Have you ever been afraid to contact your web designer?
There can be many reasons for it from a clash of personalities to someone who is just unhelpful. Let's look at some of the reasons and how to avoid them if possible - there isn't much we can do about a clash of personalities but we can recommend a good business coach to help you overcome this!
Why would any company be unhelpful? Especially in the service industry. We have unfortunately heard this a few times from clients and colleagues so let's look at why.
The web designer may be more focused on the web design project than your business. Let's face it, the big money is in the full website build and that's naturally what a lot of companies focus on. On-going support is 2nd or 3rd rate or ignored completely. Unfortunately they will say they can support you and will do updates for you in the future before they have your money for the build but once the site is live, we've heard many stories of just not being able to get a hold of the company for support.
How can you avoid the unhelpful web design company?
There's a few things you can do like ask what you get with their on-going support and then ask them to prove it - well maybe not as direct, ask for a couple of companies contact details they currently support so you can speak to them. If they are cagey then that's a red flag - they may say they can't give out details for data protection which is a fair comment. But if a company says yeah you can contact client x as they are happy to talk about our work with them then that gives you an independent view.
Another thing to look for is the project process itself. Are they asking you about your business and what you do or are they asking you what you want on your website? If they are just interested in what you want on your website that may be an indication that they just want to build it and move on. Those who find out about your business and make suggestions on what your website can do to help you and more importantly, how it can guide your customers to take the action you want them to are more interested in helping you make the most of your website and may be more inclined to offer on-going support.
Be upfront - ask them about their support and updates, new functionality etc and get that into the contract. Most web designers these days should realise your website is never finished, it is always evolving just as your business is evolving and meeting customer demand. Therefore any reputable company will already be providing monthly support to keep your site ticking over. Yes, you may be able to do some updates yourself but don't underestimate the knowledge and experience your designer has. If you are thinking you don't want to pay more for this type of on-going support then that is not an unhelpful web designer issue.
You could ask for a 6 month trial of the support to see how they perform then decide whether it's worth continuing but then you are back to not being able to contact your web designer!
In our next blog post we'll look at a way to build a relationship with the web company before you embark on the website build. This way you will know if you can work with the company.