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  • custom web designInvesting in a website is a big decision for your business. Afterall, your new website will be the first engagement point for the majority of your customers. After over 17 years in business, we’ve seen it all. To help make your decision a little easier, we’ve put together some questions you should consider asking your Web Developer before retaining them.

    Will I own all of the collateral produced?

    This is the number one answer that you should be clear on before proceeding with having your new website developed. Several agencies will provide you with a template as a fast, low-cost solution, but in many cases, that template will ultimately belong to them.

    Some agencies have their own content management system (CMS) that they will build your site on. In both scenarios, it means should you choose to part ways, you can’t take your website with you.

    Not only does this result in a lot of frustration, but there will also be unplanned expenses with a forced redevelopment that can lead to a hasty decision for your next website. It’s better to take your time with such a big decision so that you can research several options and find the one that will be the best fit for your business.

    What platform will you be building my site on?

    The preferred platform for building websites is WordPress. It’s open source, search engine friendly, customizable, and is constantly being updated. That’s important for a CMS because it helps to reduce security risks.

    Another benefit of WordPress is that it’s extremely user-friendly. Your in-house marketing team (or your digital marketing agency) will be able to manage the site long term without any major complications. Other platforms lack the support and functionality available with WordPress just from sheer lack of users.

    Is content included?

    If you don’t have an existing website to pull content from, consider asking if content is included in the quote. Many agencies (ours included) have in-house content writers that can assist you, but because the majority of our clients come to us with websites already, content is not included in our standard quotes.  

    Will my website be responsive?

    When Google first started to focus on mobile compatibility, they recommended having a mobile site. As millions of websites across the internet built mobile-only versions of their website, the bandwidth needed to regularly crawl and index every site doubled. Now, Google’s preferred format is responsive design. Instead of a standalone mobile site, a responsive website scales up or down depending on the device you are viewing it on.

    Responsive websites are easier to manage long-term, too. Instead of having to maintain and update information on two separate websites, you can focus all energy and resources into one.

    Are licensed stock photos included?

    Stock photos need to be properly purchased to avoid copyright infringement fines which can wind up costing you thousands of dollars. While the idea may seem far-fetched, it’s actually very common. Stock photo companies regularly scan for their images to ensure they are properly licensed.

    If the agency you select to build your website doesn’t include stock photos in their pricing, you’ll need to plan for additional costs that can amount to thousands depending on the size of your website and the number of photos needed. Always be sure to ask what’s included in the price of website design so you can plan ahead for added expenses.

    Will I be able to easily make edits?

    Just like there’s more than one way to bake a cake, there is definitely more than one way to build a website. Because website design and development is not a standardized practice, each developer will have their own way of doing things. So even though you may be familiar with the CMS your new website is being developed in there will almost certainly be differences in the way it’s actually built.  

    You’ll want to verify whether your new website is being built to accommodate text edits at the very least. While it’s normal to expect a developer to make more complex functionality changes, you should be able to add or adjust content as needed relatively easily.

    Is an SSL Certificate included?

    SSL certificates went from an added bonus to a requirement in no time flat. Now that it’s best practice for websites to have an SSL certificate installed be sure to ask ahead of time if the cost to purchase the certificate is included in your website design quote, or it will need to be purchased separately. If the cost of an SSL certificate isn’t included in your quote you’ll want to check that the installation and implementation of the certificate is.

    What kind of website security measures will be put in place?

    You may have heard that WordPress is the most commonly exploited CMS. While that statistic is true, it’s also misleading because that’s more a factor of its popularity than a vulnerability issue. The easiest way to bolster your website’s security is to make sure your new website is on a WordPress managed hosting environment (our recommendation is WP Engine).

    Managed hosting is a useful first step, but your developer should be including added security features for next-level protection against hacking.

    Hopefully we’ve given you some insight into the most common questions we think clients should be asking. It’s important to know as much as possible about the final product you’ll be delivered before agreeing to a quote so when your website is complete, you’ll be left with a useful tool that will help grow your business.

    Check out the Exults web design portfolio to explore the different industries we’ve created unique and compelling designs for, or contact our development team for an evaluation of what Exults Internet Marketing Agency can do for your brand.

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