Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Web Designer

Watch out for designers who include your domain name purchase with your design package!
You need to have full ownership of your domain name. If you let your designer buy your domain name for you, they will own and control it. This needs to be avoided at all costs. Web design companies who offer to buy your domain name for you are taking advantage of your inexperience and are doing to so that they have control over you. If they go out of business or if your relationship goes bad at some point, you will lose your website and all the money you put into it.


Watch out for designers who include web site hosting with your design package!
You need to have full control over your web site hosting as well. If you let your designer host your web site for you, they will totally control it and you in the process. If they go out of business or if your relationship goes bad at some point, you will again lose your website and all the money you put into it. These types of web designers make it sound like such a great deal, but in reality they are usually screwing you over big time! By hosting with them, you will never have the freedom to go anywhere else for web services without having to start from scratch again. In addition, most companies who include hosting with your design package will offer free hosting only for a certain period of time, after which you start to pay a monthly fee that is typically much higher than what is available to you elsewhere. Just for reference, web hosting should cost $5/month or less with reputable companies like Godaddy.com or Domain.com.


Watch out for web designers who ask for unreasonable amounts of money up-front, or full payments before the site is completed.
You just can’t imagine how many clients we have spoken to who have been ripped off by web design companies who seemed totally legitimate. They got great service and a great quote initially, they ended up paying in full before the site was completed, and then they never heard from the company again! Don’t put yourself in position to get ripped off! Make sure you have a fair payment plan in place and that the designer gets paid as they reach certain milestones. Any LEGITIMATE web design company should have no problem with it.

Here’s the kind of payment plans we recommend:

  • Small projects (under $500): 40% up-front / 60% on completion
  • Medium projects ($500 – $2000): 25% up-front / 25% at half way point / 50% on completion
  • Large projects (Over $2000) 20% up-front / 30% at half way point / 20% at the 75 percent completion point / 30% on completion.
  • We also recommend you ask for a discount if the site is not completed on time (example: 10% discount for every week it is overdue.)

Watch out for designers who say they will custom program your entire website.
This is usually just a way for them to drive up the costs. However, if the functionality you want on your website is very unique, you may not be able to avoid this. Having someone custom program your site could leave you in a serious pinch if they ever go out of business and you need to bring in another programmer to fix things. Although the programming language may be the same, not all programmers program the same, so bringing a new person in may be way more costly than you expect. In cases like these, we always recommend you get 2 or 3 other quotes. Some designers may have much more cost effective alternatives and still be able to provide you with what you need.


Watch out for web designers who do not make it clear what is included in your package and what will cost extra.
Make sure everything is clearly written out for you in your quote. Many sketchy web design companies will not mention extra charges until the end when your site is completed and you have no choice to pay them if you want your website. We also recommend you find out how much they charge for maintenance in case you need to make changes to your site that are beyond your capabilities.


Watch out for web designers who want payments for free services like getting listed on Google, Yahoo or Bing.
These are very simple and free tasks you can easily do on your own. Simply do a search “how to get my website listed on google” and many articles will pop up with explanations.

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