Deciding you want a new website is just the first step. You now need to find a web designer who will give you the website you want at the best possible price. In this respect, having a website built can be a bit like sending your car for service or getting a boiler repaired (stay with us on this!). What we mean by this is, if it’s not an area you’re overly familiar with, how do you know you’re getting a good deal?
You’ll want to make sure your website functions well, is easy to navigate for users, looks good, performs well on SEO, is easy to maintain – and crucially, how much all this will cost. But if you don’t know the right questions to ask, you might not end up with the website you wanted, or there may be costs you were not previously aware of.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 questions to ask your web designer.
What kind of businesses do you work with?
Apart from the obvious questions around cost, which we haven’t included here because we know that will be your number one question anyway, a good starter is to find out what sort of companies your web designer works with and in what industries. It could be that the nature of their work never involves building an e-commerce site when that is what you need, or perhaps they have only ever worked with large corporates, but you’re a small start-up requiring a more personal approach.
Will my website be custom made or use an online site builder?
This is an important conversation to have from the off, and the route you choose will depend largely on your requirements. We have written a detailed blog on the merits of bespoke websites versus templates, if you need more information. Web designers will often use pre-built (or open source) software packages available on the internet, such as WordPress and Drupal, to build your site. Or they may code it themselves from scratch for a completely bespoke solution if you have very unique and individual requirements.
Is web domain and email hosting included?
The web domain is the name of your company website and has to be registered. Once it’s built, your website will also need to be hosted, as will your emails – assuming you want people to be able to reach you at firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than email@example.com.
It’s worth asking up front whether this a service your potential web designer provides and if so, how much it’s going to cost and when it’s payable – is this a monthly or an annual fee, when will costs be reviewed etc. Make sure you ask if you’ll own, and therefore have control over, your domain name.
What do you need from me?
Appointing your web designer is just the first step. They will need various things from you in order to get the ball rolling. As well as the designer’s availability, how soon your website is ready often depends on how quickly you can provide the information needed. Find out what will be needed from your side, such as any logos, images or information you might have.
Do you provide the content?
We work with a copywriter who can help you with content, but some web designers might need you to provide all the words yourself and it’s worth knowing this up front as it may factor in your decision-making process. This could depend on whether you have the time or ability to provide sparkling content that will sell your business.
Who can manage/edit the completed website?
Think about how you’ll want to use the website and see if you can either get the required functionality built in, or whether your web designer can provide any follow-up services you need. If you want to add a daily blog, upload images, case studies, news and so on, then you may want a site that is simple to use in this respect. If you don’t want to do this, or don’t have the time, then you might want to find out whether your web designer can carry out updates for you and how much this would cost.
Is there any training provided?
If you do want to be able to easily and quickly update your website on a regular basis, do you already have the skills to do that or do you need training? Your web designer may be able to either provide or organise this for you.
Is SEO included?
There’s no point building a new website if no-one can find it, so you’ll need to know from the offset whether your web designer is skilled in SEO, or whether they’ll build you a site and leave you to get on with the rest. At Expand Digital Media, we offer a full digital marketing solution, which means we ensure your website is integrated into a complete strategy which includes search engine optimisation, Adwords and making sure your website is fast, secure and functional – all things that are rewarded by Google when it comes to rankings. Read our blog on how to improve your SEO for more on this topic.
Are you a Google Partner?
Many companies profess to being the best when it comes to Google Adwords and SEO, but can they prove it? Google Partners have been endorsed by Google as providing an excellent, specialist service in this area, and more importantly, they have been able to evidence this through evaluation of client accounts over a 12-month period. This will give you the extra assurance that your money is well spent. (NB, we’re a Google Partner. #justsayin’).
Will you provide a full back up/copy of my site?
It’s good practice to have a back-up version of your website. We provide a free one-time full back-up, but this may differ from one web designer to the next. Your site may also need periodic back-ups and you’ll need to find out whether these are automatic or manual – and who will do them.
We hope this helps you get started on the road to acquiring your new website, but for more information and other frequently asked questions, please get in touch.