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One of the most common things I see amongst clients is there dissatisfaction with a current provider of some sort in the web space. This could be hosting, development, design, account management, and it doesn't stop their. One of the major issues I believe that facilitates this issue is that partners or vendors are "cobbled" together to take care of a single aspect of a project. As a rule of thumb I find that the clients that  achieve the most fruitful relationships and the largest amount of return on investment are those that look for a partner that can identify a single source for their needs. For instance:

All New Web Projects Need

  1. Web Design and Development
  2. Proactive Consulting
  3. Web Hosting in Accordance with Traffic and Security
  4. Continual Growth Plans and  Website Maintenance

What I Usually Hear

"We had our website developed by "XYZ Corporation" then we hosted at "Cheap Web Host. Our current firm says they can't make the changes we want based on the hosting limitations and our website just got hacked. We're just really displeased with the whole process. We're a professional organization and look terrible to the public."

The first thing you want to look towards is ACCOUNTABILITY. When you separate vendors in distinct roles you open up the channels for what's most commonly referred to as finger pointing. It's the natural instinct of many vendors to push bad situations on other people you may do business with to protect their staff and quality of product. By consolidating your relationship to a single vendor/partner you now have a single point of accountability. Productivity in this model (should) take to an all time high. A couple things to watch out for:

 

The Watch Out List

  1. A web partner may tell you they have their own hosting environment. Make sure that when they say that, they don't mean an outside partner that sits behind them. This is really the replication of the same issues. Ask if they own their own servers and have systems engineers on staff (these people are different than web designers and developers).
  2. After hours emergency support and return to service SLA's. You need to make sure they have them. If the SLA is that in an outage response time is 24 - 48 hours you may not be satisfied with that. It's a typical SLA for a $10/mo hosting package.
  3. Anybody that tells you a website is a one-time project scope and is over. Typically these individuals specialize in "brochureware" a site designed to provide little to no return on investment.
  4. Anyone tells you that security isn't a concern and they're work is made to best practices. This is true of any true web firm that delivers a professional product. But this is the most important lesson, security is a MOMENT IN TIME. What's safe today is not tomorrow as new threats and exploits continue to be produced on a DAILY basis. Whoever you build your website with should offer a package for continual security updates, patches, and support.

Selecting a web partner is a detailed decision and has the keys to your companies success online. Remember, the web is the only location in which it's a single cost to reach anyone at anytime with a consistent and powerful message. It needs to be protected and nurtured like a child to grow. I'm always interested in feedback so feel free to leave a comment and if you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out.