Buying a new website can be tricky.
No two websites are identical, nor are two web companies the same. Everyone has a different approach to how they build websites and each of them is convinced they are the best.
We just ask that you take a hard look at whom you are hiring.
1. What will my website be built on?
Will your site be built on WordPress.com? WordPress.org? Joomla? Blogger? These content management systems weren’t created equal. Know which one the website company specializes in.
For instance, at Author Media, we only build WordPress.org websites. We won’t build a site on another platform.
2. Will I be able to change the content on my site or will I need to hire a webmaster to do that for me?
It’s your website. Do you want to be the one to add and subtract new content or do you want to pay someone else to do it as needed? Your website should be easy for you to use.
That’s one of the reasons we use WordPress.org. Not only is it easy for designers and developers, but authors and non-techies can use it easily as well.
3. How will the look of my website be established?
Do you need to bring your own template? Will they build something based on your ideas? Will they incorporate industry best-practices with your design to make sure that it is pretty and functional?
Our account managers make sure that client sites are functional first. While aesthetic is important, so is hitting your website goals!
4. What does their design portfolio look like? Why do I like their work?
One good rule of thumb is to find a website you like and see who designed it. If you find a designer with cheap prices and no portfolio, you need to proceed carefully. They may be a brilliant designer on the cusp of being discovered…or a scam artist who needs a quick “job.” Another thing to note is that you need designers and developers. You don’t want a pretty site that doesn’t work.
A design portfolio should be well rounded. Do you like our designs? If you don’t, we aren’t the best team to work for you.
5. What are their former clients saying about them?
What happens when you google their name? Do you see blog posts from irate authors who are tired of their shoddy treatment? You want to see clients who are so happy with their website company that they can’t help but write about how awesome they are. Make sure you check out the testimonial page on the company’s site.
Take a peek at our testimonial page. You may recognize a few of the names on there.
- Answer these questions before you hire your next web team. – click to tweet.
- What should you look for in a web company? – click to tweet.
- Don’t get scammed. Read this before hiring your next web design team. – click to tweet.
- Hmmm…Some things to think about before hiring a new web company. – click to tweet.
- Before you think about getting a website from @AuthorMedia, read this post! – click to tweet.
6. Are they a company with in-house designers, coaches, and account managers, or a one person show?
One person can’t do it all. They just can’t. Even if they did have all the talent, they’d stil need a fresh pair of eyes to do quality control. If you are going with a team, make sure that they have the staff you need. They should have people who specialize in one or two things instead of one person doing everything poorly.
Our team is dedicated to bringing excellence to our author clients. That’s why everyone works out of their strength.
7. Do they provide hosting?
This is important. Once you have a website, you need to give it the gas to run. Will your web company host it? How much does it cost? What comes in the monthly hosting bill? Do you need to export it to your own server? How much would that cost?
We think hosting is more than just making your website accesible. That’s why we provide technical support, free WP updgrades, and how-to videos for our clients, as well as the bandwidth their website needs.
8. Are their prices reasonable?
According to WordPress, the industry average for a basic website is $2,500.
If you can get a website for $500, beware. There are hidden costs to cheap websites. You can either pay in money upfront for a nice website or pay in time, frustration, and additional money when you get a cheap website and have to constantly “fix” it. At first glance, $2,500 may seem like a lot of money. For a small business, it’s not. As an author, you are a small business.
Our basic website costs $2,500. It includes many features that other people would charge more for – Google analytics, time with an account manager, and our MyBookTable plugin that we created to help authors sell books.
9. What are my website expectations, and how will I know when they’ve been met? What are their expectations for me as a client, and how will I know when I’ve met them?
You’ll never hit your website goals if you don’t set them. You’ll never be happy with your website company if you don’t know what you want from them. It may sound awkward to ask the obvious questions of “what will I get out of this?” but it will save you lots of headaches. Having clear outcomes makes it easy for both parties.
A website company needs to make it clear what they expect from their clients. Every company has a different processes and set of expectations. What will you be responsible for? What will you have the final say on? Are you responsible for writing your website copy or is that something the website company will do?
Before we take on a client, we ask them to fill out a website worksheet. It has questions on it carefully crafted to make authors think about their brand and help them set smart goals for their site. Having clearly defined goals are the only way that both parties can achieve success. We also let clients know upfront what they are responsible for. Miscommunication may happen from time to time but we want to make sure it’s not a common occurrence!
We also offer free consultations so we can help them talk through some of the questions they have.
10. Do I like them?
Don’t hire someone you don’t want to talk to. If you find the salesperson unpleasant or the account manager cranky, move on! Find a team of creative individuals who are passionate about getting your site out to the world.
While we’d love to build your professional author website for you, it’s more important to us that you find the best fit for you.
If you think we might be a good fit, request a consultation today!