Recently we wrote about what web designers do. Today we’re taking a different path and talking about what you should not expect of your typical web designer. See, many consumers don’t quite understand that there are differences in the types of “techies” out there. Hopefully we’ll help clarify things so when you’re hunting for a good web designer you know what to expect and not expect.
There is no all knowing tech person out there
First off, folks in the technology business are specialized. Just because you work for a technological company doesn’t mean you know tech. Back when I worked with Sprint PCS and AT&T Wireless we had many different groups. Our RF guys (radio frequency) knew all about the radios that make digital cellular work. I was a network guy, and I knew all about our telecommunications switches, voicemail platforms, prepay platforms, 911, and a host of other items. If you took one of our RF guys and stuck him in my chair for a day nothing would get accomplished. And if you sat me in his chair I wouldn’t have a clue.
So first off, your web designer isn’t going to be an all knowing tech guru. When searching for a web designer keep in mind, they should know how to build you a functional, attractive, easy to navigate website. Good designers will also know something about SEO (search engine optimization), building simple sites that get the job done, and not adding a lot of glitter and flash when the most important thing is simply relaying your message.
While some web design shops have programmers in their group, don’t expect your designer to be able to program on a high level. If you’re looking for super custom programming, guest registration databases, and high end features you will pay more. Why? Because folks who design website design websites. Expecting your local web development company that charges $1,000 for a site to have a lot of programming and customization expertise is just unrealistic. When you go down the road of super customized web experiences you’re looking at a team of people putting in a lot of hours. $1,000 will probably cover their first day of work.
Designers aren’t your indentured servants
After selecting a web development company, many businesses are under the mistaken impression that their designers will continue doing updates, maintenance, and phone support for free forever. That’s kind of like expecting free gas, oil changes, and service on your vehicle after you’ve bought it. Think of your website as your new car…..you still have to put gas in it and maintain it going forward, and the same can be said of your website.
Typical web developers will build your website, get it to meet your criteria, and complete their contract. Some development houses will maintain your site going forward, but that is an additional cost because they need to invest additional time on your site each month.
So be prepared for one bill to build your website. And if you need on going support, be prepared for additional billing. Working on your maintenance issues going forward takes away from your developers time on other client projects, and they must be compensated for that time like any other profession.
Your other tech issues aren’t your designer’s tech issues
Often I’ve come across clients who recognize that RLC Design’s knowledge does go beyond a typical web design shop. And that’s correct, we have expertise in many tech fields. But when we’re working on your website, that’s what we’re working on.
Normally good design shops will create a contract for what they are and are not doing. And after agreeing to the contract clients often come up with a few more items they’d like “looked at.” Personally I’ve been asked to figure out printer issues, e-mail issues, problems with old monitors, etc. Once again, not all tech folks know all operating systems, hardware, printers, etc. They know their specific field. And if they wrote a reasonable contract that you agreed to, requesting extra assistance with other technological issues cuts into their time of doing the job you asked them to do.
Get your ducks in a row
So, before starting into a new website we have a simple suggestion. Sit down with your potential web developer. Ask them about their capabilities. Make sure you have a list of what you really need the to do on hand. And once the project has started, make sure you’re not asking for things outside their realm of expertise.
In the case of RLC Design here’s what we do know:
- Website Design
- RV Travel Destinations
- PHP Development (programming)
- SQL Database Design
- Commercial Photography
- Telecommunications Network Design
- Adobe Photoshop Expertise
- Mac OSX
- IOS Development
We’ve got a few other skill sets as well, but the above list covers our areas of true expertise. And normally when we’re sitting down with a small business client we’re talking strictly about WordPress website design. Heavy custom programming (PHP development, SQL database customization) means additional time and additional fees. That’s being totally honest and realistic.
So when you look to create a new web presence for your business it pays to list out everything you need, and to sit down with potential developers to see if they can meet your requirements.