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21 Questions To Ask When You’re Hiring A Web Designer

Picture this! Scene: You enter your neighbourhood cafe or pub (but more realistically, you’re probably just in your office or room getting ready to compose that e-mail or attend that Zoom call. Regardless!!! 50 Cent’s “21 Questions” is playing faintly in the background.)

Finally, your eyes meet, and you smile at each other; and just like in the films you rewatch every Christmas–it’s your very own “meet cute”! (But not really, since it’s purely on professional terms and you two 100% planned this meeting.)

It is your first “coffee date” with your potentially new web designer! Hurrah! You’ve finally chosen one who has caught your interest after all the (I would assume) grueling hours of research you’ve done on the internet! All that reallocated time that was supposed to go towards managing your business (or re-binge-watching your comfort sitcom).

Either way, it is still quite exciting, isn’t it??? So, picking a potential web designer is just the start of the process. The next crucial step is knowing they are the right match for you and your company’s goals. 

And as Albert Einstein once said: “Only the one who does not question is safe from making a mistake.”

But my personal favourite is: “There are no right answers to wrong questions.” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Therefore, think of me as your web designer matchmaker, and as my free and most exclusive offer, let me coach you in asking the right questions to help you snag your perfect partner –professionally speaking. (What you do off the clock is none of my business, isn’t it!)

My first advice…if they respond–nay–if they make this joke: “What is this, 21 Questions?!”

Apart from I already did that joke, just now, one of the green flags to look out for when meeting this web designer person of yours is their confidence in answering any of your concerns and clarifications concisely and directly.

From the get-go, both parties should already understand that time is money, therefore, energy and clarity are important. No beating around the bush! (Again, what you do on–I mean–off the clock is none of my business!)

Here’s 21 Questions To Ask When You’re Hiring A Web Designer:

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1. Where can I see your previous projects?

A wide range of design experience can be valuable but if you are in a niche industry and want someone who is already comfortable with the industry standards and knows most about your current competitors, some companies or independent designers only feature a select few of their projects on their website, so if you want to see more of their work, make that your 22nd question: What experience do you have that is relevant to my project?

When perusing their portfolio, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions too:

  1. Is their work attractive?
  2. Does it align with your business goals?
  3. How was your user experience?
  4. Is the writing clear, compelling, and urges you to do the “Call-To-Actions”? 
  5. Are the visuals and special effects relevant and add more to the story?

Additionally, check their Google reviews and/or client reviews if applicable (it’s already a plus if they do have these things).

2. Will you review and assess my existing website for free?

Rebranding or rebuilding your website (if you currently have one) is important and one of the basic things for a designer and developer to review. If they won’t or say they don’t need to, that’s a red flag.

They need to understand where you are so far, your history, and your future goals as a company to design more effectively and accurately.

3. How much will my new website cost?

Based on my budget and business goals, which part of my website do you think is best to start investing in?

You know better than anyone what you can and can’t afford, so don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price–but remember one thing: you get what you pay for. I am in favour of being upfront about pricing, it gives both parties to manage expectations and plan better.

It also helps avoid add-on cost surprises, like e-commerce features, video and animation, brand photography, and content writing requirements. You may also have additional costs such as third-party software or platforms.

4. Do you work in-house, have a team, or outsource your projects?

To eliminate any misunderstandings on either side it’s a good idea to know who they’re working with and if possible, to review the third parties’ portfolios as well.

However, it is not your responsibility to communicate directly with the outsourced company as it will lead to complications in briefings and direction.

5. Who do I deal with and how will we communicate?

For more efficiency and centralised feedback, it is preferable to work with one or two decision-makers (the business owner) and especially if the project is bigger than usual and has a lot more moving parts, it is better to use a project management software aside from the standard emails or chats and video calls.

Larger agencies will have a project or client manager and you will want to communicate with this person frequently throughout the project; for everybody involved to have a copy of the project workflow to gauge the speed of the timeline and any delays.

6. How long will it take?

Of course, the answer will always be: “It depends..”

But a web designer should always be able to give you a timeframe based on the design and the content involved which was already agreed upon.

It’s also a good rule of thumb to allow extra time for unexpected issues and delays.

Launching your new business website, on average, doesn’t take more than two months, but if the timeline doesn’t fit your needs, clearly communicate the deadline, start with the most important and basic aspects, and read your contracts to avoid additional fees.

7. What do I need to provide you with and when?

Tell your vision and the website of your dreams and the designers will let you know how to get there and will be asking things from your end too!

Creating a website is like creating a baby–its foundation is built upon great collaboration and communication skills.

Therefore, do not expect your web designer to do all the work–most heavy lifting, yes–but ultimately, the website will be your spawn and should take after its main creator.

Even if you’re paying big bucks to an agency to do everything in one package (i.e. photography, videography, copywriting, etc.), the main message, personality, and “About” page will have to come from you.

Even if you’re not a great writer and storyteller, all the Creatives need are the raw materials and they’ll make Shakespeare out of you!

8. What is your design process?

It is a solid sign that your web designer can lead you through the entire process from “Strat” (-tegy) to Finish when they have a documented design process or SOP (standard operating procedure) and use project management software.

It makes the website process less stressful and more and less guarantees that the website done for you looks AND works smoothly after it’s done.

9. What support will you provide post-launch

Nobody likes a super clingy beau, so being able to still be somewhat independent is always the best-case scenario.

At the very least, if you don’t know already, your web designer may be able to teach you, so that you will be able to update your website–whether it be to update the pricing, testimonials, and changing images.

Try to establish a long-term relationship by asking if they will be available to work with you in the future and be able to help you whenever you need your website content to be updated.

