In the past year, I have had several customers come to me because of one very specific reason - well, more than one, but the one reason that stands out the most is because their website designer was not transparent. What does that mean? It means that the designer or the company may not have been very truthful in what they were doing for their customer, which in turn, actually cost the customer way more money than what they should have been paying. Basically, they were not getting what they paid for. So, here are a few things to think about and remember.
A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or web page to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. Web hosting can range in different prices, depending on what type of website you have. In this case, I am talking about brochure sites (mostly informational, not selling items) for small businesses.
Every single customer's website I have ever done, has never cost my customers more than $150.00 per year. The tip here is that I happily explain to my customers that the hosting fees do NOT go to me - I do not have a server, I do not host their website, and I am not one to raise the prices on something that has nothing to do with me, just to make extra money. This is the transparency that I am talking about.
It is very important that your designer explains to you where the money goes, or what you are actually buying. The hosting fee, the domain name fee, app fees... those are external costs. However, there is no finite cost when it comes to the actual service and design work, as this is only specific to the designer or company. If the prices seem high, it may very likely be that you are paying for that company or designer's expertise or artistic skill, which may have taken them many years or a lot of college money to gain those skills, along with certain software or electronics that they use to provide you with the service you are paying for.
One of the most interesting things that I have learned over the years, is that there are some designers or companies who will offer their customers things that they really don't need, just to make a sale. I have heard it all before from some of my customers, about their previous designers. Some designers or designer companies are just like mechanics - they always find something wrong. In my ten years of doing websites and graphics, there were plenty of times that I had told potential customers "your site looks great, I would not change a thing" or "your logo is fantastic, I would not revamp it, just put it out there more to brand it better". Most designers will always try to get a sale no matter what, whether they say they can do better (and some may) or your site is not good enough, or it is missing some things... This is where it is important to "shop" around.
Is Your Website Being Held Hostage?
This is a HUGE thing when it comes to website design - is your site being held hostage? What do I mean - do you have full control of your own website, can you log in to it? Do you have the password? Is it actually registered under your name and your name only? Are you the only administer of your website? These questions also apply to your domain name/names as well.
This is what separates me from most. A customer's website and domain name are that customer's website and domain name, period. When I complete a website, it is registered under the customer, they are the only ones that have the login and password info, they can change them or any content within their site any time they want - they paid for it. The customer also knows who the hosting company is, how to pay that company to keep their website alive, who their domain account is through, how much the hosting and domain cost after the completion of the design.
There are some designers and companies who will keep your website and domain under their name for intentional reasons. That is how they actually do their sites but don't necessarily tell the customer until the customer needs something. Some do it just so that you have no choice but to go through them for edits or changes, which will accrue more costs. And there have literally been some that hold your site hostage, because they are using the domain name, website, and SEO (search engine optimization) under their own accounts, for extra personal incentives. They may actually be charging you a massive monthly fee and may call it "maintenance", even though nothing changes.
The reality is that it is very rare that you find a designer that is fully transparent, and whose biggest attention is that of the best interest of their customer and their business. I offer full brochure websites, logo designs and everything I do, with no hidden fees or agendas. I give out a ton of free information, and I throw in a lot of free stuff. There is literally no reason why you HAVE to pay anyone for maintenance that you can easily do for yourself, unless you simply choose not to, and have no problem paying someone else to do the service. Your website should always be under your control 100%. At JT McCabe Designs, your website is never held hostage, ever. For a FREE consultation with absolutely No Obligations - just contact me. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.