We once had a client walk into our studio looking for answers. This client had just purchased a “website package” which promised to take care of everything. Sounded great – until he realised that the cozy new domain was now owned by the web developing company! After hearing what he had to say, it reminded me that not everyone is internet savvy. I know it shouldn’t, but it still surprises me how many people don’t know the basics of purchasing a new website. Without going into the intricacies and all the billions of options, there are a few simple details that you must consider when purchasing a new site.
1. Do you own your domain name?
This is the most important detail that surprisingly, some people overlook. If you don’t own the domain name, then how much control do you have over your company?
2. Do you have access to your server?
Three words: File Transfer Protocol. Mostly known as FTP, it’s the information you need to upload your site. Without it, how will you make changes? My recommendation on this is to host your site on a server that you or your company control. Tonny (Our Secret Service SEO Guru) says that you should buy your domain name and your hosting services from two different companies. This ensures your independence from the possibility of a difficult situation.
3. Do you own your website files?
I can’t even begin to tell you the absurdity to this – but sadly, there are web-developing companies that will do all the work but will still claim to own the rights to the actual HTML files they’re delivering. Doesn’t happen often, but it doesn’t hurt to ask your developer.
4. Cross Browser/Cross OS?
I still get a good chuckle when I see a site that doesn’t work. It’s absolutely shocking how often a web developing company, or individual, will build a site that works great on Mozilla Firefox running on Windows XP SP2, but as soon as any of those variables change – the site falls apart. It’s funny because this happens to both big and small companies. Make sure your web design firm checks to see how your site runs on different browsers and different operating systems.
5. Is the Design Original?
This question need not be asked for the thousands of professional web developing firms. However, I am aware of many instances where a designer (in one case, a designer in a large prestigious firm) ripped off a design right from a template site. No doubt, the site was hot – but it also belonged to about 400 other people.
There are tonnes of other factors in purchasing a website, but the crucial ones are listed above. Enjoy your next purchase!