We have all been there, looking for a website company that has the skills and knowledge to turn our business goals into a website for people to visit. However, finding the right company can be hard and sometimes you will think you have found the one, only to be left disappointed when they do not deliver what you had hoped for.
To help you navigate this relationship effectively, we have come up with the top twenty questions you should ask any website company before giving them your business. You can ask all or some of these in person, on the phone or via email. What is important is that you feel confident with the replies you get so that you can make an informed decision about using them to create your site.
One of the first things you need to ask is what level of qualifications and training the website design company has. This will give you a good insight into what they have studied, how long they have studied and whether they keep up to date with new web developments through ongoing training. Most web developers will share these details as part of their portfolio, but if they do not, make sure you ask!
We all know that the world wide web is constantly evolving and you will want a website that reflects this forward-thinking way of working. To get this, you will need a web developer that keeps up to date with new innovations and the best way of finding that person is to ask them how they keep up with these new developments. Their answer will confirm if they are up to date or not.
It is always important to ask for references before you agree on a contract with a web developer, and if they are above board, they should have no problem providing them for you to see. Rather than taking them at face value, do not hesitate to get in touch with some of these referrals and take the time to ask them about how their design process went.
It is important to know that a company can bring your vision to life. The only way to really understand whether a company has the design skills that you require is to ask to see a Design Portfolio. When viewing the portfolio, try not to think about whether you like the style as they will have been designed to a different clients’ specification. Look for a range of skills and techniques that can be used to enhance your project.
Most of us have a process that we follow when starting a new project. It helps us to keep on track and monitor effectiveness. Asking about the process that a web developer follows will allow you to understand two things; firstly, that they have a process to follow, and secondly, that their process matches how you like to work. If you are not happy with the response, then it is best to find a different web developer.
Every industry is different, and this can be reflected in the way products and services are marketed. It is, therefore, important to understand whether the web developer has experience of building websites for your particular industry. You want your website to appeal to your potential customers and do not want to miss the mark because your web developer only has experience in building websites for other industries.
This is a great question to ask to ensure the web developer has fully understood your requirements. They should be confident in their ability to complete the work and be able to explain to you why you should select them. Web development is a competitive market and companies should be ready to sell their services with examples of how they will work specifically for you. You should expect to receive a confident response that gives examples to prove they are being upfront with you.
This is an especially important question to ask as some web designers retain the rights to your site after they have finished the work. You should look for a web developer that hands all rights over to you so that you are the sole owner of your website. This means that you are the only person that will be able to remove the site after it has been published unless you contract another designer.
If you are not comfortable with how websites work and troubleshooting issues when they arise, then it is a good idea to check what aftercare services your web designer offers. Ideally, you are looking for someone that will give you a period of time from publication to answer any queries or resolve any queries. Most web developers would be happy to do this, but it needs to be agreed when you are thrashing out your contract.
All websites need ongoing maintenance so that they run smoothly for anyone that is trying to access your site. The best way to maintain your site is with the person that made it as they understand the processes they undertook to create everything. Check to see if your developer offers this service and agree on a price before you agree to a contract so that your site is kept fresh and functioning at all times.
When a website designer has published your site, and the job is done, you will need to have access to all the design files for future use. Rather than finding yourself without these when it counts, make sure that the price they quote includes giving you access to all the files and designs they created for your website.
There is nothing more stressful than having to explain yourself many times over for the same query. One way to do this is to request a sole contact that you can have a direct line of communication with. This way, nothing will get lost in translation, and you can build a rapport with one person. Most website designers work in small teams, so this should not be a huge problem.
If you have spent the right amount of time in the planning stages, then this question should never really become a problem, but it is still essential that you ask it! If you are unhappy with the finished product, then there should be an agreed process that you can follow to have issues amended. However, these discussions can get heated unless you had the foresight to agree on a process at the start of the job. Agree what would be done should the worst happen and enjoy the peace of mind this gives you.
Whether we like it or not, human beings clash sometimes, and this can make working together a difficult process. The best way to avoid this is to find out what the complaint process is before you agree to work together to be certain that the company has other options open for you. The likelihood is that you will never need to use it, but it is still an important document to have a copy of.
Too often people are led to believe that the person they complete their initial design discussions with will be the person that will do their website, only to find out that the work has been outsourced and does not look anything like what you had agreed. Asking whether anything is outsourced or not lets you find out who will work on your project, leaving you in control of whether you agree to proceed or not.
Most designs flit back and forth between designer and client before finally being approved, but it is wise to find out how many revisions are included in the price of your contract. A good designer will often state that they offer unlimited revisions but will give you a scope of what can and cannot be revised. If you find a designer, you like, but they state they will not provide you with any revisions then warning bells should start sounding. Only ever go with a designer that is happy to make changes!
There is no point in hiring a web developer who can complete work to your exact specification if they do not manage to get it to you before your agreed deadline. In a busy world, we are all working towards deadlines, and if your web developer does not deliver on time, this could have serious knock-on effects for you. Asking about their record for delivering on time will give you an idea of whether you should hire them or if a map of milestones would suffice.
It is a great idea to ask if you can see a sample contract along with their terms of service before you finalise a contract for yourself. That way, you will be able to see how other people have approached their work with the designed and also what is in the small print. If anything comes up, then you will still have time to ask the designer for clarification before you sign on the dotted line.
Aligning your own values and beliefs with a designer’s may sound over the top, but it is really is not. If you have a strong work ethic, then you will work better with a designer who also works hard. If you have a strong sense of commitment to sustainability, then it is a good idea to look for a company that uses sustainable practices. Start by checking out their mission statement and then do not be afraid to ask for more information about their values and ethos.
In this day and age, more than 75% of people access the internet on a mobile device, and this means that your website must be compatible with those smaller screens. Ask whether your design includes ensuring that the site works on mobile devices, and if it does not, then ask for a quote that includes this. There is no point in having a site built that cannot be accessed easily by your audience.
You should never feel embarrassed or awkward to ask as many questions as you need before you decide which website company you want to use. If a company is reputable, then they will not have any issue sharing as much information as you need to make your decision. If a company refuses to share the answers to your questions, this should show you some red flags and they probably are not the web design company for you!
Ask your questions to lots of web designers before you shortlist the ones you like; doing it this way will mean that you have really understood what each one can offer you, leaving you in the best position to find the ideal designer. Good luck on your mission to find the best web designer for your new website.
Janszen Media designs and develops beautifully responsive websites, optimized for SEO and user experience. If you need a new website contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free quote.