Clients often come to us with lots of questions when they want a new website designed. We welcome them, and we encourage you to ask as many questions as you want.
But if you’re not sure what exactly to ask when you are looking for a web design company, here are eleven of the most important questions to get you started.
Can you show me similar projects?
Always find out about the previous projects that the web design company has worked on in the past.
You’ll want to see the actual sites and play around with them. Visit the websites, use them, and get a feel for them to get a very quick impression as to whether you would like something similar.
Pay special attention to the scope of the projects. If you need an enterprise level e-commerce website, does the designer specialize in these?
Also relevant is whether the previous sites they have designed had similar goals. For example, we create a lot of e-commerce sites that are focused on making conversions. If your goal is the same, this is something we can help with.
Also look for an extensive range of previous web designs they have created for their clients. If they all look the same, this could be a warning sign. A wide range of designs suggests that they take note of their clients’ concerns and goals and that they don’t take one single approach to the process.
How long have you been in business?
It’s always good to know about how long the web design company has been around for, and you will also want to know about the experience of the designers.
A good web design firm is one you can return to when you want updates and changes. You may even want marketing services like those we provide.
Knowing that the company has been around for many years is a good sign that it is likely to be around for many more years to come. It will also give you an indicator of how reliable the company is.
Look at the people who work there as well. Check out their LinkedIn profiles, find out about their experience, and read their blogs if they have them. Who have they worked for in the past? Have they written for industry publications? Do they have good credentials?
Do you do responsive design?
All new websites should be optimized for mobile, and that usually means using responsive design. We certainly recommend responsive, and it’s also recommended by Google.
For your business website, you want as many people to be able to access it and enjoy a good experience no matter what device they are using.
Again, ask to see samples of responsive websites that the web design company has put together.
Which platform/s do you use and which do you recommend for this project?
Most web design companies will use a content management system, or CMS, to build your website, so find out what this is.
For a start, is it proprietary or open source?
WordPress is popular, and one of the platforms we specialize in. This open-source CMS is the perfect platform for creating stunning custom designs (forget about templates). And once your website is live, you can make edits without any design experience.
But WordPress might not be right for you, and it depends on the purpose of your website. We also specialize in e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, and Magento.
They all have their pros and cons, and we work with them all, so we know them inside out. We’ve written about the differences before and how to optimize each platform, so just ask us for guidance.
Do you do all the web development too?
Design and development are not the same thing, so find out whether the designer carries out all their own web development in-house? Is this a complete solution, or do they outsource the development?
You ideally want your designer to understand the technology behind the website, and you want the web design firm to have its own web developers.
How long will it take?
The answer to this is not always clear, and the most important thing to know is that a good website will take time to create.
If your design company says that they can get your new site back to you within a few days, that’s a warning sign.
The exact amount of time it will take depends on a range of factors, such as the size of the site, the complexity of the project, and how good you are at communicating and answering questions.
An experienced designer will be able to give you a good rough estimate based on their experiences working on similar projects, but don’t expect to have it all up and running next week.
An experienced designer will want to get everything right, and that takes time.
What is the process?
A good web design company will be able to talk you through the entire process from initial idea to live website. You will quickly get an understanding of whether they have a lot of experience or not by the details they provide.
You will also get a good idea of how reliable and consistent they are from their answers.
Will I work with a project manager?
It’s really useful to have a project manager who is your main point of contact. They are the ones to get in touch with your questions and provide feedback.
You don’t want to end up speaking to different people every time you get in touch, and this can make the process a lot smoother.
Do you provide any other services we should be considering?
Your main service is getting your website up and running, but you’re likely to want more than that—such as how to get traffic to your website and how to convert that traffic into sales.
Some web design firms only do the design, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want other services, it can help when your design company also provides them.
They can create a plan right from the start that incorporates the design, promotion, and optimization of the website, and this can save time and lead to better results.
For example, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a big service area for us because we create e-commerce stores. We help clients increase sales by working on their conversion rates, and this involves incorporating various design elements.
It also involves issues such as reducing abandoned carts through factors like having a speedy checkout process, adding security symbols, etc.
What is not included in the price?
You should get a clear quote from your web design company about the price, but always ask about what is not included in it.
For example: web hosting, SEO, content writing, stock photos, etc. It might even be better to phrase this question “what else will we need to ensure this website project is a success?”.
Always be clear from the start and know what you are paying for and what you are not paying for, as well as any additional costs that may arise.
What do you need from me?
You want to be as helpful as possible, so make it clear that you are there to ensure the smooth progress of the project.
State that you will provide your designer with anything they need, and make sure you are easy to contact and quick to respond to questions. The easier you make it for them, the better the result is likely to be.
Find the Right Web Designer for Your Site
These are some of the most important questions to ask, but every project is different and you will probably have questions that are unique to your project.
Ask as many questions as you can, and speak to your designers over the phone. Get a feel for how they deal with your questions and how happy they are to provide detailed answers.
You can often get a very good idea about a web design company just by talking to them.
Finally, give them the chance to ask questions. They will probably want to ask you lots of questions, and this is always a good thing. It shows that they want to provide you with exactly what you are looking for.
So start looking, and of course if you have any questions we can help you with, just let us know.