You’ve thought about it and you’re ready to go. You’re ready to give your business an online presence.
You want your own website.
That’s great but unless you are doing it yourself, you would be shopping for a website designer.
Some people would design their own websites but most people prefer to save themselves the time and money and hand the job over to the professionals.
But how do you choose a good website designer from so many website designers in this world? How do you determine who is good – able to deliver a good-looking website that reflects your professional services at its best?
How about asking these 10 questions?
Q1: Can I take a look at your website?
Ask for the designer’s website to look over. Yes, one would expect a designer to first and foremost design a great website for himself but you would be surprised to know that some web designers may not even have his/her own website!
The biggest joke is that some web designers declare that they’re so busy designing clients’ websites that they have no time to design their own! This is pure laziness. If they’re in the business of building websites, they should ensure their website is their calling card.
Once you get to their website, look at it critically. Do you like their website? Does the design tell you anything about the web designer? Is the design aligned with what you want? Their website should give you a good indication of what you are getting, in terms of design.
Q2: Can I see the work you’ve done before?
Get the website designer to show you his portfolio. Most designers will claim that they have designed plenty of websites but ask for the proof. Nothing beats judging the work yourself. Again, look at the design and ask yourself if this is the style you’re after.
Great designers do not only say they can do an excellent job, they will prove it with a good portfolio of work. (The portfolio of work is usually available online at the designer’s website).
Make sure the websites are live and online. Pay special attention to the tiny little words at the bottom of these websites which say “Website designed by (followed by the name of your website designer/his firm)”. This further proves that the designer did really design the website (and is proud to be associated with the design!). Some unethical and unprofessional web designers will post up website designs which they did not design!
Q3: How long have you been designing websites?
This is not a rude question. It is practical and makes sense because as a client, you want to know how many years the web designer has been in business. The longer the better because it shows the web designer has seen it all – the good, the bad and the broken code! If things get broken, someone has enough experience to fix it.
Skip this question if you can find it on their website. But let’s be honest – experience does count. A web designer worth his salt should be able to show you that he has been around long enough to understand how the web works and give you an idea how his web design can help your business.
Q4: Can you support my website as it grows?
Is the web designer capable of supporting you as your website needs grow? And in what ways? It is a myth that once you get a website done, you’re on your way to success.
With technology growing by leaps and bounds, getting a website for your business is just the first part of the story. You need to plan for future growth.
When we say growth, it means you should be able to add extras if you need them. Does your web designer support programming, e-commerce and other add-ons? Can he host your website for you?
Ask these questions now because you do not want to be left stranded when you need help the most. Granted, not every web designer can support programming but he should let you know that if you need it, he can get it done for you or else find someone who can do it for you.
Q5: Is the website designed for usability?
Is your designer only capable of designing a beautiful website without any idea of making it user-friendly? All the bells and whistles in the world would not help if your website remains non-usable.
An effective designer would not only help you design a great website but also design it for web usability. Usability means focusing on users’ needs, making it easy for users to navigate around your website and achieve what they came to do.
Every element on your website has a function. It’s not just for aesthetics that your company logo is on the top left-hand corner. It is not arbitrary that you have a certain colour scheme on your website.
An effective web designer would combine both aesthetic and functionality into one website that rates high on usability. After all, your purpose for having a website is to get visible on Google, (eventually) sell your products and services and be that marketing tool that you want. Remember, a good website focuses on the website users’ needs, not the web designer’s ego.
Q6: How much does it cost?
It is important to balance your requirements with what you are willing to spend. There is no point in asking for every feature in your website when your budget doesn’t allow for it. This means speaking with the web designer and discussing your exact needs so that he is fully aware of what you intend to achieve with your website.
Having said that, check that your web design quote doesn’t have hidden costs. Get a proper quote from the web designer and go over points which you are doubtful. If in doubt, ask and get clarification before your website is designed.
Don’t forget that website design packages usually include costs for domain name registration, web hosting and website maintenance fees. Domain name registration and web hosting are recurring annual fees which mean they need to be paid yearly.
Q7: Are you able to communicate effectively?
Some web designers just want to design your website but they don’t really want to communicate! This sounds shocking but if your web designer doesn’t want to communicate, it’s going to be a red flag.
How do you talk to him if he refuses to talk to you? Communication is important because throughout the process of creating and designing your website, many questions will be asked and you will offer feedback. Your web designer should be open about receiving feedback during the design process.
Communication is also important BEFORE your website is designed. Does your web designer have a process to gather ideas and input from you or is he a plain “yes-man” to everything you want?
Get someone who knows what website creation needs but also someone who understands business and marketing. Having someone who just understands creative design won’t do much for your business!
Q8: Are you generous enough to share your knowledge?
Many web designers know how to design but they may not know enough to help you understand the wild, wild west of web design. If they have the knowledge, are they generous enough to share what they know?
You may think that you would not need much knowledge but along the way, a knowledge-rich web designer would be a better bet to enlighten you and guide you especially if your business is growing.
Ensure you trust him. Ensure he is easy to work with. Nothing can be as disastrous as distrust between client and designer. And nothing ruins a relationship as fast!
Q9: Do you provide website copywriting services?
Ask your web designer if he provides website copywriting services. (Copywriting is the art of writing persuasive content for your website.) This is crucial as a website without content will not work! A website with rehashed content from your old website will not work. A website using content from your brochure or flyer or company profile will not work.
You need an experienced website copywriter to help you with your website content. Website copywriters can help you write content that persuades website users to take the next action on your website. Inherent in copywriting is the ability to build trust between your website users and your business. If website users don’t trust you, they will not contact you or buy your products.
Q10: Will you charge for Search Engine Optimisation services when my website is not found on Google?
Most websites are not search-engine optimised. This means most websites will not appear in Google search results. The web designer could then recommend that you subscribe or use his advertising services or add-on SEO (search engine optimisation) services.
The proper way is to develop a website with its SEO foundation strong and solid (all our premium websites are designed to have a strong SEO foundation so they are visible on search engines). In this way, you can choose to advertise if you want to, not because you have to.
We have a special report that you can download for the 20 other questions you can ask your web designer, the #1 mistake that most businesses make plus the 4 ways for your website to really deliver leads and sales. Click here to get it.