Before starting your website development, consider preparing a list of questions for your web designer. You can then make sure you have covered all issues that may arise, and you know exactly what you are getting, how long it will take, and what the web designer needs from you.
A large part of the client-designer teamwork depends on how well you “click” with each other. The key to a great collaboration is open, clear communication. When you have a series of questions to ask your web designer, you immediately get the full picture of what needs to be done and what this person or agency is capable of accomplishing.
You can start by asking the following questions and assess how well your prospective web designer will work with you.
1. Have You Worked with Similar Projects in My Industry?
This is one of the first questions most clients ask. They want to know whether you have experience in their industry. Some industries can be particular: for instance, a vet may need a website with software that keeps records of pet health, shots, surgeries, and any other important medical information.
If your web designer has already worked with a vet before, they will have a better understanding of your needs and a platform they can use to avoid developing one from scratch. This saves time, money, and effort and helps your project unfold smoothly.
Some businesses don’t require any specific technology, so previous experience in the industry may be unimportant. Even so, it is always good to ask because it can give you peace of mind and the certainty that this person understands how your industry functions.
2. How Long Will It Take to Finish the Website?
That’s another common question we get asked—and with good reason.
As a rule of thumb, it takes 2 to 4 months to complete a website. If a web designer tells you they need more than 6 months, you may want to check with someone else. Likewise, a web designer who tells you they can have it ready in a week may be overestimating their speed or underestimating your project.
In any case, carefully assess the situation and make sure your marketing strategy has taken into account the deadline set by your web designer. Always allow a bit of extra time for any unexpected issues that may arise.
3. Can I See Your Portfolio of Past Projects?
Your web designer has worked on dozens—even hundreds—of projects. Ask them about their portfolio and check out their previous projects. While a good designer can match most styles, each designer has their own sense of style and color choice. Ideally, you will want to work with a designer whose style matches yours.
4. Will You Sign a Contract?
A contract makes your collaboration official. It clarifies in writing what is expected of you and what the web designer is promising to give you in return. The contract should include all the features of the websites as well as define who owns what.
Platforms like WordPress are open source and don’t require licensing. Certain plugins, though, are not free. Additionally, if your web designer has developed their own Content Management System (CMS) or any plugins and proprietary code, they may ask you to pay a fee for its use. The contract will clarify ownership for all assets, including the website design and content such as photos, logos, etc.
If a web designer refuses to sign a contract, you should probably look somewhere else. It is in both parties’ best interest to sign a contract.
5. Meet the Team
Media agencies like InSync Media have in-house departments and trusted subcontractors that contribute to a full-package website design. You will find designers, developers, content writers, programmers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts, and social media experts. They will handle your project from the start and include all the necessary marketing strategies to help it bring in revenue for your business.
You may want to meet the team so that you get a better idea of the people working on your project and know who is responsible for what.
6. Do You Design a Custom Website or Do You Use Templates?
A custom website requires more work than a template that has been customized to fit your business and line of work. Accordingly, custom websites designed from scratch are more expensive.
A good web design team will be able to customize a template in a unique yet budget-friendly way. If you want a particular web design that can only be achieved with a custom website, discuss it with your web designer to see if they provide such a service.
7. Will You Provide Content, Logos, Photos, and Other Necessary Material?
A website is a combination of many components: the layout, colors, and style of the website form the frame into which content such as text, photos, and logos will be displayed.
When you are looking for a web designer, ask them what’s included in their package. How many stock photos do you get? Are you expected to provide the photos for them? Will they do a logo design? Who will write the content?
You may have plenty of photos for your business, but if these are low-resolution or are outdated and lack modern appeal, you may consider taking new ones with a professional photographer. Ask your web designer whether they work with any photographers.
As for content, Google prioritizes quality content. Agencies like InSync Media have experts who specialize in SEO copywriting to handle just this. Do you have SEO-friendly content, or do you need your web designer to write up new copy?
A media agency will be able to cover all your web-related needs. Clarify from the beginning who will be providing what for the website.
8. How Many Revisions Can I Make?
Sometimes, you may not like the first design approach. Can you revise the designs you are given? How many times can you amend them?
Web designers will often give you 2 or 3 revisions. After that, you can have as many as you want at an extra cost, which is usually calculated on an hourly basis. Therefore, it is good to know beforehand how many free revisions you get.
9. How Much Input Do You Need?
Make sure you know how much is expected of you. Team names and photos? Company history? Product descriptions? Returns policy?
Your web designer needs your input. You know your business better than anyone. Talk with your designer and ask what they need from you. Once you have a clear idea of what’s required, you can estimate the time you need to deliver the required information, thus ensuring the smooth development of your project.
