With COVID-19 affecting businesses so much, have you found yourself thinking about redesigning your website or getting a website because you don’t even have one? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us have had to rethink how we are doing business and make quick decisions about how to stay in front of our customers. If designing or redesigning your website is something that you’re doing, COVID related or not, you want to make sure that you’re asking your web designer the right questions.
Doing so will convey how prepared you are and set the expectations for not only the end product but how you need the process to go. Here are a few things we suggest you ask:
Questions for Your Web Designer Regarding the Process
- What is your process? Everyone’s process of designing a website is different. It’s important to know so you can determine if the process makes sense to you and is something you can agree to.
- Do you do all the work inhouse or outsource the website design? We don’t know about you, but for us, it’s important to have open lines of communication. We find that it’s hard to communicate efficiently when projects are outsourced overseas and there are significant time differences and possible language barriers. While this isn’t always the case, you may want to choose a company that keeps their work inhouse.
- How long does the process take? Most of the time, website launches don’t happen on time. It’s important to have an understanding of how long things will take, realistically, and then what the absolute deadline for launch is.
- What will I be expected to do? You will be expected to do a few things, especially if you are writing the content. You will also have to approve things, most likely in different stages. Be clear what is expected of you and when.
- Will I have a point of contact? Having a main point of contact will make things easier and run more smoothly.
- What type of communication will we have? The way you communicate will make a great impact on how smoothly things run as well. If email is the only way to communicate it could take longer and things can be taken out of context or simply not understood. You may want to make sure phone calls are a part of your communication if not video calls.
- How many rounds of revisions do I get? If you have a company that doesn’t let you make any edits or specifically define what an edit is, that’s not a good sign.
- What kind of testing will you do before it launches? It’s important that links buttons and any automation put in place work properly.
- Do you design it all at once or over time? Some companies do project-based websites where they design a set amount of pages and then they are done. Other companies have the option to do a growth-driven design where your site is launched with a solid foundation and then built out over time, based on data.
Questions for Your Web Designer Regarding the Technology Used
- What content management system (CMS) do you build the site on? Knowing which CMS is used is critical. It’s important that the CMS your site is on can grow with you and has limitless options for future add ons. For example, if you may eventually have a store, its important that the CMS have the capability to have a store. We don’t recommend using CMS’s like Wix, SquareSpace, or Weebly. We’ll touch more on that in the future.
- Do you offer website maintenance after the design is complete and is it included in the price? Your website will most likely need plugin and theme updates, especially if it’s on WordPress. You either need to know how to do it or be prepared to pay to have it done for you.
- Do you do anything to make sure my site is fast? Site speed has a lot to do with where you show up in Google search results. If your site is slow, Google won’t send people to it often and when people do go to it, they’ll hop off quickly because of slow load times. This of course defeats the purpose of having a website.
- Do you install anything to show analytics for site traffic? If you had a previous website and tracked traffic using something like HubSpot or Google Analytics, it’s important to have that installed on your new website so you can continue to see how your website is performing.
- Do you offer training or support for using the website once it’s launched? Often times, companies will leave changes up to them which is typically not included with the price of the initial design. Ask how you can make changes and make sure you are shown how to.
Questions for Your Web Designer Regarding the Strategy
- What kind of research will you do about my business before starting? If a company doesn’t take the time to learn your business, that’s a big red flag.
- Will you review my current website with me? If you have a current website consider going over what you like and don’t like about it so they can learn what to do and not to do.
Questions for Your Web Designer Regarding the Design
- Do you have a designer on staff? It’s really important that the designer understands your brand and that the visual brand aligns with the content. Therefore, a designer needs to be involved in the entire process.
- Will my website be custom or a customized theme? Some companies use a theme and just plug in your information. These types of sites are typically cheaper and have less flexibility. Other sites use a theme but one that is custom built with a website builder, like the popular visual page builder Divi, or coded. It’s important to understand how flexible your site will be and the capabilities of editing the look and feel.
- Do you use stock photography? If so, is the cost included? Make sure the company reads the fine print on sites they’re getting your images from. Some are not allowed to be used for marketing aka on your website. If any images are purchased be clear as to whether or not that is included and make sure you get the originals.
Questions for Your Web Designer Regarding Marketing
- Do you provide other services other than website design? When other services are offered in addition to web design, the company often understands the importance of the technical aspects or your company and what to use that will help you to attract and convert qualified leads.
- Do you write the website copy? Writing your own copy can really slow the process down and can make your website lack best practices and/or make your website act like a brochure as opposed to a sales tool.
- Do you follow SEO best practices? Putting content on the site isn’t good enough. Creating a strategy for search along with the content creation is key. Otherwise, your pages will just exist without a real purpose.
- How will the user experience be? Have you ever visited a website and you have no idea where to click or how it can help solve your problem? It’s not fun is it?! Mapping out the buying process and creating content that reflects it will be key in using your website as a sales tool.
- Will the website experience compliment my marketing and sales processes? Do your marketing and sales efforts utilize content from your website? If they are conveying two different messages and don’t compliment one anther, that’s problematic.
- Will I be able to edit my own site and to what extent? You don’t want to be in a position where you can’t edit simple words or images on your site so make sure you’ll be able to make those changes.
Questions for Your Web Designer Regarding Vetting the Company
These are pretty straightforward but help you get a feel for their capabilities.
- Do you have any references I can contact?
- Do you have a portfolio I can see?
- How many years have you been creating websites and how many websites have you done?