Are you looking to hire a web designer to help with your small business website?
If the answer is yes, then you've come to the right place.
We've put together a list of the best questions to ask a website designer before you hire them, so you can get the best results for your business needs.
Quick tips before the list: Remember price is not the only factor, you want to make sure you have a connection to your web designer and that they understand you. Miscommunication can happen at the best of times, ensure the language your designer speaks is the same as the language your website content will be written in. With the internet spanning the globe another consideration is the timezone your website designer will be in, unless you are a night owl or morning bird this can have a big impact on the timeliness of turn around times.
And most importantly, meet your web designer before you begin. This may be in person, or in person over Zoom or the like - it's good to put a face and voice to the name and emails you are sending back and forward to ensure your project success.
Here's 14 questions to ask before you hire a web designer
How many websites have you built?
Experience is important, you want your website to be a masterpiece not a practice run. Ask:
How many years and how many websites have you built?
What examples do you have?
May I speak to your clients?
Previous results are the best what to predict your future results. Make sure you don’t just take a web developer for their word. Ask to see examples of their work. Ask to speak to their current and former clients. A good designer will be happy to supply you with this information.
What platform will the website be built on?
There are many types of website platforms – the foundation on which your website is built. Rocketspark, Shopify, Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly are just a few. Each platform has different features and depending on your business needs may influence what your website is built on. Ask what platform the designer uses and why.
What research do you do before starting a website design?
Web designers worth their weight in gold are the ones who learn about your business and ask questions like: What are your goals? Who is your target audience? What’s your unique brand identity?
These questions (and more) are essential in building a successful website that represents your business accurately. Ask how the designer gets to know your business and brand.
What services are provided?
Different website designers offer different services. You need to ask what is covered to ensure you get the package that needs your needs. Ask:
How far do you go with design?
Does design include custom graphics?
Do you outsource copywriting?
Do I need to supply my own images?
Do you have access to a photographer?
Do you offer e-commerce websites?
Make a list of the services you need and go through each one with your potential designer.
Do you offer content marketing / advertising?
Don't think that your shiny new website will be guaranteed to generate leads, convert visitors, or increase ROI. Content marketing has many benefits, including optimisation of all content, improving visitor engagement, and creating quality content that ranks in search engines. If you already have a content marketing strategy for your business, then you don’t have to pay attention to this. Otherwise, ask if they provide content marketing.
How do you incorporate SEO into the website?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to actions that help your website appear in search engines, like Google, when key terms are searched. Gone are the days when a website was built and then found, good SEO begins at the design phase and sets the foundation for future visibility and website conversions. Ask what SEO is incorporated into the website design and build.
How long does it take to develop the website?
If you have a deadline for your website’s completion you need a designer who can work in this timeframe. Ask what their schedule and availability is to ensure it aligns with your needs.
If the scope of work changes or major edits are required throughout the process it can stretch out the timeline too. Ask what the terms and conditions are for project delays.
Good website design and development takes time, and there are many elements to the process, not to mention any specific requirements you may have. Ask what the process and the timeline is is as it’s so important to understand this.
How much involvement will I have?
Think about how much you’d like to be involved and how it aligns with the website designer’s process. Do you want a say in the major decisions being made, or do you want to leave it up to your designer? The important part of this question is ensuring your wants are met. If you are expecting to provide approval and make changes along the way, make sure that is clearly agreed upon upfront. Ask how much involvement do I have.
Can I edit the website myself?
As your business evolves you will want to update your website to align with the evolution. Some websites are built with complex coding, others use drag and drop technology, others use edit as you go. Ask:
How easy it is to update your website content, images and other features?
Do you offer any training in how to use the new website.
Alternatively, ask what the cost is for the website designer to make updates on your behalf.
What is the end-to-end expected cost?
Websites are an investment but their development should not be an endless money pit. We certainly don’t advocate finding the cheapest, as that usually costs more in the end. Ask for an outline of setup costs and ongoing costs such as hosting and domain names upfront.
Do you outsource or complete in-house?
Some website designers outsource to a third party, which can result in project delays, poor communication and extra costs. Before working with a designer, ask whether they will complete specific projects in house or if they work with third-party developers. If you’re interested in working with a web designer who outsources aspects of their work, research their partners and ask what parts of the project they will handle.
What assets do I need to provide?
Assets may include your company logo files, fonts, colors and brand guide documents, if you have these get them ready to provide. When you meet with a web designer to review their process, determine who is responsible for delivering content (copy), photos and graphics for the website. Some designers will create or provide these website elements, but you will see this work reflected in your bill. Ask what the cost is for these elements if you do not have existing that you can supply.
How many design revisions do I have?
Many web developers and design agencies allow a set number of revisions in the approval process to limit project creep. Before signing an agreement ask how many changes you’re allowed to make, or if there are any additional costs for further revisions.
Do you charge by milestone, hourly or a fixed fee?
Knowing how and when you will be charged is important as fees and additional payments quickly turn a reasonably priced project into an over-the-top, expensive website. If you work with someone who charges by the hour, you will have more flexibility on what you want the end result to be, but this can result in going over your budget. Working with a web designer who charges a fixed price can help you stay on budget and ensure a fast turnaround. Charging by milestone is a happy medium between hourly and fixed fees as you can be a little more flexible with the scope of the project, but keep an eye on your budget.
Going through the process of a new website is an exciting, but often stressful process. Your website designer will be key to whether the building of your new website is a nightmare or a dream. Asking the right questions is worthwhile as this time upfront helps ensure you have a quality website at the end.
Looking to build a new website? OMG Solutions would love to partner with you. We’ll even start by answering these questions for you.
We’ve been working with clients on their marketing for over 20 years and building websites for over 10. We’re a Gold Rocketspark Design partner and have built over 100 websites. We know what it takes to build a digital presence that is a strong foundation for your business online. Give us a call on 021 066 3930, or fill out our contact form here.