Choose your web design company very carefully

Thinking about getting a website or having a new website built and thinking about one of the many “Grants” available then please read this first and choose your web design company very carefully as there are a few factors you will need to consider.

At the moment there is plenty of website grants available for businesses and there has been quite a few “web design” companies sprung up to help businesses get a website and liberate cash from the government agencies offering money. There are some serious ramifications with these agencies and the services they offer to companies who use these grants.

First off you need to ask yourself a few questions about your potential web design company.

Q1: Does the body offering the grant require you to use specific web design companies?

Q2: What is this agencies providence? How long have you been in business? How many websites have they created in the past? What is their competency level?

Q3: Do they monitor the websites they have created for hacking attempts, updates to the system used? And do they charge a maintenance fee for this?

Q4: what happens if your website gets hacked?

Q5: How quickly do they respond to customer questions?

Q6: Do they answer the phone or do they only provide email support?

Q7: Do they provide you with a copy of the website once completed?

Q8: What are their charges once the website has been completed for yearly hosting and what does this fee include?

Q9: What design information is provided once the job is finished? Who retains ownership of files created during this project?

Q10: Can you work with your chosen web design company?

These are questions you need to have answers to before you decide to have a website built by a web design company who subscribe to these “Grant” schemes.

Surely I’m just saying this as its sour grapes as you run a web design company. NO! emphatically not.

I am writing this article to help businesses and save them potential heart ache in the future and below is why.

In the past few years I have picked up the pieces from these “Grant” websites after things have gone pair shaped from customer lured in by the promised of a part funded website from one of these grant schemes.

I will go through the issues we’ve had with these in no particular order so feel free to skip to a section you may think is relevant.

Client 1: It took ages to build.

the average timescale for building an online shop is usually around 6 weeks and this all depends on the information provided by the client to the design agency but this particular client waited 18 months for their website to be completed.

At the start of the job our client asked us to provide the new agency with the content for the online shop as we already had all the images of their products as well as 95% of the text for the website and their product catalog. This was provided to the new agency within 5 days of the information requested. They then asked for it again some 5 months later as they had “lost” it. So they already haven’t done anything for 5 months.

After 16 months we were asked to get involved again and input all the product information into the development website as the grant web designers had done a grand total of 3 products out of 150. They also refused to install a plugin to their chosen CMS which would have made the job much easier as we could have imported a CSV file instead we had to manually add each product.

Client 2: Website hacked

The build on this website was very quick and the clients were initially quite happy with the site but the web site had been setup purely to generate cash from the grant system and as such knew nothing about website security or how to make the website secure once it was uploaded to the internet.

As a result of this the website was hacked 11 times in 6 months and each time the web designers had to revert back to the original website as they had taken no backups of the site at all.

In the end the website was hacked again and we were asked to firstly host the website and then update it back to its pre hacked state. The website was built in WordPress and the “web designers” (I use this term very loosely) had used several unsecure plugins and then put the website onto a server where FTP was open and insecure.

Once the website had been hacked they had made no attempt to discover why (either through lazyiness or lack of knowledge) and the hackers were free to walk back in again and again.

Since its been hosted on our servers the website hasn’t been hacked once and we took over hosting in October of 2013.

We have also picked up another 27 websites which were originally created by this web design company who have now ceased trading.

Client 3: Paid in full and got nothing

The third client has been royally taken for a ride by a web design company who were purely setup to collect money from the grant procedure. This web design company asked for full payment to complete work but after 6 months the company folded leaving numerous clients with nothing.

Research your company, research your grant scheme or perhaps just employ the services of a reputable company and forget the grant scheme and the potential problems you could face such as the above. If you’re sure the grant scheme is for you then ask the potential web design company for references of past work and call these clients to find out whether they had a good or bad experience.

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