Web development companies differ at all levels in terms of cost, skill, and customer service. Prior to hiring any web design company, there are some questions you should ask to ensure you’re getting the best return for the money and time your are spending. We’ve posed the questions with our answers below them.
Q: What makes Design Spike unique among the hundreds of other web development companies out there?
A. It’s simple. We have the best web development team in the Inland Northwest, and we combine design and functionality with custom web tools that allow you to manage your website the way you want to, when you want to. Our design and programming team is proficient in the latest web-based technologies, and each team member can explain what it is they do in terms that everyone can understand. If you have questions about programming, content management systems, online forms, or any other part of website development, ask us – we’ll answer your questions professionally, thoroughly, and in terms that make sense. More importantly, you don’t have to be a website specialist: our team can turn your needs into a fantastic website by the information your provide to us.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Design Spike was incorporated in January 2003, and we opened our doors on March 17, 2003. Laura Bracken has been designing websites since 1995; Will Hall has been developing and programming data-based driven sites since 2004; Brandon Perdue has been working with Flash and coding since 2005.
Q: Where can I see examples of your work?
A: Start with our portfolio. This page lists many of the websites we have developed for clients from a variety of industries.
Q: Do you provide web hosting?
A: Yes. For $25 per month, we will host your website, allow unlimited data transfer, unlimited email addresses, provide website traffic analysis software, and run anti-spam filters on your email. Our hosting services are billed in 6-month increments prior to the start of the period.
Q: Once my website is finished, who owns the images, content, and code contained in my website?
A: You do. Design Spike is providing a service to you; we do not ask for royalties or ownership of any portion of your site. If you wish to transfer the site to another host, we will provide you with both the design and programming code on a disk. Other companies may refuse to make this same guarantee.
Q: Will my website work in every web browser?
A: Yes. When Design Spikes develops your website, we use WC3-compliant practices to ensure your site will look the same across web browsers. As a standard, we test our sites on Internet Explorer 6 and 7 (Windows), Firefox 2.0 and 3.0 (Windows, Firefox Mac), Safari (Windows and Mac), and Opera (Windows).
Q: Will my website be visible in Google and other search engines?
A: Yes. Design Spike uses basic search engine optimization techniques other companies may leave out to ensure your website will be visible in Google such as appropriate page titles, titles in links and images, and more. We also offer enhanced SEO services which can be added as part of your design and development package – ask us!
Q: Will I be able to update my website easily?
A: Design Spike can build a custom content management system (CMS) to your specifications. This CMS is a web-based tool enabling you to easily manage the content on your website. We will not use a generic CMS unless you specifically request one, but build a CMS to your requirements and needs, whether you have an e-commerce website or an information-only website.
Q: Will my website work with any hosting provider I choose? What platforms do you use for developing my website?
Q: After my website is done, do you provide technical support for it?
A: Yes. For a period of 90 days after your site is posted to the Internet, Design Spike will fix any issues arising from code or layouts causing the site to function incorrectly. Note that this 90 day period is for bug fixes only, not additional site development or coding.
After the 90 day period has expired, Design Spike has many options for website maintenance and development tailored to fit your budget and needs. Let us know what you’re looking for!
Q: Where are your developers and programmers located?
A: Our entire team is located on-site in downtown Spokane, Washington, meaning you’ll always be able to get in touch with us by phone, email, or by just stopping by if you’re in the area.
Q: Will you outsource any work?
A: Generally, no. However, if any aspect of your website requires technology outside of our area of expertise, such as coding using ASP, .NET, or otherwise, we may outsource the work to one of our partners. Any guarantees made by Design Spike will of course be honored and processed by us.
Since we share an office with a company that develops websites primarily using Microsoft technologies, our outsourcing generally does not have to go too far – typically only across the room.
Q: What other services do you offer?
A: Graphic design, Flash media services, search engine optimization (SEO), PR Mailer (proprietary email campaign software), web hosting, blog integration, on-site photography, data conversion services, destination tax integration, complete e-commerce systems, online shipping integration, custom search functions, and more.
Q: Why are your prices so low/high?
A: When considering the cost of a website, it is easiest to use a metaphor for the price. Consider the following three stores: Goodwill, Target, and Nordstrom’s. The different price ranges for a website can be likened to these three stores:
Goodwill – The least expensive website. Not quite free, but inexpensive. Doesn’t come with a guarantee, and any work the site needs down the line will probably be done by you. This type of site can be great if you have the time, skill and energy to manage it, but can make running your business difficult if you don’t. Prices generally range from $750-$1500 for this type of site. Design Spike generally does not create websites in this category.
Target - An economical website that will likely have some manageable features built into it, but the site will not have been customized. The design (or “front end”) will look great, but, at best, it will have limited functionality (or none at all). Once the site has been completed, you may or may not retain the rights to everything on your website. Prices range from $2000-$4000. Examples include D.E.P.D.S. Law and OMS Architecture.
Nordstrom’s - The highest functioning and the best-looking websites would fall into this category. In general, Nordstrom’s-type sites have custom front- and back-ends that allow you to add, edit or delete images, content, products, etc. based on your specific needs. You’ll have complete ownership of the site along with excellent technical support. Prices usually begin at $5000 for a site like this. Examples include The Make-up Studio, Lemon Dingo, Northwest Christian Schools, and Hagood Real Estate.
The majority of Design Spike’s sites fall into the ‘Nordstrom’s’ category by default, though our prices may sometimes be in the ‘Target’ range.