things you should know

Important Questions To Ask A Web Designer

The following are important questions to ask a web designer. Having your first website built is a major step for your business. There are thousands of web designers out there. Finding the right one for you can be a long process. Don’t take it lightly. Take the time and do the investigative homework on the web designers in your area. Use these questions as a foundation to get started. The answers you receive should trigger additional questions as well.

1.) What am I going to learn from you during this process?

This is perhaps the most important question you should ask. If you get a short answer to this question, then run for the hills. A website is not something that can be built, launched, and forgotten about. A successful and effective website needs to be monitored on a constant basis. It’s needs to have fresh content added. It needs to have good and effective social media interaction. A good web designer will educate you during the build process. Education during the build process is key to your knowing what to do with your new website once it has been launched.

2.) Will my website work on all types of devices?

The answer to this question must be “yes.” If the answer is no, you will be paying for a website that is already obsolete. You need to make sure that the website which is being built for you is using Responsive Design. A Responsive Design website is designed and coded so it will sense what size of screen it is being viewed upon. It will then shrink and re-proportion itself if necessary. The purpose of this is to give the user a simplified and easy-to-use experience. It is now more important than ever for w website to work just as perfectly on smart phones and tablets as it does on desktop computers.

3.) Do you charge a flat-fee or an hourly fee?

I would recommend you look for a flat-fee. Although not always true, people who charge on an hourly-basis may charge you down to minutes and seconds. Perhaps you call them during the build process to ask a simple question. If they charge on an hourly-basis, that 5 minute phone call may have just cost you extra money.

For example, I charge a flat-flee for the project as a whole. All of my pre-contract discussions or consultations are always free. After I have met with a potential new client I will send them a very detailed email outlining what I believe their needs are and what type of website will suit them best. I will also provide them with a cost estimate of the project. My cost estimates are based on how long I think the project will take to complete. If I project that their website will take 30 hours to complete, their billing will stop at 30 hours. If the project takes longer than 30 hours, my clients are not charged for the extra time.

4.) Do you offer any type of support after the project is completed?

If they do not offer support, run away as fast you can. An infinite number of things can occur after a website has been launched. Having support for your new website is an absolute must. Whether it be long-term, hourly or on a retainer. A good web designer will structure a support system based on your needs.

5.) How would I be able to contact you?

You must have confidence in knowing you can reach the web designer when you need to. How quickly will they respond to your needs? Will emails go unanswered? How quickly are phone calls returned? What days of the week are they opened or closed? What are their business hours? A good web designer will accommodate to your schedule. You should never be forced to follow theirs.

6.) How long will this process take?

Keep in mind you are not ordering a pizza. “30 minutes or less” is not the type of answer you want to hear. A website build is not something that should be rushed. I tell my potential clients that with whatever method is taken to determine of how long it will take, whether it be in minutes or days…to multiply that number by three. There are lots of things which can affect the amount of time it takes to build a website.

A lot of interaction occurs between the client and the web designer. There can be several stages where information is needed from the client in order for the build to continue to its next stage. If the web designer contacts the client on Monday requesting information and no response is given until Wednesday…the project will not move along in an efficient manor.

The safe answer is 1 to 3 months.

7.) Do you offer any type of user training?

User training is a must. Especially if you need a website with a Content Management System built into it. A good web designer will match something to your needs rather than offering you a “take it or leave it” approach.

8.) How much will it cost?

The most popular question of them all. To simplify things look at it like this: time = money. A large project will obviously take more time to complete than a small project. Ask for information to clarify how the cost estimate was created. Ask for a breakdown of how your money will be spent. Find out exactly what you might be paying for. Are there any extra fees? Ask as many questions as you want to. A good web designer will answer every single one of them with patience.

9.) Will people be able to find my new website on Google AND Bing?

Some web designers may consider website design and Search Engine Optimization to be two different things. In truth they go hand-in-hand. Every website should be constructed with SEO in mind. Ask the web designer what type of SEO will implemented and what type of SEO you are being billed for during the website project. Ask as many questions as you would like to. Every single one of them needs to be answered.

10.) May I review your contract before any further discussions take place?

Never have a website built without a contract. If the web designer you have contacted does not have a contract, then provide him/her with one of your own. A contract provides protection for both parties involved. If the web designer provides you with a contract, take the time to read it and make sure you understand everything that it contains.

By Brian Ericson
Owner of Milwaukee Web Design, LLC
& Iowa City Web Designer, LLC

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