Choosing A Web Designer – 7 Questions You Need To Ask
Picking a web designer can be a difficult decision, particularly because there are so many web designers to choose from.
It’s important to choose one that understands your needs, but most importantly one that genuinely cares. After all, you’re not just entrusting them with a design project, you are entrusting them with the image of your business.
To help you feel more confident in your choice and avoid making a costly mistake, here are seven questions we would ask a potential web designer or agency.
How much do you charge and what is included in that price?
Pretty obvious question to ask, but it’s very important that you make sure that you understand everything that is included in their quote to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Don’t worry about showing that you don’t know a fancy web design term. Ask the designer to clarify anything that reads unclear. To protect yourself, ask them to detail exactly what is included in writing.
Things to consider might be:
Does their quote include…
- bespoke design (a website built from scratch) or a template approach?
- a content management system (CMS for short). For example: Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, etc
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- changes if you don’t like the initial draft
- domain registration—follow up question, “will the domain be registered to you?”
- web hosting
- ongoing support
- text and images—ask if they can provide the creative or if you to need provide it.
If any of these are not included in their quote, find out how much they are.
Where are you based?
You don’t have to be limited to only web designers in your town, but it’s usually more useful to work with someone who is based in the same country. Different timezones could cause delays and can be frustrating if there is a problem with your site.
How long have they been in business?
This is not to say that you should write off a web designer or agency that’s new. This question meant to gauge whether you can depend on this designer to be there to support you for years to come. There are no guarantees that a web designer or agency will be around forever, but this is still an important question to ask.
In addition, you might want to look them up online to see if they are registered and in good standing with their state or country as a business or sole proprietorship.
What is the size of your agency/company?
Whether they are self-employed or not, size is not an indication of quality of work or character. I’d take a freelancer who is honest and willing to produce a website I need and want over a large agency that’s far away and delivers me a template website. Don’t let your preconceptions about agency/company size cloud your judgment.
Do you have a portfolio I can review?
Every web designer should have a portfolio of the sites they’ve created, but, keep in mind that some web designers are protective of their client’s identifies or are contractually required not to showcase the sites they design online. In that case simply ask the web designer if they can show you some examples of their work. In most cases this is not a problem.
When you are evaluating their work, ask yourself the following:
Do any of their designs appeal to me? Do the sites look professional? Do they load quickly? Are the designed responsively for mobile and tablet?
Another good idea is to ask the web designer, "Can I show you some websites I like the look of?" This is a great way to find out more about their capabilities and if they can deliver the image you want your site to portray.
How long do you estimate it would take to complete?
Before ordering a new website it’s imperative you find out if the time it takes for them to get a site launched fits with your preferred timescale.
In the web designer's response to this question, keep in mind that how long it will take for your site to go live is subject to change. This is especially true if your web designer is redesigning an existing website and they find problems you didn't previously know about your site.
Can you provide references?
Speak to some of their existing and/or past web design customers and ask them about their overall experience.
Some good questions to ask them would be:
Were you pleased with the website they delivered? Was the website completed in a timely fashion? Was the web designer helpful and easy to work with? How quickly do they respond to support questions? Would you recommend them?
One of the most important things to consider if you're really torn in who to choose as your web designer is rapport. It's important that you feel good about the person or agency you choose. Not only should you be working closely with them during the design process, but hopefully you will be working with them for years to come. Trust your instincts.
If you're looking for a fresh look for your website or for a second pair of eyes to check its performance, contact us for a free quote or assessment.