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Construction Programs & Results Inc

We Like to See The Good Guys Win!

Website Designers - Hire Carefully

by Michael Stone

If you're looking at hiring a website designer or SEO provider, beware! The stories we hear from fellow business owners on how they've been treated by these businesses defies description. You think you have heard bad stories about contractors being flaky or bad. Ha!

So what should you do before hiring someone to get your website up and running, and hiring someone to help you get found on the web?

Make sure you understand the basics first. We have an article on how websites work on our website here.

You want to approach this project just exactly like the media, Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau and Angie's List tell your clients to approach a construction project. Look for a website designer just like you should look for a contractor.

A referral or recommendation from a friend is a great start. If you can't find a referral, ask a potential website designer for references. Don't be shy – call their references and get the straight scoop. Don't just ask if they delivered the website – ask the references if their website can be found on the web. Too many website designers are big on the "make it pretty" process, but don't bother with the details that help a website get found. Test those references by trying to find their website yourself – if the reference is a store in a given town, search for a product in that town and see if the website appears in Google.

When you've selected the company you want to work with, make sure they provide a well-written contract that specifies a start and completion date and benchmarks so that you know things are getting done. You need a payment schedule tied to the benchmarks, and make sure the payment schedule is not front end heavy. If the company has problems with that, walk away. We hear all kinds of stories about these flakes taking money and then disappearing or, just as bad, going out of business.

What happens if and when a provider has taken your deposit or maybe a progress payment or two then goes out of business? I personally think that you should file a claim in small claims court against the owner (and make sure all their personal information is part of the contract). If the amount is larger than allowed in your local small claims court, have your attorney sue the owner. These clowns get away with this because no one calls them on it. They take the money, shut the business down and then start another business with a new name. Hmmmmm, doesn't that sound like some of the construction company owners we've heard about over the years?

Get a solid contract, check references, set deadlines and walk carefully. You don't want to be the next contractor I hear from who's been taken by a shady website designer.

Comments

Great post, and a topic that drives me nuts. I would also add this: if you feel up to it, find a designer who will use a content management system that lets YOU change images and content, without having to send in changes, pay $XXX per hour, and wait. It can be done. I'm having my site professionally redesigned and it will still be run entirely through WordPress, allowing me to plug in fresh content (Google looooves fresh content) whenever I can. If you can use MS Word you can use WordPress (or HubSpot, or one of those).

A professional design and SEO plan is critical and worth hiring out, but if you can't tweak your own site, that's like having to call the Snap-On truck out to hand you a different wrench.

Happy holidays, Michael!

There is no reason to hire anybody or spend any money for a web site or web presence.
Don't make this technical or difficult.
Use any number of web hosting sites some are free like webs.com.
Some are less than $10 a month like intuit.com,and homestead.com.
If you can download a picture and type some paragraphs about your business you can make your own website.
You can also edit your site anytime you want to.
Give it a try and save your money and headaches.

Hey everyone. Just thought I would ask what you guys think of my website: www.choatebuilders.com I've gotten good feedback from customers but these are people who already know me and my work. I need objective comments, thoughts, ideas, etc. from people I do not know. So, if you have a few minutes check it out and email your comments and suggestions to me at paul@choatebuilders.com. Thank you!

I've been following your lists for years. I'd like to put Biz-comm.com on the list of the "good guys." We have served the remodeling industry for two decades. As per Dave's post, we set sites up so our guys can edit each and every page, add photos, control SEO elements.

Thanks for all that you do for the industry.

I love wordpress for contractor websites. It is very easy to update. To really drive traffic your site needs to be optimized for search engines. A good design is not enough, you need content that will help your business rank with search engines.We share lots of good ideas for content creation and strategy on our blog:

 

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