Redesigning your website or building a new one from scratch can feel overwhelming. If you are looking to hire someone to help, we have put together a list of questions to ask a web designer before you start.
Which Content Management System (CMS) will you be using?
The Content Management System is how your content is organised and managed. It is important to know what CMS the designer uses, especially if you plan to maintain your website and add additional content in the future.
Most web designers have a preferred platform, and they will probably use it to build your website. For example, at Inkt Creative, we predominantly use WordPress and you read why here.
An important consideration is future growth. Can you add an eCommerce store, a blog, or a booking system down the track? Don’t forget to ask if the website can grow with your business.
If your website uses third party integrations (like email subscriptions or membership tools) make sure your designer can integrate them into your new website.
Is the website custom-built or are you using a template?
Many website companies use pre-made templates to design and build websites. If you are hiring a web designer, you don’t want a website that looks like you have DIY’d it.
Web designers often use a mix of both template design and custom code. If your designer is only using a template, there may be limitations on the design. These kinds of websites can be bloated with code, which affects SEO and site speed. Over time, a template website can have issues with plugin compatibility. You may have to rebuild it sooner than a custom coded site.
Will I be able to make updates myself?
Something that surprises us at Inkt Creative is how often a new client will come to us with an old website they could not update. They have been beholden to their web company and had to pay an hourly rate to change their site.
If you want to make your own content updates, ask your web designer if that will be possible. They could lock some areas of your website to prevent breakage, but you should have access to make content updates.
What design assets will I need to provide?
There is essential information your web designer will need before they get started. They will need your logo and branding and a style guide if you have one. You will also need to provide good quality website copy, high-resolution images, and any other graphics.
If you need design work, let the web designer know at the beginning of the project, as this may affect the budget and timeline. Try to use the best images possible. People often search for content via images on search engines, so it is essential to have great quality images. Budgeting for a good photographer is always money well spent.
What is the process for revision and feedback?
Most website designers will provide mockups of your site before the building begins. After they have built the website, they should allow you to view the site on a staging server before it goes live.
Revisions can be lengthy, and some designers will set a limit for the number of revisions or charge extra if there is too much back and forth. Don’t forget to ask how many revisions you can make before being charged.
How long will it take?
Is your project is time-sensitive? Communicate to your website designer if the website is part of the launch of a product or part of a wider campaign. Let the website team know that from the onset.
Something that can hold up a website project is content. To stay on track, make sure you deliver what the designer needs.
The timeline is different for each project. It can be anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the size of your website and the required functionality.
Do you offer training and support after the website is complete?
Many website designers offer training and support for a period of time after handover. For custom-designed sites with advanced functionality, your designer may provide training videos or PDF tutorials with instructions.
Don’t be afraid to ask your designer for an outline of what they provide post-handover and the level of support supplied.
Does your website design include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an integral part of every website design. Using good SEO practices places your website higher in search results for key terms related to your website.
Depending on what you want to achieve, SEO can be simple or complex. Although a website company may advertise SEO services, they may not be using best practices. For a new website, ask your designer about SEO and if that is included in the cost.
If you are upgrading an old website and want to keep your current ranking, ask the designer if they will migrate the old version to a new version. This will keep previous SEO work or search engine ranking.
Can you design a logo?
Logo design is usually an additional cost. Some web designers may offer a simple text-based logo in their package or logo design and branding for an additional fee.
Talk to your web designer. They will either offer it as part of their services or have a good relationship with a graphic designer they trust.
Can you write the content for my site?
Content writing is not a service offered by most web companies and they usually outsource it to a content writer. Writing copy for a website differs from other kinds of writing.
A good content writer will write your web copy using your brand voice and with SEO best practices in mind.
Most web designers will suggest working with a professional content writer. Read more about why copywriting is good for your business here.
Do you outsource any of the work?
This is an important question to ask, as many larger web design companies will outsource work. Outsourcing is not always a bad thing, but it can delay your project, create communication challenges, and result in additional costs.
If your web designer outsources, know who they are working with to eliminate misunderstandings.
Will my website be responsive on mobiles and tablets?
Over 60% of internet searches take place on a mobile phone. If your customer or client has a bad experience on your website, they are more likely to go to a competitor’s site.
These days, most web developers and designers will build websites with responsiveness in mind. It always pays to ask if your website will be accessible on all devices.
Will my website be secure?
Security is essential for every website to keep it free from hackers and spam. Your website designer should install an SSL certificate on your website.
An SSL is important if you plan to collect user information or payments. Most people won’t go through with a transaction if your site is not secure.
Are there ongoing costs?
Every website needs web hosting and domain name renewal. This cost will vary depending on the size of your website and the type of hosting.
Some web design companies will lure you in with an initial offer and then charge you high maintenance costs in the future. Always remember to ask what the ongoing costs are, so know what to expect.
Looking for a Web Designer? Contact us at Inkt Creative.
Inkt Creative is a full-service Web Design and Content studio based in Bendigo, Australia. We specialise in Website Design, WordPress Development, Graphic Design, Content Writing and SEO.