With any purchase, you need to know exactly what you're going to get for your money to avoid surprises later on. A website is no different.

Many people think that all websites are the same, which they are not. You should always think carefully about what you will want the site to do. Lacking that vision at the start is the main cause of extra charges and great frustration.

It isn't until the site is being built and the owner mentions, for example, that they want a mobile version, or they want to run an email list, or a blog, or need an events calendar, that they find that item wasn't included in their price, and will cost more.

This is even more important if the designer is selling you something they downloaded for free, like WordPress or Joomla, as adding the extra features you want may not even be possible.

The easiest way to decide the list of features is to look at websites of companies similar to yours. Look at each page and make note of things you like and would also require, such as forms, videos, testimonials, news, etc.

Lacking that vision
at the start is the main
cause of extra charges,
and great frustration.

If you have prepared a list in advance, you can be sure that everything is available and included in the price you are given.

If you cannot think of a list, pay close attention as the designer demonstrates things from their other clients' sites. If they show something that you would want for your site, ask them if it is included, or just say, "I will want that too."

Another thing to ask about is your role in the process. Find out if you are required to provide text and photos.

You should also get a list of any 'after-care' services the designer offers, and if they are included in the price you are given.

The most common of these items are ongoing programming updates, especially for security and compatibility with newer devices.

Also, if you want to be found on the search engines, find out what services they provide, and, very importantly, ask to see examples of their clients' search results.

You can also research those yourself by looking at their client list. If you see what the client does, such as a dentist, and where they are located, such as Chesapeake, then search for 'dentists in Chesapeake' on Google and see if they show up.

The more preparation you do in advance, the more time and money you can save later on.

If you have concerns about your web presence reaching your widest customer base, now is the perfect time to look into our WebUpdate system sites, which take advantage of advanced SEO, social, and responsive features to give your business the best competitive edge online.

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