In Short: Set up your website so you have support now, access to make changes and freedom to move in the future.
It often starts well. You meet with a talented designer who listens to your needs, speaking in the second-language of code 50% of the time, gives you a quote then designs you a website that works. For updates, you either sign an ongoing service package for hundreds of dollars per month or you need to contact them to do updates (and get billed on an hourly basis…”How long does it take to update a plugin?). This agreement can work well for most clients but the problems start happening when changing an image/text on the website seems to cost too much or take too long or is completed, but with mistakes. How do you get around this? A few quick tips:
- Always have the website domain name in your own name, on your own account and paid by you. This is the key ownership piece you need to have freedom in the future.
- Understand the scope of what your website needs to do. You might only need a single page website that looks professional and has a contact form or you might need a shopping cart with upsells or you might need a way to sell courses through your website. Get unbiased advice on the cheap, standard and premium options for the type of site you need.
- If you want a site that you update yourself, include that in the contract when your site is built. Have your designer create 10 short videos on the common tasks that you will do on the site i.e. update images, add a blog post, add a page etc
- Try to avoid custom-made themes for your websites as they’re costly to update later and often lead to you being dependant on your designer/developing forever (or until they stop designing/developing).
- Know the ballpark figure for website builds. Ask your friends, consider the value to your business, get quotes.
- Consider having the website and emails set up on your own hosting account. Hosting doesn’t have to be expensive and having everything billed to you means you can adjust your strategy in the future with ease.
There are plenty of other considerations when creating a new website or updating an existing website, get in touch if you need some quick advice or want to discuss a build or upgrade.