When you are searching for someone to help you create or redesign a website for your company, the process of finding a reliable web designer can soon become confusing. Designers may talk about design technologies that you know nothing about and present complicated proposals with multiple options for your site. So it’s important to ask the right questions during your selection process, because who you pick to work with and build your website for you determines not only the end product but how much you enjoy the process. By asking the following questions you will become more prepared in making the right decision for your business.
1. What experience do you have with building quality websites? Can you provide a list of past projects?
One of the most important questions to ask any web designer is if they have a body of work for you to look at. This will never be an issue as any web designer love nothing more than sharing the fruits of their labour. Of course, the more experience they have the bigger the portfolio.
2. Do i need to do any preparation work ahead of time before you start my website?
This should be part of one of the discovery calls your web designer will hold with you, but it’s important to know straight away what exactly they want from you in terms of content, images, passwords etc. Talk with your web designer and get a list of exactly what they will need to get started. Also be aware if you are relying on your web designer to create or source imagery for your site, its essential that you are aware of this as it can greatly affect cost and timelines.
3. What kind of research will you do on our business?
Good web design requires research of your business and industry to successfully strategize, design and market your business.
Work with a client who understands your ideal client. Your customers, prospects and partners are the life of your business. Even though most designers can design a website for any business, ask if they specialize in or have lots of information about a particular industry.
4. Do you offer services other than web design?
Ideally look for a web designer that does more than just build a pretty page. Basic knowledge of SEO and marketing means they can build high-performing websites that will generate the leads your business needs.
5. How long will it take to complete my website?
This of course depends on a lot of different factors, size of the website, custom graphics, scale of the marketing to mention a few. Also, you must allow for delays, but your web designer should be able to give you an accurate timeline with they’re proposal
6. Under what circumstances will you be hiring subcontractors for this project?
This is a question that really has no right or wrong answer. Your web designer may offer all the services you require but may outsource certain ones such as specialized coding or logo design. This isn’t a problem, but you need to know if this will affect timescales and the price of your project.
7. What is the payment schedule like? Will it be included in a written contract?
There are quite a few different ways payment can be handled for web design projects. Some designers bill hourly. Some require a percentage of the project fee as a deposit, another percentage halfway through and the remainder upon final delivery. In addition to knowing the cost of your project, it’s also important to be prepared for specific payment terms and details.
You must always ask for a written contract for your project and make sure that all the payment details are in it. This is to protect you and the Web designer.
8. Will i be able to review and approve the work as the project progresses?
The answer to this question should always be “as many as it takes”. Any decent web designers should not limit the number of revisions, charge you for more than a set number of revisions to your website design in the initial stages, or tell you that something can’t be revised. As the customer, you must be happy with the final product, after all.
9. What is your Design Process?
Ask your web designer if they have a documented design process or use project management software. If they do, it’s a strong sign they have solid experience and will lead you through the entire web design and development process from start to finish.
Find a designer who will keep you on task, on budget, and launched by your scheduled date.
10. Are your web designs mobile friendly?
This question should actually be at no.1. It’s the most important aspect of any web design project. The statistics of people who will see your site on mobile only is quite staggering so it’s vital that your site is optimised for tablet and mobile as well as a desktop version.
If your web designer does not offer mobile friendly designs, then stop right there and find a different one.
11. Which CMS do you use?
A CMS (content management system) is what’s used to create and organize content on your website unless you are getting a website coded from scratch. It’s important to know what CMS your designer is using to develop your website especially if you will be adding content and maintaining your own website post-launch.
Will the CMS support growth and e-commerce? Can you make updates on your own? Do you have all the functionality your business needs and will need in the future?
12. Do you follow SEO best practices when building the site?
Another very important aspect of any web design project, SEO (search engine optimization) should be included from the beginning of your site development. SEO strategies like image optimization, alt tagging, mobile-friendliness and keyword research help your site rank higher on google.
Ask if your web designer builds in SEO from the onset of the project to ensure your website is built with the framework you need to be found online.
13. What kind of testing do you perform prior to launch of a new website?
Testing is a critical process that should be completed prior to launching your new website. It’s absolutely essential for your website to function smoothly on various browsers and devices, so your web designer should conduct cross browser testing on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox Safari and Edge, as well as cross-platform testing on the latest versions of iOS and Android for tablets and smartphones. It’s also important that your web designer follows a checklist of internal quality assurance measures to ensure that all bases are covered before launch.
14. How will you handle hosting, Security and Maintenance?
While this is not necessarily the first thing you may think about to ask a web designer, hosting, security and maintenance are critical factors in your websites performance and success. Many businesses will choose to have web designer host their website to avoid having to manage the process internally. While this is often recommended, it’s important for your business to understand what kind of hosting environment your designer is providing and what security hardening measures (Website Application Firewall) are being put in place to prevent intrusions. It’s also important to understand how CMS updates will be handled and whether or not nightly, incremental, full-site backups are being performed.
15. What happens after my project is finished? Will i just be left to look it all on my own?
This is a very important question to consider for when your project is completed. If you want to take over the running and maintenance of your website then you need to ask if there is any training provided in the price such as one to one training, group workshops or custom training videos.
Or if you prefer to simply send edits and updates and not do it yourself, ask your web designer if they offer a post-launch support/maintenance package for long-term support.
We hope you feel more prepared and have a better understanding about what questions you need to ask your potential web designer before starting a project?
Asking questions is a good way to get to know someone. It’s always a great way to catch someone unprepared and watch their reaction to something they couldn’t anticipate.