move your domain from our management area into one of your own.
What other charges are there for “extra” services?
There can be legitimate extra costs involved in web design but these costs should be explained to you from the offset or explained that larger jobs will need a separate quote and can also be given from the start even if you don’t plan on taking the company up on that until later down the line. Websites need to be kept updated to stay secure and many designers including ourselves offer a monthly maintenance service to help with the technical side of keeping a site up-to-date. Ask what the charge is for monthly maintenance. If you cannot make updates yourself , ask how much the company will charge you to do these so you know for the future. Ask for any extra costs related to hosting/domain charges/maintenance and updating. Check that you can update your theme/plugins yourself or will you be charged for that? Check if the site requires anything else at all that may be hidden in the small print of their terms and conditions.
Does your site have basic Search Engine Optimization with the design?
Basic SEO is important for any site. There is very little point in having a website that customers can’t find in a Google or Bing search. We cannot guarantee what place your site will appear in search results, and any company that promises this is not telling the truth. No web design company has access to the algorithms that Google uses to decide where any site should appear in their results. With basic SEO your site could appear within the first couple of pages in Google for local results, but without any SEO at all, you may end up appearing on page 20 (or lower) in the results thereby guaranteeing that your site will almost never be seen. We believe there is no point in building a brand new website if you do not design it with basic SEO. This way your site is built correctly from the beginning foundations and will cost you less in the long run to market.
Does your site need monthly maintenance and how much does this cost? Can you do it yourself?
Many websites need monthly maintenance to stay up to date and secure. WordPress, such as, needs to stay up-to-date and requires care and maintenance. If you are opting for a CMS like WordPress or other coding for your site, check with your designer on what is needed to keep the website secure. Can you do the maintenance? What are the companies monthly charges to keep the website up to date? Know all the costs upfront to avoid any unwelcome surprises down the line.
We hope these tips have helped you for when you are choosing a web designer for your business. If you have any other helpful tips please add them below for us to add to this article! Thanks for reading and please share with your friends, make them aware of what they need to know to avoid being scammed !
At Poppy Design Studio we believe that you’ve paid for your site, and you own it. We give you full access to your FTP and cpanel ** so if, in the future, you want to move your site, you can do it. We aim to give you a good experience with your website. We’ve been approached by too many customers who have had nightmare experiences and we want to make sure our customers can never say that about Poppy Design Studio. Poppy Design Studio are an ethical web designer and host. We work transparently, nothing is hidden with us.
Please contact us for any further information, we give a free no obligation quote for all our services, so get in touch for a better, ethical web design experience.
**we give the FTP and cpanel access when a site is fully paid for on sites that have a payment plan. For sites that are paid on handover these accesses are provided immediately