10 Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a Web Developer
Having and retaining a business is a great feat. Taking your business online is an even greater accomplishment that warrants much success—if done the right way. While it may seem easy to garner views, clicks, and conversions, there are many technical aspects required to ensure online success, just as there are disastrous red flags to watch out for. The following are the most common issues we see at our agency that can have long-lasting damage to the online reputation and success of a business.
1. Holding Your Domain Hostage
It happens every day; business owners lose control of their websites. Why does this happen, one may ask? It’s actually because many business owners tend to trust their web developer. While this may sound like a harmless habit, it isn’t simply a matter of trust that keeps business owners in control, it’s a matter of platform and process. It all starts when business owners fail to ask hosting and marketing service providers the right questions. Questions such as:
- Can I access my website?
- Can I access cPanel?
- Do I own the design, code, and content?
- Do I have a backup service running, and access to my backups?
- Is the domain registered to my business and in my name?
- Do I have access to my analytical data?
Let’s get to the point: if you need openness and honesty from your marketing provider, you are putting too much faith in trusting someone and not protecting yourself enough. When all of the listed points above are addressed prior to hiring a web firm, you can rest easy knowing your website is yours—forever! However, we must stress: marketing service providers aren’t the only threat to watch out for.
In addition to being aware of your marketing service provider, business owners also need to consider how employees—and those you provide access to your website and domain—may harm you. It’s much more than simply not renewing it and putting a backorder in place, or failing to register the domain under your business. Hiring a web partner is a very important decision. You should make sure that anyone handling your online presence is open, honest, and cares about your business. These are important qualities to confirm before moving forward with anyone.
Here at Rise Local, we often receive inquiries from potential clients who come from experiences that have been… less than satisfying, to say the least. Therefore, we see a lot of issues related to web development and SEO that give the industry a very negative light.
2. Picking a Poor Web Host
For most hosting providers, website hosting is a commodity. While there are those focused on distributing resources for profit and hosting as a business investment, there are also those who focus on hosting as a marketing and performance solution.
A bad web host can:
- Negatively impact your search rankings
- Drain your money, hard work, and other resources
- Ultimately affect your online authority in the long run
Unfortunately, most people believe that when it comes to hosting, the big names are the ones they should go with. If you end up just sticking your WordPress site with a bloated theme on a $7-a-month GoDaddy hosting account, watch the load speed creep up to over 6, even 10 seconds. The fact is, you lose customers—and conversions—after a 3-second load speed. That’s why Rise Local always aims to get websites loading in under 1 second. Here are 7 reasons why business owners need a good web host, and what you should look for when considering a hosting provider:
- Speed, speed, speed. Anything over 1 second is detrimental for marketing your website.
- Security. Prevention of brute force attacks, malware, and site injections.
- Backups. They need to be as frequent as you edit content and update the website versions.
- When you need changes, you need a host that can set up new environments, help with version control, and even help publish content correctly.
- PCI compliance for E-commerce
- Localized hosting. This means your site loads faster, because the version of the site being rendered is close to the user.
- SSL certificates. Since 2014, Google and other search engines have been invested in user privacy—and it is an SEO factor.
Most web host farms are now owned by just a handful of large corporations. What often happens is they purchase a host’s assets, and reduce performance to save costs. Large host data centers consume maintenance and electrical resources—resources that are very costly. What other considerations should you make when looking for a hosting provider? Below are the following:
- Multi-site deployment
- What types of sites they host
- Apache vs Nginx
- SSH/Shell access
- Can they handle other aspects of marketing?
We’ve come to realize that finding a hosting provider that not only manages WordPress sites specifically for performance, but also helps you with other aspects of your digital marketing is few and far between. At Rise Local, it’s what we do best.
3. Not Bothering to Set Up Domain Emails
Is your business still using gmail, yahoo, or another public email service to communicate with customers? If so, you’re not presenting your business in a professional or organized manner. Like we said earlier, a good web host helps you with other aspects of digital marketing; and setting up your business’s domain email is one of them. Domain emails help your business create an email identity when it comes to communicating with your customers, suppliers, etc. Additionally, consumers generally like to see that a business has their own domain email. It instills confidence, as well as conveys the fact that your business invested the time to set up their domain email exclusively for their customers.
