7 Tips for Outsourcing a Website Developer

Website management companies in tough economies have been known to close up shop, disappearing with clients’ files, and leaving businesses with no way to manage their websites.  These tips will help you avoid the same problems.7 tips for outsourcing website design

7 Tips for Outsourcing a Website Developer:

  1. First, determine that the company is American-based.  The vast of the majority of major IT companies have outsourced off shore…to Europe, the Philippians, or India. Besides supporting American companies, you will reduce verbal communication problems and cultural differences (extended holiday periods, work ethics and other cultural influences you might be unaware of).  Naturally, some outsourcing companies are very good, and this is not intended as a blanket statement for all.  However, you can see how different standards can lead to frustration and conflict.

I am a small company based in Colorado, USA and understand the challenges associated with poor communication. I always strive keep clients informed on their website design status.

  1. Check the experience and/or education level of the personnel.  Look for qualified technical personnel (this means personnel with degrees and industry experience).  Ask a real embarrassing question, “What is your employee turnover rate?”  There is an extremely high turnover rate in the IT world – with large companies sometimes in the 300% range. High turnover leads to a high level of inexperienced, non-dedicated personnel filling the void.

I am a solo small business owner. I am very resourceful at solving problems and providing the best possible service.  When necessary, I have  a team available that can help resolve any problems.

  1. Where are you hosting the website? Check the website’s Shared Hosting complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Shared hosting isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, most websites don’t drive enough traffic to warrant dedicated servers, so yours will likely have share hosting.  But you want to check the guaranteed network up time, and the security features if you have an online store or collect other sensitive data, etc.

I  do not provide hosting services for websites.  I have had experience with multiple hosting companies over the years, and am more than happy to recommend companies for you to consider.

  1. Get client referrals and talk to them. Also, look at testimonials…and see if they are credible. Compare BBB complaints to testimonials.  Do the numbers match up?  For example, how could a company with over 250 complaints in the Better Business Bureau, have glowing testimonials?

My portfolio is my testimonial.  Any of these people can be contacted through their respective contact pages.  I will never let a single complaint to the BBB go unresolved.

  1. As far as the design itself, make sure you are getting a site that is designed around SEO principals…meaning it is designed using CSS, and is compatible with current versions of all the major browsers: IE, Chrome, FireFox and Safari.

I know the importance of these design principles, and adhere to them on all sites I design.

  1.  Ask how flexible the process is as far as introducing changes. No one ever gets into a design without thinking of something to add. Some design companies only allow one or two “design updates” before charging for changes.

I want you to be happy with your website and will do my best to accommodate design changes.  I am confident that any extra services I provide will come back to me in other ways, sometimes tangible, sometimes not.

  1. Ask if they have a ‘closed’ system of communication where you have to log into their system to check your website’s progress? Some companies do, making it very difficult to keep up with messages requiring your action.  Some companies have been known to give you less than 24 hours to approve the final website before it is published. If you miss that deadline, the site is published and the account is considered closed.  Any design changes would cost extra.

I do not use a closed communication system.  All websites I develop are built on my own development URL and clients have open and full access to that web address so that they can view and monitor progress, approve edits, and when ready, approve the actual ‘Go Live’ publishing of the website .  I communicate through DropBox, email and phone.  

Click the banner below to learn more about my web design services.

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Why Should I Use WordPress for My Website?

If you’re new to the world of owning a website, you might be asking the question, “What is WordPress?”.

Quite simply, WordPress is just an awesome way to have great looking, simple, professional, website without paying many thousands of dollars as was common just a few short years ago.  Over the years, WordPress has become an increasingly popular choice for a multitude of businesses from traditional “brick and mortar” business to 100% e-commerce businesses, to the average blogger.  In fact, I love WordPress so much, I built my website using it!website design

Dynamic Content Management

From a more technical viewpoint, WordPress is a “Content Management System” or CMS which has many advantages over other website platforms.   Since its introduction in 2003, the core code for WordPress has been constantly improving, thanks to the innovative development idea called “Open Source Platform”.

Open Source coding basically means that all the complex code, or inner workings of the platform, in this case WordPress, are completely open and available to the public.  However, merely looking at the WordPress code is only the basis for the real advantage of Open Source Platforms.

Today and everyday, there are people all over the world who are constantly adding to, and improving current version of WordPress.  In short, WordPress is a dynamic work in progress which is always changing and improving with each new update.

