I have a lot to do with web designers and their customers due to my work and the absolute majority of web designers I have dealt with so far are very professional and friendly. So in most cases you will have no problem with your web designer. However, I do witness situations time and time again that you definitely don't want to find yourself in. That's why we're going to look at how you can prevent your website and domain name from becoming theirs with a few basic rules.
So what's important to consider when having your website built for you instead of doing it yourself?
If the website creation is done by a web agency, it is important to be registered as the owner of the domain yourself and to contractually specify the services to be provided. Both parties should also be proficient in a common language, to avoid misunderstandings.
Now let's take a closer look at how you can find a good web designer and what you should do or urgently not do.
Things you should not do when creating a website
If you follow some principles, even if there is a disagreement with the web designer, you will never find yourself in a situation where you are no longer the owner of your website and domain and you are left empty-handed.
The following things, should definitely keep in mind when having your site created by a web designer:
Never register your domain in the name of the web agency
It may seem tedious to take care of the domain registration yourself. Nevertheless, it is elementary to do this in order to be sure that you yourself are registered as the legal owner of the domain name.
Never give the domain transfer code to the web designer
It's tempting to let go of the helm completely, so that you really don't have to worry about anything. But doing so creates the potential for situations such as the complete loss of the website or domain.
Do not agree on a price on an hourly basis, instead go for a flat rate
There are exceptions to this rule. For example, when the cost of website creation or maintenance cannot be estimated. This can be the case if the structure for the creation of your website is not yet fully planned or the maintenance is not closer to estimate, because you will need sometimes more sometimes less changes on the site. But whenever possible you should agree on lump sums, because this way you will always know what your costs are and because this way your web designer will bear the costs if they tinker with your site longer than absolutely necessary.
You will find below some more things you should definitely do if you want to work with a web designer and/or webmaster without any difficulties. But first, let's look at how to find someone suitable in the first place.
Finding the right web designer
This point goes hand in hand with the next two, so be sure to read all three before making your decision.
In most cases, a web designer is recommended who is based somewhere in the same country as you are. This makes a physical meeting at least theoretically possible. In addition, in case of dispute, the place of jurisdiction is the same. In any case it is important to speak the same language to avoid misunderstandings.
And I don't mean here that both parties should speak roughly usable English. This may be fine in most cases, but it may well be that your website doesn't live up to your expectations later on. And you want to avoid that in any case.
You basically have two options to choose between when it comes to what exactly the web agency should take care of:
Only design of the page (then manage yourself)
There is a possibility to commission only the design of the website and then maintain it yourself. This means that you independently try to keep the site up to date, which includes content (images, texts, videos, etc.), but also updating applications and plugins.
Design and subsequent maintenance contract
If you do not want to deal with the matter of web hosting yourself or simply want to use your time for other work, there is the possibility to commission a web designer with the design, but also the following maintenance of the website. This way you benefit from the know-how of a professional and usually achieve a higher standard than if you do it yourself.
Selecting the right hosting provider
Some web designers offer various hosting providers on which their own site is then ultimately hosted. Others offer only a single provider. If you have specific criteria that need to be met, you should consider them accordingly.
Such criteria can be (see my article for a detailed decision process here):
If it is important to you that the data has a certain location, your web designer should take that into account. This is especially important if your business requires, for example, that customer data does not go abroad.
More and more, it is an issue how environmentally friendly the hosting provider is (which I am very happy about). Perhaps you attach importance to the fact that, for example, CO² is completely compensated, or even more than 100%. The company's own mission statement or association statutes can also require something like this.
Up-to-dateness of the infrastructure
Depending on how complex or demanding your site is, you will always need the very latest technology, which is why the hosting provider in question should be able to offer that.
Type of hosting offered
There are different types of hosting plans and it should suit your needs, which brings us to the next point.
Choose the right type of hosting
There are web designers who specialize in using specific applications like WordPress, Joomla or website building kits like Wix and Squarespace.
The pros and cons, which is the right choice, is too extensive to go into here in depth. But here are at least the rough points.
|Website builder (like Wix and Squarespace)||CMS (like WordPress and Joomla)|
|+ affordable||+ easy provider change|
|- strongly tied to the provider |
- High efforts for change of provider
|- usually more expensive than website construction kits|
If you decide to use a CMS, there is still this follow-up decision to make:
|Shared Hostings||Dedicated hosting|
|+ more affordable|
+ easy to adminstrate
|+ more stable performance if lots of visits|
+ widely customizable
|- weak performance when having lots of visits|
- limited in customization
- more complex to administrate
Principles you should follow
If you have your website created and possibly also maintained by a web agency, everything should be recorded in writing if possible. Of course, this does not mean that a short clarifying phone call is not advisable. But the main points of such a phone call should be listed in a short e-mail and confirmed by the other party.
This ensures that in the event of a dispute, everything is neatly documented and the case is clear.
Here are some more points that are recommended to have the website created worry-free:
- Set an appropriate budget - don't save in the wrong place
- Get a full backup of the website on a regular basis
- Record lines contractually and make further arrangements in writing
I know the last point is double, but it is really important and makes sure you are on the safe side.
That's it. You see, there are neither too many nor too difficult points that need to be considered. The only thing that matters is that you know about them and take them to heart. Thus, outsourcing the creation (and maintenance, if necessary) to a web agency can be a real blessing that can save you a lot of time and money.