As well as leaving a professional impression for your customers and potential customers, it helps your business’s memorability and delivery. With distribution lists and not having to worry about storage limitations, your business’s domain email leaves a lasting impression on customers and gives you control as the business owner. Also, not having ads is always a great benefit for your business.
4. Picking Horrible Themes and Plugins
Choosing the right WordPress theme and plugins are crucial for the success of your business. Updating WordPress plugins ensures your website’s loading speed remains low (at 1 second), and fights against malware. Speaking of malware, it’s actually one of the main reasons why WordPress constantly provides security updates and bug fixes. Many times, your website code can be vulnerable and susceptible to damaging malware—which negatively impacts your business. A good web host constantly updates your website’s plugins and themes to maximize your online presence and customer friendliness.
5. Blowing Off Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) is a free, fantastic service offered by Google to help you check your website’s visibility and indexing status in Google’s search results. Within Google Search Console, there are a number of helpful tools that help you stay on top of your website’s health—and help Google to index and list your site properly.
When a bad web host blows off Google Analytics and Google Search Console, they’re blowing off your potential customers and your business’s success. Keeping track of your business website’s ranking, health, and visibility ensures you stay on top of your website—and Google’s search results.
6. Not Bothering to Purchase the Licenses Needed to Keep Your Code Up to Date
A bad web host overlooks proper licensing. When choosing a provider for your business, it’s important to ensure that computer software is properly licensed and ready to go. There are many repercussions when choosing a web host provider that doesn’t bother to purchase licenses necessary to keep your code up to date. An example of this is potential deactivation; most software licenses are single-user, so if more than one person is detected using the same software, any software licenses may be revoked or your account deactivated.
To save your website from any licensing nightmares, it’s extremely important to choose a trustworthy web host. Rise Local is a credible, reliable digital marketing and web hosting company that can save you and your business from encountering any disastrous problems.
7. Making You Responsible for Loading Content
Unfortunately, poor web hosting providers make you responsible for loading content to your website. Without the technical know-how and SEO knowledge, business owners may end up lost in the rankings or struggling to keep up. A good web host pays attention to detail and makes your business layouts—as well as your content—look appealing while maintaining technical SEO standard. Rise Local gathers and organizes your existing content and creates striking new content for your website, using state-of-the-art media equipment to truly magnify your business to potential customers.
8. Expecting You To Keep WordPress Backed Up and Current
A bad web host will expect you, the business owner, to keep WordPress backed up and current. This not only wastes money (since good web hosts can do this for you), but your time and energy. At Rise Local, we understand that your time, energy, and money are crucial to your business. That’s why we take on the technical work and make sure WordPress is always backed up and current, so you can focus on your business while we make your web presence shine.
9. Not Setting Up SSL
SSL is the backbone of internet security, and it protects your sensitive information as it travels across computer networks. SSL is essential for protecting your website, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information such as credit cards. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for not only your website, but your personal information. A bad web host doesn’t bother setting up SSL, putting your website—and your information—at risk.
At Rise Local, we always set up SSL for our clients, ensuring encrypted information is always secure and providing authentication. With us, you can rest easy knowing that your information is being sent to the right server—and not an imposter trying to steal your information.
10. Not Optimizing Your DNS
One of the reasons you need control of your domain is so that you can quickly deploy DNS edits to your site as you grow your business and needs. Your domain registrar and DNS provider control the entries and settings for your domain—which have a big impact on your SEO.
Think of DNS as a phonebook. Information from all the domain name servers across the Internet are gathered together and housed at the central registry. Host companies and internet service providers interact with the central registry on a regular schedule to get updated DNS information. DNS needs to not slow your load speed, and DNS also needs to propagate the web quickly.
Choose Rise Local
Rise Local has the platform, services, and support needed to magnify your online presence and make your business grow. When you choose us, you choose fast loading speeds, updated plugins, striking content, optimized DNS, and the right software licensing. To find out more about how we can help your business take off, call our Dallas office today to schedule a visit.