As a business owner, you probably don’t have time to create your own website. That means you need to hire a web designer to do the work for you. However, that doesn’t mean you need to jump in blindly. Learning about your web designer and their services will help ensure your website reaches the level of quality you require.
- How long will the project take?
The answer will vary, of course. It depends on how complex your project is, how large your site is, how quickly you can provide the assets the web designer needs, like copy, photos, logos and other graphics they might need.
Another major factor not often discussed is how quickly you can make decisions. Is the design a committee decision or does one person make decisions. If your project requires multiple decision-makers to reach consensus, your project mostly likely will take more time than one with a single decision-maker.
Some web design projects take around a month to launch, but variables can drastically increase or decrease that number.
- Do they offer training?
Specifically, ask about training for updating your site. Do they offer a Content Management System (CMS)? Many designers will leave the management of your site in your hands once it has been created. Also, ask your web designer if they will train your employees to keep your site up to date.
- What other services do they provide?
Some web designers only provide web design services, not the website optimization services to keep it on top of the search engine results pages. Some might offer logo creation services. They might provide web hosting services. They might offer training for a content management system and the skills necessary to keep your site up to date. You need to know what you want out of your designer, and you need to know if they provide it.
- What do you need to provide?
Good web design doesn’t happen in a vacuum. While your designer will need to do their own research, they will also need to ask you for information. You may need to provide content and feedback in a timely manner. You may need high quality images and logos. You may simply need to provide the funds to purchase stock images and budget funds for professional copywriting.
- How long do they spend researching your business?
You want to make sure that your designer is familiar with your business and your market. You also want to make sure they know your competition. You don’t want to end up with a site that looks just like your competitor. And, you don’t want a site that looks amateurish compared to others in your industry. Your designer needs to know what your industry standards are and what your site needs to look like to target your audience. This means they need to do their research.
- What happens if the website breaks or is hacked?
In some cases, a web designer will not provide on-going support following the site launch. You may need to contact your web host, own IT or a third party for assistance. It might be worth your time and money to hire a web designer who will continue to maintain your site if an issue crops up.
- Who owns the site?
Some web designers, in their agreement, will assert ownership of the design and programming as their own copyrighted work. You’ll want to find out before signing any agreement who will ultimately own the website and the domain names. The last thing you need is an unexpected legal dispute because you didn’t read the fine print.
- How much do they charge?
Price point can be an indicator of web designer’s skill. You should contact several web design firm to discover what your project costs will be. Look for someone confident in their skills and aware of what they are worth.
- What SEO services are included?
SEO involves continually building valuable links to your website and rich content generation. And yes, it also involves usability. Part of having a site that ranks highly is having a site that is easy to use. The foundation of solid SEO is a design that works with it from the outset.
- Will it work for mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones?
These days, an astonishingly large percentage of Internet traffic is mobile. As tablets and smartphones increase in power and decrease in price, more and more users will take to web browsing on the go. This means it is an absolute necessity that your site is usable on these devices. While adaptive or responsive web design is an ongoing debate, make sure your designer is designing for mobile.
- Do you use templates?
For many business owners, the thought of a template site is an instant reason to call it quits. You want your website to stand out as a unique example in your market. You’ll want to discover right away if your web designer is using a predesigned template or theme. Most templates and themes come with innate limitations that cannot be bypassed.
- What kind of results can I expect?
Your website is an investment. It costs money to maintain and it costs money to update. Ask your web designer if they have case studies or evidence to support their work. Talented web designers will have examples on hand of how they have helped other businesses in the past.
By asking these questions upfront, you can avoid the major pitfalls that cause many web design projects to go sour. Take extra time before moving forward with any web design project agreement, know the facts and ask the right questions. Your relationship with your web designer should last years, so be sure to take the time to do the due diligence before embarking on your new relationship.