The Dummies Guide to Choosing a Web Company

I met with a potential new client a few weeks ago. They are a well-established, local, family-owned and operated business. Before I met with them, I emailed a website planner that I ask new clients to complete. It asks questions like what’s your domain name, who hosts your website, and what are the top three things you want your website to do.

When I showed up to the meeting, they had printed the website planner but said they couldn’t answer one question.

You might as well be speaking Chinese, they said.

I understand this feeling. It’s me and taxes. I don’t understand taxes, and at this point in my life, I’m assuming I never will. It hurts my brain to think about it. I want someone to make it go away.

If this is you and websites, but everyone is saying you need a new site, where do you start, what do you ask, and how much do you spend? Here are my top 5 ways you can find a web company that works for you. 

Top 5 Ways to Find a Web Company When You Don’t Know a Thing About Websites

1.     Ask for referrals

Ask other business owners, friends, relatives, and neighbors who they use. Are they happy with them? Do they enjoy working together? Are they getting their money’s worth? Contact those companies first.

2.     Look at their work

One of the best ways to get an idea of what you’ll get is to look at the work the web company has already done. Are their sites big and bold, or quiet and conservative? Chances are, they’d use a similar style for your website. If you don’t like their style, best to move onto the next guy.

3.     Get three quotes

 I was taught this early in my career and in the case of websites where companies tout that you can build one for free in an hour, three quotes are a must. A well-thought-out proposal will address your needs and concerns and discuss ongoing costs because, with websites, there are always ongoing costs.

4.     Trust your gut

Meet with the web people and see if you like them. Do they listen and ask questions? Do they seem to know their stuff? Websites often end up being a long-term committed relationship. You want someone trustworthy and likable. 

5.     Be realistic with your budget

Websites are like houses. A one-bedroom condo in Boyertown will go for much less than a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. The price can vary greatly depending on the location and the amenities. Start with a realistic number in mind. What is it worth to you to have the peace of mind that someone else is taking care of it? Like me and taxes.  

When you don’t know much about technology – websites, domain names, hosting, SEO, WordPress – it boils down to finding someone you can trust – trust that they won’t take advantage of your lack of knowledge, trust that they’ll build a good website for you, and trust that they’ll do it for a fair price. 

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