Some of these are valuable tips -- however, if you are dealing with a reputable web design company you don`t really need to worry about it.
Of course the domain should be yours or in your name. The only reason that a web company would not give or transfer your domain name would be because you haven`t paid out your bill. It would be a simple matter for a judge to rule it in your favor - as the web design company could not reasonably explain why they would be in possession of a web domain targeted at your business.
However, there are a few more tips that would be wiser, and would probably ensure that you don`t run into these kind of problems.
- Look at a web designer`s portfolio. See some of the work they`ve done. Look for a designer that creates sites similar to the kind of site you are looking to have created.
- As for contacts (or go to the portfolio sites) and request feedback from their previous clients. Find out if they the designer was easy to deal with, thorough, and available after the sale.
- Don`t expect more than you`re buying. Just because you think you`ve spent a lot - remember to keep things in perspective. Many customers think that websites should cost a few hundred dollars. A good design, properly coded, should cost thousands. You are investing in a permanent (or more permanent) form of advertising. Make sure it is done properly. Ask your designer about what language they will be using and why, how compatible it will be with older browsers and if it is web standards complaint. With so many people saying they are web designers, ensure you protect your investment by spending the right amount of money on the right quality of work.
- Expect a thorough brief/proposal. If a designer brings you a single page proposal they probably haven`t thought it all through. Expect more.
These are just a couple of pre-buy tips that will help to ensure that you find a quality team of designers.
Oh, and expect to pay more than $5/month for web hosting. If you want to have hosting on the cheap - you`ll have to do it on your own. But expect what you pay for. Spend a bit extra. Especially with your web host (and try to get it through your designer). If there`s a problem, you don`t want them to be sluggish about getting it fixed. Rarely is hosting done in house - and at $5/month you shouldn`t expect any support. (Imagine you selling your product or service at $5 a month -- how much support could you afford to give with it?)
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