Even though we now offer web design, our service doesn’t suit everyone. We’ve seen a few customers sign website contracts for websites that have given them poor results.
To help you avoid this situation, here are a few details that need to be discussed before signing a contract for a website.
This is part 2 of the series. You can find part 1 here, What to look for in a web hosting provider.
Which Content Management System (CMS) is used
The CMS is how your website is built, and will allow you to do things like manage blog posts and upload images. We recommend WordPress because it’s currently the best open-source (free) CMS in the world. It’s also used by over 75 million websites, meaning it’s the most widely developed and easiest to support by other people in the future. If you need to transition to a new web developer, WordPress will save you a lot of money compared to other Content Management Systems. In our opinion, you should try to avoid proprietary CMS’s such as Kentico or Adobe Experience Manager because they will lock you into a specific vendor and make it very difficult to move to a new website provider. In this situation, most people end up rewriting their entire website again and throwing away a lot of time, money and intellectual property.
Hosting Speed and Server Location
These will affect the SEO and the performance of your website. The location of the server needs to be as close to your customer as possible. For example, if your market is in Australia, do not use a server that’s in America.
Google judges your website based on performance so, if you want a top ranking website, you will need to have top performing website.
The most common web server is Apache but it’s not the fastest. The fastest web server is Litespeed, which is what what we use for our clients websites, giving them the same performance as top servers throughout the world.
Maintenance and Updates
Every CMS is a software package that has updates. If you don’t apply updates you will be at risk of having your website hacked. Some open source CMS (Drupal and Joomla for example) have major version upgrade problems where you will need to rewrite your entire website to work with the new version. Historically, WordPress has not given us this problem. Any website that is not updated is a potential vector to attack our server, which is why we include updating your WordPress core, themes and plugins as part of our service.
Your website is a valuable piece of your property, and it is important to have backups so that it can be restored rather than lost forever. You would not be the first person to lose a site because of lost backups. Hosting provided backups are your first line of defense against losing your site. Our rule is to always have two backups, one in the cloud and one stored locally. We make sure to take a weekly copy of of the backups to our office so that it is in our hands, not the cloud.
Intellectual Property Ownership
You want to make sure that you own all the code, images and content at the end of the project. We’ve seen contracts where ownership is retained by the developer and, at the end of the contract, the customer had to get an entirely new website written. You’re spending a lot of money to get this done so make sure you will have ownership at the end of it.
If this sounds like the kind of website contract you’ve been looking for, come talk to us and see what we can do for you.