15 Questions you should ask a Web Designer
At Bizow Online we speak with lots of business owners about their online web presence and about the potential of building them a website that will meet all of their needs. Something that has come up recently is some people are unsure of the types of questions that they should be asking to get the most out of these discussions.
When you think about it, this is fair enough. Business owners are experts in their particular industries, which is why they go to a web designer to have their website built. So understanding the types of questions that you should be asking will go a long way in both getting the website that you desire and understanding what the heck the person on the other side of the table is talking about.
To help with this we have developed the following 15 questions you should ask a Web Designer when you sit down with them. This will arm you with the questions needed to walk away from that meeting confident that all your needs are going to be meet.
I have tried to put them into order, so that you could follow and use this list when you next meet with a web developer.
- Do I need a website?
- What type of website do I need?
- What domain name should I use?
- Who will host my website?
- Do I need a Content Management System?
- Which images can I use?
- How will I get people to my website?
- Will my website be Optimised for Search Engines?
- Can I monitor the amount of people that come to my website?
- How can I use Social Media to help promote my website?
- Will the website look good on either a mobile phone or table?
- How much will it cost and how long will it take?
- What Packages and Services do you offer?
- Will I be shown how to use the website?
- Ask to see a portfolio of work?
Please note: These questions are based on the opinion that you already have a strong and well-presented logo for your business. If you don’t, another question (and one of the first) should be about developing your brand recognition…
1) Do I need a website?
This may sound like a pretty silly question and most of these days the answer to this question will be a resounding… “Yes!”
But depending on the type of business you have and your goals for that business you may not need to have a dedicated website and may be able to get away with something as simple as a free blog or particular social media channel like Facebook to help promote your business online.
2) What type of website do I need?
Once the first question is out of the way the next question may be as to what type of website you actually need. This is probably one of the most important questions that you could ask a web developer as there are so many different types of web solutions available to you and picking the right one is a crucial step in creating a successful website.
During the conversation and once the web developer has learnt about your business and its goals, they should (hopefully) be able to recommend a type of website solution that will allow you to meet all of the requirements that you need for your businesses website.
Some of the types of websites available are:
- Static Brochure style websites
- Dynamic (Update-able) Brochure Style Websites
- Web Application
3) What domain name should I use?
Domain names are extremely important to the success of your website. They should relate to your business and brand and give some indication of what it is your website is about. You also need to take into account the geographical market when considering a domain name. For example; If you are targeting Australia, you may want to get .com.au or if you are targeting a global audience, .com may be more suitable.
This will all really depend on your individual business and the goals of the website, so make sure to speak with the web designers about this at the very start of planning your website to insure you select the best domain name possible!
4) Who will host my website?
Every website needs to be put on a server which plug-ins into the Internet and allows everyone in the world to access your amazing website. This is what we refer to as ‘hosting’.
Working out roughly the size of your website and the amount of traffic your site may generate, will allow you and your web developer to work out what hosting requirements you need. In this way it is kind of like a mobile phone plan…
You will find that some web developers will offer hosting as one of their in-house services and others will seek a 3rd party hosting provider on your behalf. Either way, invest the time with the web designers to make sure the web hosting you get is not just the cheapest as it might come back to bite you later on…
5) Do I need a Content Management System?
A CMS is a great way of allowing you too quickly and easily maintain the content of a website without the need to keep harassing, and therefore paying, the web designer to do it for you. Having a basic understanding of both HTML and CSS can help but is not necessary.
If you have the time to maintain the website and have an understanding of how to write good relevant content, this would be a handy feature to ask for but may come at an additional cost. In saying that, you will find a lot of web designers will use a content management system like WordPress and this is something that we at Bizow Online recommend.
6) Which images can I use?
It is important that you don’t find any old image from the internet and stick it on your website and hope that nobody will notice. You need to make sure that you have the right permissions to use various images, music, font and videos within your website and that you are not breaching any copyright laws.
Speak to the web developer about this matter. It may be that you need to hire a photographer to capture the desired photos that you are after and/or you may be able to use something like istockphoto.com or fotolia.com to buy stock photos to use instead.
7) How can I get people to my website?
This is a really great question to ask as it doesn’t matter how amazingly wonderful your website ends up, if no one is going to it, it is not doing you and your business any favours. There are many ways in which to bring traffic to a website like; search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, social media, blogging, etc.
