Website Design and Maintenance: Do you know who handles it?
Since I started my business (in 1999!), there has been an increasing number of “white label” agencies offering website design and maintenance services and SEO. And even more since 2020, after the start of the pandemic.
Before I dive in, you may wonder what a “white label” agency is. There are companies around the world that offer a range of web services to other companies. For example, ABC company offers website design. If they partner with a “white label” agency, the agency does the website design work. They get paid by ABC company, and ABC company provides the website design to their customers. It will be under their brand and at a higher price than what they paid the agency.
Using a “white label” agency can be helpful to a company because they’re outsourcing some or all the work. Although the company using the white label agency usually doesn’t disclose that they do this. Yet, this might not be the best option for you because when a white-label agency does the work, there are often different people – with varying skills and expertise – working on your website. It’s a different experience than working with a company that employs people part-time and/or remotely. Even if you’re okay with this practice, knowing that before you start working with the company is best.
While some small businesses don’t outsource to white-label agencies, they resell services from a large company. The result for you is that the person you’re working with is a project manager while employees of the large company are doing the work. This is commonly done with website maintenance and SEO services. Sometimes, this is done with custom web design, too. This isn’t ideal if it’s important to you to work directly with the person doing the work on your website.
Another variation is a business that offers set-priced packages. They appear to be a small local business, and you can buy from their website. But they’re reselling services from a large company. One sign that points to this is if they offer 24/7 support. Another place to look is on the checkout screen, which will have a different phone number than the website (one reseller service I’ve seen has a phone number with a 480 area code.)
In these examples, I’ve seen companies that present themselves as based in a big city. The ones in big cities often state they have customers worldwide. I’ve also seen companies focusing on being local to a specific region and presenting themselves as small businesses.
Businesses should be transparent about who does the work. If you believe that too and would like to know if they outsource or resell services, ask them if they do so.
I’ve talked with many people who figured out their contact person is a project manager. Or *gasp* their contact person stopped responding and seemed to disappear completely.
They were disappointed because they thought they would work directly with the website designer. Or they wanted a local business for their web design, maintenance, and search engine optimization.
Here are a few questions and tips to help you learn more about a company before you work with them.
Does the website include information about the actual people in the business?
Does the About page include vague text?: “We are a one-stop web services company.” Or “Our team of designers, developers, and project managers partner with you.”
Do all the photos of people working in an office, meeting room, or coffee house look like stock photos?
Look up the business address on Google Maps. It will help you see if the address exists. You’ll also see if there are any Google reviews and what is said about them in any negative reviews.
Ask these questions if all looks good and you’re considering working with them. They’ll help you determine whether the person or business has the skills and follows best practices for web design, maintenance, and SEO.
Does this have you wondering who will be (or already is!) working on your website? If you’re ready for the peace of mind that comes with knowing who’s working on your website, contact Debbie today! Or see more about WordPress website packages, maintenance plans, and search engine optimization.