My first reaction is “yikes!” I have done estimates for people getting bids from these $400 guys and it’s definitely comparing apples to oranges. Be sure they are being clear about what they are offering.
Web Design FAQs:
Here are some helpful questions to ask when hiring a website designer:
- My first question is what does their portfolio look like? Do they create sites that visually represent the quality of service or product you provide because that is what people think when they see your site. If it’s clunky, doesn’t work well and visually unappealling, do you think that your site will compete with your competitors?
- Once you look at their portfolio, look at your competitors’ sites. Do your competitors have similar sites or better sites than these? If your competitors have better sites, then why spend the money on something inferior if this is going to be your main point of online advertising?
- What type of site are you getting for $400? Is it a content management site or html site? If it is a content management site, do they train you and what does the site include? If it is an html site, how much will they charge you each time you need an update? In both cases, review what they include, what the base price of $400 includes and how much all the add-ons and changes will cost you. Also, ask them if they be providing anything custom or will it look exactly like your competitors sites.
- Do they include hosting and if so, how much do they mark it up?
- If you choose to move hosting later, how much will they charge to move it?
- Do they outsource all of their work overseas and if so, what type of working conditions do these programmers have (and do you want your business associated with that?).
- Additionally, providing passwords and logins to providers overseas has been an ongoing issue with security breaches. Who will have access to your password and how is your sensitive information treated?
- Do they provide coaching, security assistance, back-ups, customization that can easily be updated when you need updates in 6-12 months?
- What is their turnaround time for returning your calls? How about making changes?
- If it is your friend, brother-in-law, or child, what is a realistic timeline that they can adhere to (and no, 2 weeks is not realistic for someone doing this for free or for cheap. On average, I hear that it takes usually 4 to 12 months since they are doing this after work or in the middle of the night). Does this timeline work for your business?
- Are they using best-practices and current web standards? Or are they using their skills from developing an html site in 1995?
- Do they test your site on numerous major browsers and mobile devices? Do they know how to address the issues if there are problems?
I hear nightmare stories again and again from people who choose a website and/or graphic designer based solely off of price. In the end, most of these people end up paying more to redo their project right versus just getting it done correctly the first time. If you are new to the web design process and are not sure what to ask, here are some other questions to go through when deciding which web designer to work with:
How to Choose a Web Designer.