What to expect when you change web designer

March 2, 2020     /

Recently, we’ve been working with some new clients who all have one thing in common – they have come to us to take over from their existing web designer.  They have decided to change for a variety of reasons – they were recommended to work with TPG, their other web designer is on the missing list, or they needed a fresh look at what they want or need.

What happens when you start working with a new web designer?

So, what happens when you start working with TPG Design?  Well, if you already have a website that was maintained/developed by another company, we suggest allocating a bit of time towards us getting to know your site or, in other words “having a look under the hood”.  This is really important. We can’t recommend/work with you on new ideas, plugins, layouts or functionality if we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes first. In fact, it would be foolhardy – like not checking where your electric cables are before putting a nail in your wall. 

First off, we always take a back up.  Why? We never work on the live site in the first instance; if your theme/template needs updating, it may clash with an older plugin and the site could break. Therefore, working on a back up or test site means we can do all the checking in a “non-live” environment.

Top items we check when starting with a new client:

    1. Is the CMS up to date?
      If it’s old, then there are some security risks as the site may well have easy loop holes for those with malicious intentions.

    2. Are there plugins that are no longer supported/become obsolete?
      Some older plugins may have been abandoned by their developer and are no longer supported. As above, this is important for site security and to check that, if they can be updated, they don’t clash with other plugins.
    3. Is there any security on the site?
      There are some great security plugins for websites that come in either free or premium versions and are a vital tool to help keep your website safe.

    4. Is the site https://?
      This was introduced in a couple of years ago and follows on in the safety theme. If your website doesn’t have a padlock in the search bar next to the URL, it’s probably not https. The s stands for secure and is another layer of security, but this time through your hosting.

    5. Where is the site hosted?
      On to hosting…  Is the site on an up to date server with all the mod-cons? From experience, there are a couple of very popular hosting companies that are restrictive in terms of what you can and can’t do, leading to problems down the line.

    6. Search results – what do they look like?
      Recently we’ve come across a site that had a load of junk test pages from when the site was originally designed.  These test pages were blocking their “real” search results and not giving a very professional feel to their search engine rankings.

    7. Site speed – is it being held back?
      A combination of all of the above.  If there are unused plugins on the site, out of date themes, server tech or junk pages hanging around, all these could affect the speed of the site. Site speed plays an important part in both user experience and search engine ranking.

    8. Responsiveness – does it work?
      Last but not least, if the site was built some time ago, it may not be up to modern responsive guidelines. It could also be that the site owner has done some of their own additions to the site and not had the knowledge/skills to make sure it’s fully responsive.  

There is quite a lot to look at under the hood and it’s worth doing properly.  

If you’re looking to change web designers and want to work with a small team who value all their clients and do a thorough job, let’s talk!

Email: tpg@tpg-design.com

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