3 important questions to ask your web design agency

Over the years, we’ve seen a few recurring issues crop up when we’ve begun working with new clients. Some of these can be explained away as innocent gaffes, while others can cause real problems for marketing your hotel online, and directly impact your sales.

Fortunately, there’s never a bad time to check in with your website design agency.

We’ve listed three of the most important questions to ask your agency, along with a handy scoring system to see how safe your online presence is.

Where’s your domain at?

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It’s probably fairly low down on your list, but knowing where your domain is registered, and by whom, is going to be a question that pops up sooner or later.

Akin to the title deeds to your house, it’s vital that your domain name is registered under your business, and best that it’s accessed via its own domain name login.

Often, a web agency will purchase a domain name on behalf of a client, with access to that domain name being held in a combined account with their other clients. At the time of setting up, it’s not a massive issue – your website goes live and no further questions are asked.

But, if you ever want to move web agencies, you’re banking on a third party company granting access to your domain name. And in a worst case, you might find that you don’t own the rights to the domain you’ve been steadily marketing.

Points:

+ 150
Domain is registered under your business name, with its own control panel login

- 50,000
Domain is registered under your web agency’s business, with no control panel access

Google Analytics tracking

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If you’ve got a website, then you’re most likely hoping that it’s performing a marketing function for your business.

A basic level of Google Analytics reporting can be set up relatively quickly, which will allow you to tracking activity such as the pages people are viewing, and where they’re coming from.

However, if you’d like to get a bit more insight about your website’s marketing performance, then you’ll want to ensure that your website is tracking in-depth actions on your site. For example, if customers can buy online, it’s great to know the sale value coming through the website and connect these sales to marketing channels.

As with the domain name set up, we’ve seen many cases of the agency rolling up a client’s Google Analytics account with their other clients. Sometimes, this can lead to the agency having problems sharing access to your data, limiting the use of the data being collected. If your agency has done this, ask them to split your account into an independent log in.

Points:

+ 10
Basic Google Analytics tracking in place

+ 400
In-depth event tracking and ecommerce reporting

- 780
No Google Analytics tracking

- 550
Google Analytics account not in an independent login

A useable content management system (CMS)

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When a new website is being developed, the conversation focus is usually on how it looks and works. However, what you’re going to do with the website after it's launched, and how you’re going to do it, are important questions to ask before the design chats even begin.

There are very few website builds where a CMS won’t be possible. It’s more than likely that your current website has a CMS, but if your website agency hasn’t provided training, or an ongoing support service hasn’t been agreed, you may find you’re left with a website which can’t be easily updated to meet ongoing marketing needs.

Worse still, if your site has been built on the likes of Wordpress, and no one is updating the various plugins on a regular basis, your site will become open to hackers and bugs – which could render your website unusable, and potentially cause it to get flagged by Google with a nasty ‘This site may be hacked’ badge.

Points:

+ 500
Easy to use CMS where new pages and layouts can be created quickly

- 20
A CMS, but one that’s not being maintained

- 300
No CMS, just hardcoded web pages floating around the internet

How’s your website set up looking?

The results:

Over 500
Relax, all is good in the web world

Around 0
Worth asking the web agency some questions

Below 3000
Time to run away, or start making some big changes

Big Flavour Marketing