Building Your Business
“Under The Hood” Questions To Ask Your Web Designer

19 July 2013

Maryrose Lyons from Brightspark Consulting recently held an interactive group session with PLATO EBR Participant Companies on the Big Question what really is Social Media about for Me and My Company?

Here are Maryrose's Top Highlights:-

You may be starting out in business, and all this web design game is new to you. Or you may be a long time in business, but you’ve never really ‘felt at home’ on the back-end of your website. I’ve found myself saying this a lot lately: if you have your own business, you’ve got to be a master of a lot of things. I’m not suggesting you start doing all your own accountancy, health & safety assessments, or whatever! But I do believe you must take ownership of your website and at least have a rudimentary knowledge of how to update it.

TOP 3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR WEB DESIGNER

(and show you know what you’re talking about!)

1. MAKE SURE YOUR NAME IS ON THE DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION DETAILS.

How to check this?  Go to Whois.net and type in your domain name:

web-design-tips-ireland

When you see the results, you might be surprised!  Too often, certain web designers put their own names down when registering your domain.  It is only OK to put their own names down as the technical contact.  Your name MUST be the registrant.  These are like the documents you get when you buy a house.  If your name wasn’t on there, would you pay for it?

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR NAME IS NOT ON THE REGISTRATION DETAILS?

Go back to your web designer immediately.  Tell them you want your name to be the registrant.  In fact, I would ask at this point for the domain registration login details.  If you ever wanted to part company from your web designer, you need these.

This is why I do not buy domains for my clients.  I prefer them to buy them, and then give me access.  Just so that we’re all legal and above board.

2. UNDERSTAND HOSTING

You are paying for hosting every year.  The amount you pay should be in the region of €50 – €80.  Hosting is a commodity service these days – yet some manage to get it drastically wrong!   I use Blacknight.  I’m not particularly in love with them.  I do not like their control panel.  But they are the best of a bad lot.

When you pay for hosting, you are paying ‘rental’ for your site on a server.  You point your domain to your little spot, you fill it with files, and that’s how your site gets displayed to the world.   Questions to ask your web designer:

  • Will my site be hosted in a separate webspace to your other clients?  This is important because if it’s not, and one of the others gets infected, yours could too.
  • What do you do to justify the fee you charge me?  I’m finding web designers across Ireland are charging around €150 – €250 for hosting.  Unless they are actually doing stuff to justify the fee, it’s money for nothing.
  • Please can I have my FTP details.  This ensures that you always have the ability to access your site files.  So if your web designer goes awol, you can get in.

On a side note to this, I’ve witnessed an alarming number of businesses being adversely affected by Digiweb’s continuing poor performance.  If you are with a host that falls over regularly, you should consider using Google for your business emails.  Google is super reliable, and you can set up your emails to go through Google Drive, and never miss another important email again!  You can still use your email address of yourname@yourbusiness.com, it doesn’t have to be a gmail one.

3. CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

I’m a big fan of WordPress because it is easy to use, search engine friendly, and free!  But there are a wide range of CMS’s out there.  Questions to ask your web designer:

  • How will I update my site?
  • What content management system do you recommend?  Why?
  • If using WordPress, who is responsible for keeping it updated?  You or me?
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