The 15 Questions To Ask Your Web Designer
These are the 15 questions to ask your web designer before you hire them.
Hiring a web designer to create a website for your business or company is a big decision and can be very challenging. Making the price the key aspect in your decision is very often a huge and very costly mistake. There is no point in paying the minimum amount possible for your website if it does not do what you need.
Your website is the shop front of your business and the first encounter a potential client will make with you, if you give a bad impression or the customer leaves the website, that is a lost lead. This can become very expensive for your business. Make sure that your website is doing exactly what it should.
When you speak to potential web designers or web design agencies you should be able to ask them as many questions as possible and receive clear answers that you understand.
You need to make sure that you ask the right questions of your prospective web designer so that you can make the best decision possible when you agree to move forward with your web design project.
Asking the following 15 questions of any web designer you are considering for your project will give you a good feel for their abilities and whether they will be a good match for you and your business.
Print this document out so that you can ask the questions and make notes when you are speaking to your potential web designer.
You can download the questionnaire at the bottom of this page.
The 15 Questions To Ask
Do you have specific experience in my industry creating similar websites?
Depending on your industry it is sometimes better to seek out a website designer or agency that has specific skills when dealing with certain types of websites. Although this should not hold you back from dealing with a web designer who has worked across several industries, sometimes, a business is too specific and needs that extra bit of skill and knowledge, dependant on exactly what you require.
For example, a car dealership may need a corporate or ecommerce website for their business to let customers know where they are, however, if they want a website that allows their vehicles to be instantly added to dozens of car sales websites when they upload the information then a specialist in this field may be more beneficial.
What areas of my website will be completed in house or will work be outsourced?
A lot of businesses now outsource some of the work involved in website creation, although there is nothing wrong with this if the contractor being used is reputable, it is something that you, as the client should know and be aware of.
The other issue is that the web designer you are using is now going to have time constraints as aspects of the work go back and forward between the designer and the contractor. You need to make sure that this time is factored into your website design timeline.
What is the web design process you follow for a project?
Any website that is created should follow a step by step process from the start of the project to completion. As the client you should be aware of the process and what the web designer requires of you.
If a designer does not ask you any questions about your business, styles and what you want to achieve with your website then do not use them.
A good web designer will want to know what it is that you wish to accomplish with your website. This also stops any problems later when it gets to the time to check the website for initial amendments.
Is it a custom website or created from a theme?
If you need something very specific then you may need a fully custom website that has been designed and created completely from scratch, however, most business websites can now be created from pre-built themes.
This ultimately saves time and reduces the cost of the website build.
Your website designer should let you know this in advance during your initial consultations, whether in person or over the phone.
Will the website work on all devices?
This is an essential question to ask because Google ranks websites higher that are mobile responsive because they give the end user a far better experience.
If a web developer offers a website that works on a laptop or desktop computer, but you need a separate website for mobile and tablets then I would recommend not to use them.
Over 70 % of searches are now conducted on mobile phones and if your website is not responsive, your potential clients will go to a website that is.
What Content Management System (CMS) do you use?
A lot of websites are now built on platforms like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, each company and designer will have its own preference for what they use.
When you are speaking to your designer, ask them what they use. They are all good systems but WordPress is the most popular and widely used on the internet.
The reason you need to know is because, when the website is complete you will be the person who will have to access the dashboard and complete work on the website itself.
You can always ask for a demonstration of the CMS dashboard to give you an idea of how simple or complex it is to use.
How long will the project take from start to completion?
Creating a website is a complex task, especially when the considerations of the business owner needs to be considered. As the client you should be aware of key milestones within the web design project so that you know everything is progressing as it should do.
A major delay point when creating a website is content creation. This must be unique and created separately for every website. If the client is providing the content, this can be a major sticking point and delay.
If you are providing the content, you should have this prepared for the web designer, however, if the web designer is providing the content you need to make sure you proofread it fully.
What responsibilities will I have?
As the client, you should be involved in the project from start to finish, you may be required to provide images, content, service information in order to get the project completed.
Your web designer should let you know all of this in advance, some designers will provide the content and images for you but some other may not. Make sure you know what you will be expected to provide before starting a project.
Will my website be optimised for search engines?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is constantly changing and is something that needs to be integrated into every website. You need to make sure that basic on-page SEO will be completed for your website.
Some web designers may charge extra for this because it can be very time consuming, however, others may include basic on-page SEO as standard.
There are other SEO aspects like website speed that are vital, if you have a slow website you will lose customers, website speed is dependent on several factors such as hosting, caching and image optimisation to name a few. Make sure to speak to your designer so that the website is as fast as possible.
Do you test the website before it goes live?
Testing a website is a critical process that must be completed prior to your website going live. It must work on all devices, all internal and external website links need to work. Does it work on all browsers, like Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Does it work on Android and IOS.
You should be confident that when your website is launched everything will work as it should do. If there is a problem from something unexpected, what is the process for dealing with it?
What about hosting, security and maintenance?
As the client, will you be providing the hosting or is this part of the service. Hosting providers can affect the speed and security of a website.
You need to know if an SSL certificate will be installed to encrypt the website and protect it, also, what is the cost for this.
Will the website have regular backups completed in case it suffers a crash and must be restored.
When will the plugins be updated and maintenance be completed for the website? Will this be the responsibility of the client or the web designer?
Is the hosting, security and maintenance part of an ongoing paid package or does the client become solely responsible for the website after completion.
Can you complete the work within our budget?
You need to know and fully understand before you commence having a website created the cost of the project.
Will it be paid by the hour, completion at certain stages or a one cost for the entire project? Will you be able to add elements at an extra charge or is it all included in the project budget?
Also, what will the cost be for hosting, security and maintenance, is this included or a separate charge.
You will also need to know when payments are due, how much is the deposit and when will the remainder be cleared.
If you need amendments to the website later how much will this cost, is it part of an ongoing maintenance charge?
What is included (or not included) in the price?
Every agency or web designer that you deal with, will have a different pricing structure dependant on what you require for your project and needs.
You need to know at the start of the project exactly what you will be receiving for your payment, also, will there be any additional costs involved in your website being live on the internet, such as hosting and SSL certificates?
If something falls outside of the initial price during the development stage, how will this be dealt with?
Be sure to make sure at the outset of the project, exactly what your costs will be and what you will be getting.
What additional services can you provide?
Every business is unique and has different needs, you need to know if your web designer can provide marketing services that complement your website or if you will be required to outsource these elements to another web design agency.
Will the web designer just be providing the web design and that is it? Or can they provide ongoing support with regards to copywriting, blogs, social media services, video services and other essential digital marketing services.
If they do not, how easy is it for new people to access the website to update and add these new elements of the business?
If the website has been built as a custom design, will it only be the web designer who can make changes to it? If so, how much will each addition or change cost?
Make sure that this is clear, otherwise, the cost of your website as it develops can become very expensive just because you wish to make changes to it?
Can you provide references?
When you talk to a potential web designer ask to see previous work that they have completed. Ask for the website links so you can have a look at something that is already live and on the internet. A lot of web designers and agencies will have a portfolio online where you can view previous work.
Ask lots of questions, above are just 15 key ones that you should ask as a minimum.
When you speak to your web designer make sure that you get a good feeling from them, everything is clear in your mind about what you will be receiving during the project and exactly what the cost will be for the project to be completed.
If you are speaking with an honest and competent web designer or agency, they will happily answer all your questions, if you feel they are being evasive or are not knowledgeable about web design then do not deal with them.
If you think of any other questions you feel should be added to this list, please leave them in the comments below and I will add them to the article.