Questions to ask your Web Designer

If you’re looking into hiring a web designer or developer to create a site for your small business, you should find this article beneficial. We will go over the many frequently asked questions that have come across to us and answer them for you.

It’s very important to ask the potential web designer the right questions during the selection process because who you pick to work with and build your new website will determine both the end product and how much you enjoy the process.

You should communicate often and use Skype, or chat on the phone, even meet up in-person to keep your project on target and ready for success.

Are they familiar with your business industry or niche?  

Most web designers can build a website for any type of business. The more important question is, are they familiar with your industry or niche?

Ask them if they are familiar with your industry or have they done sites within your niche? If they have not, ask them how they will research the business to provide a cohesive and correct representation to your audience.

If you can provide them resources or information, then they will be able to research and give you exactly what you need.

How long will it take to get the design project done?

Most web designers break the design process into phases:

Initial concept development

This is the process of design layout and development of the website. It involves the creation of ideas that can be used to develop pages, products and services for your site. Concept development includes all phases from idea generation through design and testing.

Wireframes and/or mockups

A way to visualize the site design. Designers vary in their approach to using wireframes and/or mockups. Some web designers use them and some do not.

Website Production

This refers to the process of creating your website. It includes all aspects that are required for making your website live, including design and development as well as testing and deployment.

Depending on the requirements and complexity of your website this can include creation of an from scratch or by modifying existing themes and code. This may include programming in HTML/XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, etc.

What is their experience in designing websites?

As with any tradesperson, there are different levels of skills and skill sets. Coders aren’t necessarily talented designers and good web designers are not always coders.

A website often requires a combination of skills that your designer may or may not have. That should not be a red flag as long as they are able to communicate how they would solve problems they are not familiar with.

Whatever designer you choose at a minimum they should be able to create a custom design from scratch or by tweaking a template or theme and of course that design must be a responsive design to show well across different devices.

Will the site be mobile friendly?

Mobile-friendly web designs also known as responsive designs are those that can be viewed and navigated on a smartphone or tablet. They’re designed to look good, work well, and load quickly in the most popular browsers. Mobile-first websites have become increasingly important for businesses as more people access their sites from smartphones and tablets rather than desktops. The best way to ensure your website looks great on all devices is to ensure that your web designer is designing it with responsive web design principles in mind.

Do they use pre-made templates or themes?

Pre-built or pre-made templates/themes are basically ready made websites that you can be used to build out a site quickly. They usually come with all content and design elements already included, so it’s much easier to put the site up and begin making changes.

Many designers use templates and themes. This should not be an issue as long as the designer is capable of taking the existing layout and customize it so that it is not the same as other websites. It is far more efficient, cheaper, and quicker.

Do they build search engine optimization into the website?

At the very least your designer should understand on-page search engine optimization.

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website to make it more visible in a web search, using search engines like Google, Bing, or Duck Duck Go.

This includes things like making sure that all pages are well optimized for keywords, using relevant titles and meta descriptions on each page, etc.

Off-page SEO refers to other ways you can optimize your site outside of what’s directly related to content creation. This includes things like:

  • Link building – getting links from high-quality sites that are relevant and trustworthy for the type of page you have in mind.
  • Social media marketing - using social networks such as Facebook or Twitter to drive traffic back to your website.
  • Content Marketing - creating articles with specific keywords in mind and submitting them to article directories so they will

On-page SEO should be part of the development process while off-page search engine optimization is an additional cost.

Do they use a content management system?

A Content Management System is an application, like WordPress that allows you to create, edit and publish web pages. They can use it for creating websites or blogs as well as other types of online media such as wikis, forums, etc. The CMS also provides the ability to manage multiple sites from one central location. This makes it easier than ever before to update your site(s).

The vast majority of websites created today use some type of CMS (content management system). Not every site needs the features of a CMS but in our opinion it is the best option for future growth and expansion.

Can they provide examples of websites they have designed?

Many designers post photos or links to websites they have designed. We do not. 

Web designers should be able to show you what types of sites they have done in the past but we believe that it is important to find out what you are looking for before pointing you to the designs we have created. This way we can show you those that most closely match (if possible) the type of site you need.

When looking at sites the designer has created also check out the performance of the site. Is it easy to navigate, does it load quickly, does the design match the style of the business.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Why were things on that site done the way they were? You might think an example site looks too simple only to find out that is exactly what the client wanted.

Do they offer services other than web design?

Often web designers will offer additional services that you may need. This can include things such as logo design, copywriting, content writing, video, social media and even search engine optimization.

Unless you are working with a company that has several employees or a digital marketing agency, it is rare to find a designer that can do it all and do it all well.

In the case of freelancers, they generally outsource the skills that are not within their wheelhouse.

When looking at what we offer you will see there are only 3 things:

Can they design a website that fits my budget?

The answer to that is always maybe, maybe not. Clients often have a lot of ideas of what they would like to see on their website but not everything is actually required and every additional feature takes time and perhaps coding, plugins, or other necessary options to make it work. 

Generally, it is better to start out with what you need and then expand as business requires. The more features you desire initially, the greater the cost will be.

Look and see how we price websites.

Ask when they can get started

It’s rare to meet with a client that doesn’t want their site done ASAP.

Many of the best designers or agencies have a wait list and are not always able to start immediately. You should always begin looking in advance and be prepared to wait longer that you might expect.

Ask about website maintenance or support after the design is complete

Website support and maintenance are two different things. You can hire a web designer to build your website, but you also need someone who will be there when it needs fixing or updating. 

Ask what they need from you before starting

It would be advisable to ask this before the project starts so that there are no delays later on. Depending on the business and requirements of the site you may need more than what is listed below but they will provide you a minimum amount of information your designer will need to get started.

  1. Company Information
    • Business name, address, phone, fax, email, days/hours of operation, and services
  2. Logo (high resolution or vector)
  3. Goals for the site
  4. Target market
  5. Images and content
  6. Design style and colors

If you are unable to provide all the above, ask your designer for help as they most likely have many contacts that can provide what you are missing.

What is their process for feedback & design revisions?

As your site is being built, there will almost always be feedback and revisions. It is good to know how you and your designer will communicate and make those changes efficiently and correctly.

Ask your designer what their process is for sharing drafts, seeking your feedback, and incorporating the changes into the design. This will help ensure a smooth workflow for you and the designer.

Revisions can be a lengthy process for the designer, depending on the client. Some web designers limit the number of revisions and some will charge an hourly rate if the revisions are extensive and require more time than was allotted for the job.

It’s a good idea to ask for an estimated time they spend on revisions so you can stay within your budget.

Ask what pages they include

Every website is different and not every website requires all the same pages.

Below is a list of the essential pages that every website does need. They should include these in the cost of your website.

  • Homepage
    • Front page of your website introducing your company to visitors.
  • About page
    • This will include information on who you are, why people should visit your site, how long it has been running, any awards or recognition you have won, testimonials from satisfied customers, links to other sites where they can find out more about you.
  • Contact page
    • Your Contact Details including email address, telephone number, fax number if applicable.
  • Privacy policy
    • Privacy policy pages inform users about the data collected on their websites as well as how they may use it. Even if your website does not collect any user information, there are some third-party tools on it that can still set cookies.\

Ask about payment terms?

A deposit is usually the starting point of any web design job, with final payment due upon project completion

If a site is extremely large or complex, there may also be incremental payments required at a certain stage in the site’s development.

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Colorado Springs, CO 80911

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