If you are running a business, however small, the chances are that you are aware of the importance of having an internet presence. Besides having social media accounts, one of the main ways of your clients getting in touch with you would be through your website. Having one is especially essential if you are in an industry like retail. However, it can help all kinds of businesses when it comes to marketing their products or services, as well as building credibility. A website signals to your potential clients that you do not leave anything to chance and take your business very seriously.
While that is all good and well, getting a great, functioning website can sometimes be tricky. Just like any other area of business, you want to hire someone experienced and trustworthy. If you are not in the web design business yourself, looking for web designers might be difficult. For that reason, I have compiled these questions to ask web designers before hiring them. Hopefully, using these tips will help you understand what their job entails and how well you might gel if you end up working together. So, what questions to ask when getting a website built?
1. What are your previous experiences with similar sites or industries?
Garnering knowledge about your potential web designer’s previous experience with building similar sites should never be the deciding factor, but it is still good to take into account. If they have already done something similar, communicating what you want will be that much more comfortable as they will already have a frame of reference. This factor is particularly true for unique businesses with complex operations.
2. Do you have a portfolio so I can see some examples of your work?
Besides them telling you about their previous experiences and how they handled certain particularities, one of the things to ask a web designer before hiring them is their portfolio. Many of them will showcase their work on their website. You should take a look before you start sending enquiries. You will be able to determine if their style will lend itself to creating what you want for your business.
Furthermore, asking about previous client references is among the key questions to ask web designers before hiring them. If you like their previous work and find out that those clients are entirely satisfied with how the experience turned out, you will know that you have a winner on your hands.
3. What is your design process?
One of the main questions to ask web designers before hiring them is to request a description of their design process. If they have documented it, then you are probably dealing with someone who has developed a successful structure for turning out this service in the allotted time and within the confines of their budget. To be able to understand what they are talking about in case you are a complete novice, it might be a good idea to learn the basics involved in building a website. If you do, you will be able to ask questions that are more informed as well.
4. Will the website be custom-made, or will you use a customised theme?
Here is a crucial question to ask web designers before hiring them that will determine the price of the project. It is particularly important to ask it if you expect your website to be custom-built from scratch or if your web designer will use templates and other elements to help with the construction of your site. You should expect every website to be created specifically for you and your business. However, there are a lot of advantages in allowing your web designer to start with a template and then modify it into becoming your very own unique website. Not only you will get the website delivered faster (therefore cheaper), but you will also be benefiting from sections or elements of your website with a proven track record of success in your industry. In this day and age, reinventing the wheel isn’t always the smartest approach, and there is nothing wrong with customising a pre-built theme as long as it becomes uniquely designed for your business needs.
5. What do you need from me to start working on my website?
Before starting on the project, you should provide your web designer with a website design brief outlining your expectations. Some of the things your web designer will need from you are:
- branding guidelines
When it comes to pictures, your designer will require high-resolution images. You will either have to provide them yourself or work with the web designer. Most web designers like myself, subscribe to stock libraries such as Freepik.com where they can offer a commercial license to each image of your website, but it’s always a good idea to ask them beforehand. The same goes for the text; some freelance web designers also team up with freelance copywriters to create the best content for your website. Whether we talk about images, text, videos or any other media formats, it is essential to hash out before setting the budget as these variables can impact the price.
6. What does the website design quote include?
Your potential web designer should be able to clarify the entire process – what falls inside the scope of the project they outlined and what would be add-ons that would require additional payments. If any part of the website cost is unclear to you or they fail to mention it, do not be afraid to ask. It is the only way you will be clear on what you can expect them to deliver.
7. What is your process when it comes to client feedback?
Here is another critical question to ask because you want to know how much say you’ll have beyond your initial guidelines. In most cases, the web designer will present you with a first draft where you will be able to review the design of the site as well as its functionality. This step will be an excellent opportunity to provide your web designer with some feedback and request any necessary revisions. You must know how many times you would be able to provide feedback without having to pay extra for it. Most freelance website designers limit the number of revisions as this process can be quite time-intensive.
8. What would be a realistic timeline for the web design project?
If the creation of your website is time-sensitive, this is the final of the essential questions to ask web designers before hiring them. Depending on their workload and expertise, some of them will be able to do it more quickly than others. There are many things you can do on your part to speed up the process. Your design might lag because the designer is waiting for you to compile the necessary resources for them to start or come back to them with the feedback for one of the drafts. If you are in a hurry, communicate that to your website designer.
Bonus questions to ask a web designer before hiring them
Some other items you might want to cover when choosing the right web designer for your project:
- What support do you offer after the delivery of my website?
- How do you ensure the consistency of experience across different devices?
- How will you optimise the website for search engines?
- Which content management system do you use?
- What kind of testing do you perform before the launch?
There are possibly many others, but these should get you through before you find your footing in this process. The most important thing is to use these questions to be as transparent as possible about your expectations and learning what the web designer can deliver.