Because of this standard of excellence, today, WordPress websites make up almost 20% of all new websites being published, and for good reason.

Simple to Use

One of the main advantages of a WordPress platform for your website is that it gives the average person with little to no coding experience the ability to add content to their websites.  This is a great feature for the blogger or anyone who posts frequent content to their website and doesn’t want to pay someone every time they need an update.

I always tell folks, if you can use a word processor, you can update your website!  All of my website packages include time spent with you teaching you how to update a page or blog post at your site.

Search Engine Friendly

If ranking in search engines is important for you and your website, WordPress is a big plus for you.  WordPress is very “Search Engine Friendly” out of the box, but there are additional options which will help enhance your visibility to search engines like Google and Yahoo.

Flexible Features

Flexibility is a key feature that all WordPress websites have.   Whether you need website forms, display of audio/video, links to your social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, or a plethora of other options, WordPress is a great choice.  Functionality can be added to suit your individual needs.

For all of these reasons and more, I love building websites in WordPress and can’t recommend it highly enough.  If you think a WordPress website is the right choice for you, I offer some suggested packages and/or consultation to learn what I can do to suit your needs.

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Why Do I Need Back-Ups of My Website?

Do you have the piece of mind when you go to bed tonight that your website will  still be up and running tomorrow morning when you wake up? Many folks have learned a hard lesson from the consequences of not having an active backup plan for their website.  It can cost thousands of dollars and/or many hours of time if your site goes down and you do not have your site backed up.

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What Exactly is a Website Backup? 

For those new to the world of owning a website, the simple answer is that a website back up contains all the code, images, information and files needed for internet browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari to read, and then display as a webpage.

A website can have many files and all of them need to be just so in order for everything to work properly.  Additionally, all WordPress websites also contain databases which contain all the information in your pages and posts.  Database backup is an important and often overlooked part of an overall WordPress website back up plan.

Myths About Website Backups

There are many reasons people do not having their sites backed up.  Below are four common myths about website backups –

MYTH 1 –  My hosting company keeps backups of all their websites so I don’t need to attend to that.

Contrary to what many think, your web hosting company IS NOT responsible for the files that make up your site.   While it is true website hosting companies do take steps to protect their customers, they can and do make mistakes and many businesses and bloggers can be affected if something goes wrong with their servers.

Ultimately, backing up your website is YOUR responsibility.

MYTH 2 – I backed my website up when it was first built and have it stored on my hard drive.  That should be good enough.

Having an old backup is better than no back up at all.  However, as time passes, your WordPress website is also going to change and update.  Most times, an old backup can be used as a starting point for restoring a website, but will usually involve a lot of extra work.

It can also mean that you must re-post a significant amount of pages or posts, depending on how much your site was changed since the original backup.

As a further layer of backup protection, I also recommend you keep your backup files on more than one source, for example, on your hard drive and on a thumb drive or other storage device.

MYTH 3 –  My webmaster has a backup copy of my website so I don’t need one.

Don’t assume your web designer will keep your website files after the site is turned over to you.  Some web designers will keep copies of your website in the event they ever need to work on your site again.

My policy to keep a file on my machine with all the files I used to build the website.  However, with WordPress, having backups of your website files is only half of the backup process. All of the information that makes up the actual content of your site can be found in the website database, which is the other half of your backup process. 

It is important to make sure you have backups of your website files AND your WordPress database.  Unless your webmaster makes a special effort to get the database, he or she won’t have that important part of your website.  Your database is also a dynamic, living thing.  It will change as you add pages, posts, and other information.

Frequent and current backups of your website database are essential to the content and should not be neglected.

MYTH 4-  My website won’t get hacked.

An unfortunate reality of the internet is also the presence of malware and computer viruses designed to infect your computer and the computers of those who visit your website.  Even if you have tight security on your site, hackers can still find ways in.  Backups won’t stop this from happening but can help to quickly restore your site should it get attacked.

An active back up plan is essential for everyone who owns and maintains a website.  Having a current and active backup plan is an insurance policy on your website and will give you piece of mind knowing that you are prepared should something go wrong.

There are many resources on the internet which will help you back up your website.  However, if you would like to leave all the worries to me, I would be happy to serve you.  Click on the banner below to see what I offer in my WordPress Website Maintenance Plan, which includes thorough and secure backups of your website on our cloud based servers.

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