When you are embarking on the journey of web design, it is really important to spend time finding the right company that is the right fit for you. Before long, the process of trying to find a reliable, creative and knowledgeable web designer can get confusing very quickly.
You may find designers talking about design technology, flow, methodology, multiple options of your website design, huge proposals that contain loads of complicated information and everything else in-between when all you really want is to cut through all the complicated stuff and get a great website that is easy for you and your customers to use and most of all, a website that will bring you new business and sales.
Because we are all too aware of the difficulties our clients have faced in the past before coming to us, we thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of questions that you can ask the web designer or agency that you are considering working with to create your new website.
The questions can help you to better understand whether or not the designer will be able to meet your goals and work with your vision; what’s more, the questions will help you to decide if you are getting more than just a good price – this is an important factor to take into account, as it’s better to pay more upfront for a website you will love rather than budgeting lower for a website that is a bit hit and miss, as it will end up costing far more in the long-run with multiple adjustments and fixes further down the line. The costs really will add up.
Why ask questions?
It is important to get to know your web designer and a bit about them and their personality as well as understanding their abilities and if they are suitable for your project, after all, personality clashes from the outset will only end in tears. Make sure you have all your questions ready before going into the meeting, so spend time a do your homework and make sure that all the questions you have are relevant to you and your project. It will also help give you some clarity and understanding in certain areas you aren’t so sure of.
It also presents the perfect opportunity for the web designer to explain things to you, how they do things and their approach to your project, helping you to fully grasp the task in hand and what lies ahead. A good web designer or agency will happily sit with you for as long as needed to answer all your questions and queries and not leave you guessing or scratching your head out of confusion.
Knowing that your web designer not only has the right personality, creative ability and knowledge to carry out your project to match your vision, but also the willingness to sit with you for as long as necessary to answer all your questions and put your mind put at ease is probably the agency/designer you want to go with.
Questions to ask
Below you will find a list of questions along with a brief explanation of each. You may have already thought of some of these, but other questions might be new to you.
1. How much experience do you have?
Whilst experience brings wisdom and knowledge to help steer you down the right path, it’s also not necessarily a bad thing if your designer is relatively new to the industry, but if they are new, ask them what they did before – get to know them and their professional background. As a rule of thumb, designers or agencies that have more than 5 years’ experience are usually a safe bet.
2. What kinds of websites have you designed?
Any designer or agency that has a wide and varying level of experience, designing and building websites for multiple industries and sectors, including e-commerce websites, microsites and custom design and development are likely to have no trouble building your website. If you have a specialist / niche business and looking for a designer that has worked within your sector before, then you will be in safe hands.
3. Can you show me websites that you have designed before?
A successful designer or agency should have an extensive, varied portfolio on their website which allows you to get a good idea as to their design ability and creative flair. Check out their testimonials and reviews on Google, Trust Pilot and other similar review websites to gauge customer feedback. If the designer/agency doesn’t have many projects in their portfolio or they are unable to show you a range of completed projects, steer clear.
4. What kind of results did the websites you built experience?
Web design and build is only a small part to the overall success. There are other factors at play here too, including improvement of the content, user journey, optimisation of the website (this is also known as Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short), so it is a good idea to ask the designer / agency how their work contributed to the success of a business they have worked with previously. Ideally, if they can provide case studies that show a ‘before’ and ‘after’ and demonstrate facts and figures of the client successes that can be directly equitable to the designer / agencies work, then this is a very good sign, but for this level of success be prepared to pay for it.
5. How will your approach help me reach my goals?
With this question, you should be quite direct. You want to know how the designer can specifically help your online business growth and future successes. Any designer / agency that stumbles on this or doesn’t really demonstrate any ability to clearly and concisely explain how the website they design and build will help your business is probably worth avoiding, and you may even find that they can’t answer the question at all! Expect them to talk about improving user journey, delivery of content, optimisation of the website to ensure it loads fast, the responsiveness aspect of your website, ensuring it loads perfectly across all devices and screen sizes, and much more besides, including feature suggestions to include on the website and make the website future proofed. A credible, experienced designer will be able to answer this question with ease.
6. How long will the process take to design my website and put it live?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, however if you are on a time limit to get the project completed and your designer / agency suggests ‘3-4 months’ or is a bit flaky with their timescales and milestones to completion, then it might be worth looking for another designer / agency that has better resources and can accommodate your needs.