10. Will You Show Me Your Work Progress?
You may want to check how your website is going from time to time. Ask your web designer for regular meetings—even on Zoom—to see how the design is going and where the process is heading. It will give you a sense of progress and let you catch any problems early. It is much easier to change something halfway down the project than after everything has been delivered.
11. Will You Integrate Social Media into Your Design?
Nowadays, a website is only part of any business’ marketing strategy, with social media being another indispensable part of it. Social media let you build an audience on several platforms and interact with people on an everyday basis.
A media agency can help you optimize your marketing by combining your website with social media and other marketing activities such as SEO and paid Ads. This creates a multipronged yet uniquely focused single strategy.
At the very least, if you insist on working with a web designer rather than an agency, ensure that they can integrate social media into your design. Social media buttons are a great way to seamlessly connect your company business with your social media accounts.
If you wish to maximize the benefits and connect with your audience in a more consistent way, you should also add a blog to your website. This will give you space to present and discuss industry news, company ideas, and anything that relates to your business. From an SEO point of view, a blog may well be the single most important part of your website.
12. Which Content Manager System (CMS) Do You Use?
Content Manager Systems (CMS) are the platforms used to manage a website’s content. Your CMS helps you upload content, change photos, change prices if you have an e-commerce website, upload blog posts, etc.
There are many types of CMS. Most web designers use open-source ones like WordPress, which come with plenty of apps and plug-ins. These let you include reviews and questionnaires to your website, run competitions, etc.
Ask your prospective web designer what type of CMS they plan on using. An open-source one doesn’t require a fee or subscription and grants you free access to the platform. A custom-made CMS usually comes with a fee and is more expensive.
13. Will My Website Be SEO-Ready?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is related to the way search engines “see” your website. The content, titles, and metadata (descriptions, photos tags, etc.) are clues that search engines use to index your website and understand what it’s all about. When a user asks a question that your website can answer, the search engine will display your site on its results page as a possible destination.
SEO is crucial for your website to show up on search pages. Everything on your website, from the content and the metadata to the way it’s programmed, should be SEO-friendly to help it rank better on search engines.
14. Will My Website Be Mobile-Friendly?
As of May 2022, 52.79% of the total web visits are mobile, compared to 47.21% coming from desktops . With more people now using mobiles than desktops, search engines have moved from mobile-friendly to mobile-first. Your website should be viewable and user-friendly from mobiles, otherwise people will bypass it for the next one.
Ask your designer about responsive design—i.e. how the content is displayed differently on various screen sizes and devices. Focus on how it will look on mobiles, how navigation will be optimized, and how photos will download fast even on slower mobile connections.
15. Will My Website Be Secure?
According to AAG , a hacker attack takes place every 39 seconds. These can target everyone, from federal organizations to the smallest of businesses.
Your website should be secured against cyber-attacks and phishing attempts, especially if you collect personal data and financial information. Your business could face lawsuits if your website is breached and sensitive information is stolen.
Be diligent and ask your web designer about the security precautions they will take when developing your site. Make sure all possible security vulnerabilities are carefully predicted and protected.
16. Who Will Maintain the Website after Delivery?
A website can’t be static: just like your business evolves, so should your website.
Talk with your web designer and ask them about maintenance. What if something breaks down? What if you want to include one more page? Plus, you need regular updates to your plugins, theme, and platform to keep your website secure and protected against cyber-attacks.
A professional web designer will have contracts and packages for website maintenance, depending on your needs and your budget.
Make sure all your efforts, time, and money do not go to waste and that your website is maintained properly and frequently.
17. What Marketing Strategies Do You Include in Your Design?
Even the best website is useless without the right marketing strategy to promote it.
Marketing strategies include call-to-action buttons on specific pages and landing pages. Landing pages help Ads lead customers directly to the product, service, or page that’s advertised instead of searching the whole site. Competitions, reviews, testimonials, and other website features can further upgrade your user experience and help your marketing strategies reach their full potential.
There are many marketing strategies that can be integrated into a website, depending on your business, goals, and overall marketing plan. Your website should be prepared to incorporate such strategies to help you achieve your sales targets.
Don’t Hesitate: Just Ask
Other questions may well arise once you start working on your website development. Don’t hesitate to ask all the questions you want: after all, a website is an investment that has to serve its purpose.
InSync Media is an experienced media agency that can handle all your web design needs and more, thanks to its great expertise in web design and development, brand development, SEO and SEO copywriting, and marketing.
Call us now at 970-901-5216 or contact InSync Media online to arrange your free exploratory meeting. Ask us all the questions you may have and get your company the website it deserves!