A recent post on one of the message boards I frequent really bothered me, and I wanted to pass along this tip for those of you who are considering having a website designed for your company.
The designer/programmer or company that you hire to create your website will create a set of files that will be placed on your hosting control panel when the site is up and live. These files may be written in html, php or some other language, but they are the files that make what you see on your computer screen your site.
The woman on the message board had hired a company to design her site and asked this company to remain on after the site went live to make changes necessary to the site’s functioning. For instance, maybe she wants to update some content or products each month but she’s not tech savvy so she hires a designer to maintain the site. Oftentimes clients will hire the original designer, particularly if they build a strong relationship during the design aspect.
This woman was told by the company after the site design that she was going to be unable to access these files on her own to make changes.
Whether or not she knows what she is doing, she should always have control of any file that was created for her company that she paid for, and this is the lesson I’m passing on to you.
When you are hiring a graphic or web designer to create something for your business, be it a flyer, brochure, web design or logo, make sure that upon completion of that product you get a working file to take with you. You never know what might happen: the company may go under, the designer may get married and have kids and stop working for a while or you may simply lose touch with the person who created your pieces.
If you do not have a working file for these products you will never be able to make changes to them. So while you may love your logo now, take it from me: In a few years, if you are like me, you may want to make a slight change (I think I redesign my website every six months!)
The flyer may be great for the services you offer now, but down the road you may need to change a price or a product or service. Without a working file (or the file that was created in the original program the designer used-for instance, Photoshop CS3 if it is a graphic perhaps), then you’ll never be able to make a change.
This woman paid her website designer to create a site for her business. She deserves to have access to everything, whether she knows what it is or not!
Always make sure you have working files as well as access to anything that is placed on your site.
Unfortunately I’ve heard of a lot of strange things happening when it comes to website design, hosting and other marketing materials, so I’m going to spend some time posting about these in an effort to tell you what to AVOID when you are spending money to grow your company.