7. How many revisions are you willing to make to the design?
This should really be or ‘as many as it takes’ and any reputable designer / agency would not limit this unreasonably however keep in mind that multiple revisions are most likely to be offered within reason, especially if the designs capture exactly what you asked for initially but you then have a change of heart and what to go in a different direction creatively; in this case you might be charged extra for the unexpected shift in design direction.
On the flip side, if the designs are way off the mark having gone through all your creative requirements with your designer / agency initially, then the responsibility lies with them to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new design that meets with your brief.
8. How closely will you work with our company?
Listen carefully to the answer; the designer / agency you choose to work with should be prepared to work and communicate ‘as part of the team’ rather than from the outside looking in. Based on their answer you should be able to draw a conclusion based on their willingness to work and communicate with your team, or not – if not, then move on.
9. How will we communicate during the design process?
Just like the answer above, this answer will give you a good idea as to how closely your designer / agency will work and integrate with your team. During the design phase things can be a bit quieter as the designers are busy being creative, however the answer you are looking for here is communication via email or project management software that you are given a login to. Telephone communication is also a must for those clarification conversations or quick questions / queries either you or your designer / agency may have.
10. Is any SEO integrated within the website design/build?
A Search Engine Optimisation strategy (or SEO for short) is a crucial and necessary part to any new website and you should work out a sustainable monthly budget over the long-term for SEO as it is an involved and specialist service that is ongoing monthly. SEO is something that should be incorporated into your website from the off and then an ongoing monthly SEO strategy detailed that shows a plan of how your designer / agency intend to improve your website search rankings and online visibility overall
If the designer / agency you are talking to glosses over this point, or seems hesitant to talk about SEO, or maybe doesn’t offer SEO services at all then it would be well worth finding a designer / agency that does – it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
11. How much will my website cost?
The all-important question of cost. The answer to this question will always vary and the cost of web design depends on many factors, including:
- How much experience does the designer / agency have?
- How big is the website being designed?
- What functionality do you require on your website?
- What type of design do you need (e-commerce, high-end, simple, custom, etc.)
- How many people will be involved in the process?
Additionally, it is important to consider a separate ongoing monthly budget for SEO as mentioned in the previous question as (in most cases) your new website will need an SEO strategy planned and implemented to help generate online visibility, good search ranks and new customers.
Many designers / agencies are unlikely to publish prices on their website due to the nature of web design and specific requirements, but the only real way to be sure of the cost is to compare quotes and most of all – to trust your gut instinct.
You will know better than anyone what you can /can’t afford, and if you found you hit it off with a company that was more expensive than your budget, why not ask them if they would consider allowing you to pay off your website over a number of months, or ask if there are any ways to save on cost to bring your project back in-line with what you budgeted for it.
In all this remember one thing – you really do get what you pay for, and a cheap website will often have many downsides.
12. Can I contact you for future updates to my website?
Most, if not all designers or agencies will offer either a low cost monthly retainer for website updates, or an ad-hoc hourly service that allow you to establish long-term relationships at a more competitive cost. Consider signing up to a cost effective monthly retainer to save a little money while keeping a reliable designer on-hand that already knows and understands your business and most of all – your website inside out.
Final thoughts and summary
The above list is by no means exhaustive and you will no doubt find yourself asking the designer / agency more specific questions to help you get a good understanding about things. It may even mean you ask questions that relate to their experience, if they fully understand what you want to achieve and whether or not they have designed websites like yours in the past.
Most of all, your designer / agency should be open to any questions and encourage you to ask as many as you need. Never be afraid to ask lots of questions and if you get the feeling that you’re bothering them or becoming an annoyance by asking questions, then it is time to walk away. An experienced, reputable web designer or agency will always be accommodating and willing to help you.
If you are looking for a web design company to work with, why not give Vaccoda a try? We have many years’ experience in building beautiful, responsive websites that are SEO optimised and generate a steady stream of website customers, enquiries and sales. We will also manage your SEO strategy too.
Why not check out our portfolio to see the wide range of projects we have worked on, see our case studies to read about the successes we have achieved for our clients and have a look at our Google reviews here!