Having a strategy in place that will help bring users and potential buyers to your site on a constant basis will go a long way into developing and maintaining a successful website. As mentioned in point 3 this may be something that they will be able to help you out with as they might have their own people that do this.
8) Will my website be optimised for Search Engines?
We touched on this above but it is worth discussing at length with your developer; search engine optimization (SEO) is basically you trying to come up on the first page of a search engine like Google, Yahoo and/or Bing without paying to be there.
There are lots of different techniques and methods that go into helping you reach the holy grail of the first page of a search engine. Things like targeting the right keywords, providing the site with good regular content and having people link to your website are some of the many ways…
However speak with your developers about optimising the site as they build it because this is the best time to get all of the on-page SEO complete and gives your website the best chance of ranking well from the get go. There more than likely will be an additional cost involved but it will probably be cheaper than paying for it at a later date.
Well worth chatting to them about…
9) Can I monitor the traffic that comes to my website?
In the above two questions we have focused on asking questions that centre around bringing people to our website but we also need to make sure that we can monitor this traffic. This allows us to test and measure what is working and what isn’t and make changes accordingly.
There are a few things out there like, the ever popular Google Analytics that allow you to monitor the traffic to your website and is relatively easy to install and use. Ask the developer if they can add this when building the website and if there are any additional costs.
10) How can I use Social Media to help promote my website?
Social Media is becoming not only a great way of people to stay connected but also a great way for businesses to communicate with their clients & potential clients. Chances are you may already have a social media avenue for you company, like a Facebook fan page or are looking at setting one up.
Ask for advice on how you can use various Social Media channels, to help promote and integrate with your website. It could be as simple as adding social media links from your website back to your various Social Media channels.
Social Media Marketing can be a very effective way of building up rapport with your clients as well as bringing back traffic to your website on a regular basis.
11) Will the website be mobile and tablet compatible?
You will be amazed at how many people these days will be viewing your website on their smart phone and/or tablet. Having a website that allows the user to easily view your website on any of their devices can greatly help the user find the information that they are looking for quickly without leaving your website and going elsewhere…
So ask your web developer if your new website will be device friendly..? However you may need to pay an additional fee for this feature depending on the solution. You may decide that a dedicated mobile site is the way to go as you might like it really simple for people to call you straight from the mobile site. Or you might decide that you current site needs to be scalable or responsive as we call it and adaptable for a smart phone or tablet.
Speak with the designers about this and what options they are able to offer you.
12) How much will it Cost and how long?
Really this is the main question on everyone’s mind… How much will this website cost me and how long until it will be on the world wide web so that I can start making lots and lots of money out of it?!
There are many factors that come into play when working out how much the site will cost and the length of time it will take to build it. Some of which we have mentioned above…
The web designer might not be able to give you the quote straight depending on the complexity of your website unless they have a package that meets your budget and requirement, which could also be the case.
Time is also a tricky one, and will also depend on the complexity of the website but also additional factors like the size of the team they have to work on your project and how long it takes to gather all of the sites information and content.
13) What Packages and Services do you offer?
You will find that a lot of web developers/agencies will offer additional services that will complement the design and development of a website and they may package these services together. Things like combining your website development with on page SEO or some other online marketing services can save you money and help your website be found once it has been completed.
Ask them if this is the case and what the various packages contain and cost? There may be one that suits your budget and meet what you are after…
14) Can I get training?
If you do go ahead and decide to build the website then you are going to need to know how to use and update your website, especially if you do get some sort of CMS and/or shopping cart, once it has been completed. Most developers will offer you training on how to use your new website but ask anyway just in case…
15) Ask to see a portfolio of work?
You want to know that the person or company that you are hiring is capable of producing a good quality of work. More than that though is the fact that each designer and/or agency has a specific look, style and expertise (shopping cart, blog, etc) that they have developed or are known for… So it is important to match your brand with the web agency that can best embody your vision for your website.
That is it! =)
Hopefully this list of 15 questions you should ask a web designer when you meet with them, will go a long way in helping both you and the developer collaborate and together build an amazing website. It is an important processes as you want everyone who visits the resulting website to love it and come back time and time again and… Spends lots of money with you!
Aside from all of the questions, you want to make sure that you get along well with the web designers as you will be working closely with them. This is an investment after all and you want to invest in the right person/team.
What do you think?
Please feel free to leave us your feedback about what you thought of this article and if there are any questions that you may wish to add to this list, we would love to hear them! =)
Thanks for reading,