Some have hourly or monthly contracts which will enable you to save a bit of money while keeping a reliable designer by your side.

10. Will I own the website?

Now, this shouldn’t be a custody battle! Very few clients ask this question, but it is an important one.

If you utilised third-party website builders (a.k.a. drag and drop design websites) like Wix, SquareSpace, etc. You own the content but do not own the website–you would have to keep paying a monthly or annual fee to keep your website running.

Other situations include the designers owning the website, which also means paying them to keep them running too but most often this is cheaper compared to the former.

Ideally, you should own your website but not entirely, as there as still plugins or themes used on your site which licences you have to renew from time to time. 

11. Am I required to provide written copies for my website?

These “texts” are basically the entire content of your website and thus very important! I recommend hiring an expert copywriter even if you thought you were the best English student in your high school class.

Most of the time, web designers are not content writers and outsource this service, to ensure that all the content follows the client’s brand and marketing strategy. Website writing, brand voice, academic writing, book writing, and blog writing are all different disciplines.

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, affects how highly it ranks in search engines, it also affects how many new sales or leads you get from it.

12. Do you have any questions for ME?

Your website designer should discuss in depth all the intricacies of your type of business.

If you can find a designer who specialises in your type of industry, that might be easier, as designing and building your website requires content that it is focused on creating the brand story, content writing and employ the best practices needed for your online presence.

13. What other services can you offer?

It is a challenge to find the elusive “Digital Unicorn” in the wild–a web designer who also has graphic and logo design skills, content writing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies, and marketing experience!

Your website shouldn’t be just beautiful but a marketing machine. Tell them what you need and if you want a certain work done specifically, because if the designer doesn’t offer it they may be able to connect you with another creative you two can work with. 

14. What happens if I don’t like the website?

Aesthetics is a very personal matter.

That is one of the reasons why you need to be involved every step of the way.

Ask your designer to have you sign off on every design before they start completely building it in order avoid a website that is off-kilter to your marketing goals.

Negotiations on the number of changes will be up to the designer’s policies.

15. How do you build your websites?

You need to ensure the platform your website is built on can do what you need it to do–different designers will build websites on different platforms like WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, or Showit.

It may be hard to change platforms once you have established one somewhere, therefore know what you can handle and learn a bit on how to edit too.

Some designers still code from scratch–which you should avoid, as this is a different digital “language” to grasp, especially if you are not that technically inclined.

16. Are your web designs responsive?

Google’s Mobile Index makes having a mobile-friendly design non-negotiable. A website that responds for desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile with one HTML code on the same URL is Responsive Web Design (RWD).

No matter where your customers view your content, the chances that they will be frustrated with the user experience will be slim as the website layout adjusts depending on the device screen size it displays.

Just remember how you would close a website the moment you experience the slightest inconvenience in browsing through its contents–whether it be because of loading speed or that you’d have to scroll horizontally just to read the rest of the texts!

17. How many pages will my website have?

A website is never really done as you would always want to add new content and keep your service offerings up-to-date. But most small businesses have a five-page minimum: Homepage, About, Services, Blog, and Contact.

Web designers will create a site map to help get a clear picture of all the pages on the site. Some designers charge extra for these pages: 404 page, terms and conditions, privacy policy, cookie policy, and any other landing pages.

18. Can you build an E-commerce website?

Make sure you can add an online store to your existing site when you are ready. Otherwise, you would need to build another site and link it to your main site.

Know the opportunities and limitations of the CMS platform your designer will use and if its payment processors only accept certain types of currency or business depending on federal and state laws.

19. Will my website be secure?

Include an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer, is a standard technology protocol designed for securing communications between two or move devices over an insecure network) with every plan.

Properly maintaining a website includes keeping it free of bugs, hackers, and spam. Updating your site’s software and plugins, getting routine backups, and an SSL certificate is crucial to ensure ongoing performance. 

20. Is my website has accessibility?

Disabilities Act was established to make all spaces accessible including websites.

Ask your web designer what the website accessibility testing process looks like.

It’s important to optimise your website to create a smooth user experience for all visitors.

21. How long is the checking process AFTER the website goes live?

The work is not over, after your website goes live because it takes time after launch, for quality control and here’s are few things on the checklist that your web designer has to do for a new website after your new site is officially live:

Technical checks: check the header and footer are working correctly, every page and every link–especially anchor links, place a test order in the online store, etc.

SEO checks: check that the SSL certificate, run an SEO analysis tool, remove any dead or draft pages, etc.

Backups and decluttering: take screenshots and PDF snapshots of every website page, create a worst-case site backup in XML format, etc.

Training and handover: updating bio, adding a blog post, or sending the first email to the new email list, etc.

How we can help

Remember, design is subjective, so it’s important that you are flexible in that aspect and trust that your designer knows their design and colour theories. This is why this entire process is a collaboration and group effort–as the business owner who knows more about the marketing goals of your company and the nature of the industry, you are communicating these requirements to your web designer and they, in turn, try to make the customer experience as technologically cost-effective, discoverable, and as pretty as possible.

Are you ready to swipe right on us? Krystal Designs might just be your Digital Marketing Unicorn! Contact us for a FREE limited-time discovery call.

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Krystal Blackwell

We transform your business, whether B2B or B2C, by creating an effective website that not only converts leads and increases awareness but also ensures you stand out in a competitive market, all achieved with minimal demands on your time for marketing.

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Get Your Essential Guide to Creating a Successful Business Website

Quickly sum up the value of your website by asking your web developer the right questions

Get Your Essential Guide To Creating A Successful Business Website

Quickly sum up the value of your website by asking your web developer the right questions.