Finding a Reliable Webmaster and/or Web Designer
Individuals and business owners can find it quite frustrating when it comes to choosing a reliable website designer, webmaster, or web service company. For whatever reason, many have had a bad experience with certain developers or companies. Part of the problem is the lack of knowledge those hiring a web service provider have when it comes to evaluating a developer or company. When you do find the right web service provider, however, it can be quite rewarding in terms of their responsiveness and customer service.
I often find it very intriguing when a new client comes to us in the middle of a specific project. In these instances, the client has been through a handful of webmasters or web designers and, for whatever reason, they have not worked out. Simply from anecdotal experience, clients come to us because their current “web guy” is not returning calls, giving vague completion dates, or other unusual business behavior. I can’t speak for other industries, but this problem at times seems absolutely chronic in the web design or website maintenance industry.
Why is it so hard at times to find a reliable and responsive web designer or webmaster? There are a couple of reasons which may, inadequately, explain the situation. First, the nature of web development is geared towards a more youthful demographic. Not to demean my entire generation, but a young and inexperienced designer or webmaster just doesn’t have the business communication skills that naturally comes with industry and real-world experience. In this situation, it’s absolutely vital that you ensure that the designer, webmaster, or web services company you choose has (1) experience and (2) a customer-first approach that ensures constant and transparent communication.
Another cause of frustration for many site owners with their website providers is the fact that they selected a non-registered business to handle their services. This comes in many varieties: “My nephew is quite good with the computer” or “A friend of a friend has done websites”. In these cases, there is absolutely no legal responsibility on the developer to honor their word and complete a project on-time or within budget. Additionally, many times these individuals just lack the professional expertise to complete certain projects. When in doubt, it’s always best to go with a reliable website designer, webmaster, or website company which provides transparent terms and a fairly rigid project schedule. You may have to pay more upfront but, in my experience, it will often save you from having to start all over.
But what differentiates website design or website maintenance companies from one another? Again from anecdotal experience, the companies that are most likely to drop the ball with your website are those which either (1) have a large client base with your site low on the totem pole or (2) companies with owners who do not have a strong foundation in web development. Not to pigeon-hole, but these type of companies place their emphasis on sales and not on the customer relationship and very little goes into consulting with actual developers regarding the best approach and/or what’s even possible.
Finding a reliable web designer, webmaster, or other web service provider can be quite frustrating. Ask for references and the potential provider’s technical experience. Make sure they are a registered business and offer terms and conditions that hold both parties responsible. And above all else, use your judgment when it comes to evaluating a company’s customer service because that should be the most important element to your website project.
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