If you’re in the market for a new website one of the initial steps will be to shop around for quotes. There is no standard template for web design agencies to respond to quotes so it can be difficult for you to understand what the quote entails. The quote itself will show you the estimated price, but that doesn’t tell you what you’re getting for that price.
With this in mind we have created a list of questions that you should ask as part of your quote request. This should help you identify how much bang you’re getting for your buck.
Will the website be built on a CMS (Content Management System) , and if so which platform will the website be built on?
This is a nice easy one and most web designers will answer with WordPress – although some may use Joomla, Drupal or ModX.
At ClearSoft all of our content management solutions are built with WordPress – it is the most robust, configurable & reliable solution with a massive vibrant community and ecosystem of add-ons.
Where will the website be hosted?
If your target audience is in Ireland, there is no point in hosting the website in Brazil. As with everything online, speed is of the essence and the closer you are to the web server, the faster your experience will be.
All of our sites are hosted in a secure datacentre in north Dublin. They run in a high availability, high performance cluster and are backed up nightly.
Will I have the ability to update the site myself? What training will be provided?
If you want to add a new product or service, change your contact details or just upload a new image, will you have the ability to do so? Will you have a username / password to the backend of the system and will you have the necessary training?
We offer an optional service where we can provide you with a bespoke user manual for manging the site. This will be unique to your installation and will be comprised of easy to understand steps supplemented by plenty of screenshots. If the website grows and new features are added, the user manual can be updated easily to reflect this.
How does ongoing support and changes work?
Getting the website live is one thing, you need to think about what happens 6 months down the line and something stops working or you want to add a new feature.
ClearSoft have been supporting clients for over 15 years. We are only ever a phone call or email away if something goes wrong. We also offer layered support plans for more demanding clients.
Ongoing changes are charged at an hourly basis.
How are WordPress (if applicable) updates applied?
If your website is built on WordPress or any other Content Management System, you need to be sure that your application is updated to the latest versions regularly. The WordPress community releases regular enhancements and security patches to keep you one step ahead of the hackers. See https://wordpress.org/news/category/releases/ for release history and see our blog post here for why keeping WordPress up to date is important. Unless these patches are applied as soon as they come out, your installation of WordPress will be exposed and the consequences of this are grave.
ClearSoft have partnered with one of the leading hosting companies around and we have built automatic WordPress updates into our hosting package. So there is an installation manager built into our hosting solution that checks for new patches on a nightly basis and applies these fixes automatically at non-peak times. So as you sleep, your website is being updated to keep the bad guys out. This applies to core installations, plugins and themes
Are regular backups catered for?
Datacentre disasters are few and far between these days thankfully – but can happen. Are you covered in case of a disaster? (data loss, server crash, database corruption etc.). Imagine losing your customer list or newsletter subscribers list forever.
With ClearSoft, each WordPress installation is backed up on a weekly basis and can be restored within minutes of a disaster.
Has the design company delivered something like what you’re looking for in the past?
An important factor to take into consideration is if the design agency has a proven track record of delivering projects similar to your requirements.
Since 2006 we have a proven track record of working with individuals, SME’s, multinational corporations across websites, bespoke web applications & mobile apps. You can check out some of our recent projects at our portfolio page.
Will the website design be unique?
This could be a difficult one to ask and get a straight answer to. There are some lazy web designers in existence that use variations on a pre-existing purchased themes. Web designers can go to online stores that specialise in selling WordPress themes and purchase a pre-built theme. These can be multi-use and multi-purpose so some bad designers tend to recreate all of their sites with similar designs but slight variations (different logo, primary colour, banner image). This could end up in a situation where your website is effectively the same as many of the designers previous sites but with a different logo, colour and images.
What are the yearly fees?
Web design companies charge for domain name registration, website hosting, maintenance etc.
At ClearSoft our yearly hosting fee is €100. This also covers automatic Wodpress updates, and scheduled backups for disaster recovery (mentioned under point 5). SSl certificates (optional) are charged at yearly rates.
What extra services are available?
This is about what value add-ons the web design company offer. What do they throw in with the package?
As part of your site go-live, we conduct a quality control checklist before handing the site over. This includes items such as
- Updating SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) meta tags
- Auditing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) URLs
- Submission of sitemap to Google
- Addition of site to Google Analytics
- Installation of Google Analytics insights tool to WordPress backend
- GDPR compliance check
- Google Recapcha verification
- Unlimited Email Account Setup
- Full mobile phone & Tablet test
- ClearSoft documentation updated to reflect site go-live
We understand that the first thing that people will look at when they receive the response to a quote is price –and we understand that, particularly if the business is in its infancy. We prefer to use the expression value for money. If the only factor driving your decision is the price of the quote, the decision is very easy – go with the lowest quote. If any of the points mentioned above are important to you, you might need to clarify these points with your preferred vendor.