There are over 1.9 billion websites online today, although less than 200 million are active. Even if you only work with the second figure, that’s a lot of competition for your website.
So it’s vital that your website is easy to use and provides the right information to your customers. Hiring a web designer is the best way to represent your brand properly online.
But how do you decide which web designer to hire? You need to know a smart question to ask in your initial call.
Here are the nine crucial questions to ask a web designer before you hire them.
1. Do You Offer Other Services Besides Web Design?
Think SEO, marketing funnels, or social media graphics. You don’t need a web designer who writes codes based on SEO. But you don’t want bad code causing issues with your SEO.
Check out our guide to creating more SEO-friendly blog content.
And you shouldn’t expect a web designer to create the content for a marketing funnel. But if they understand how they work, they can bake the essentials for your funnel into your site.
Your new web designer may not have copywriting skills. But they no doubt work with someone who does. Ask for recommendations for these extra parts of your website.
2. What Industry Do You Specialize In?
Some web designers may appear to be a jack-of-all-trades. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a specialist has a more specific understanding of what you do.
They’ll know the required nuances and functionality of websites in your niche. That speeds up the design time because they don’t need to spend as much time doing research.
Ask the web designer about web design trends they prefer. That lets you work out which designers are up to date in their field.
3. Do You Have a Portfolio or Testimonials?
Most web designers have portfolios of existing websites. Some of them may provide a ‘before’ and ‘after’ snapshot. If possible, see if they have accompanying case studies to show the impact their design had.
Make sure their websites are responsive. The Google Mobile Index means mobile-unfriendly pages get penalized in the search rankings.
If they have testimonials from satisfied clients, that’s even better. You’ll be able to trust their workflow. Check out the Brader Design website for an example of what portfolios should look like.
4. How Many Pages Are Included in Your Quote?
At a bare minimum, most websites contain five pages. A home page, a page detailing your services, a blog, a contact page, and an ‘about’ page.
The quote should cover these five pages. But extra pages may incur further costs. Ask about a detailed breakdown of what they’re quoting for.
It’s also a good idea to check what the cost of the redesign covers. You may need to buy a new domain name or pay for extra hosting.
E-commerce sites need a different skillset to service business websites. Your designer will need to know this upfront.
5. How Much Contact Will We Have During the Project?
No designer wants their client hanging over their shoulder at every move. But you should be able to review the work as they go. Otherwise, mistakes can linger far longer than they need to.
It also saves designers from wasting time on design directions that don’t fit your brand.
6. Which Platform Do You Use?
Does the designer code from scratch in HTML, CSS, PHP or another programming language? Or do they create the design and then hand the coding work over to a developer?
Some web designers use a template-based system like Squarespace. Or they use a content management system like WordPress. Either of these options is ideal because you’ll be able to access the website to add content at a later date.
That’s essential if you plan to blog about your company.
Ask whether they custom design sites from scratch or use templates. This affects the price you pay.
7. What Maintenance Do You Do Post-Design?
Not all clients need to keep working with designers after the website is finished. They’re happy to update plugins and themes or track their WordPress installation.
Some clients prefer ongoing maintenance so there’s someone to turn to if things go wrong. That can include plugins becoming incompatible or theme updates breaking your site’s code.
Work out which post-design level of maintenance you need and ask if a designer offers that. Check they provide any custom graphics as original files so work can continue if they go on vacation.
8. How Long Will My Website Be Down?
Some designers build websites in a staging area for complete testing. They can ensure your website will work in all browsers and on various devices before going live.
This also ensures the least amount of downtime for your website. But there will still be a period where the code switches from one design to another.
Make sure you find out how long this period will be. You don’t want to pay for an ad campaign to send traffic to a website that isn’t live.
9. What Do You Need from Me to Complete the Work?
Check in advance what the web designer needs from you. You’ll be able to assess how they approach their work.
Making sure they have everything they need will make the project run smoothly. That includes passwords, copy, graphics or access to your hosting.
You can budget for outlays like stock photography if the designer doesn’t supply images.
Now You Know What Questions to Ask a Web Designer.
Hiring a web designer can be a daunting prospect. There’s jargon to wade through and you may not feel qualified to compare designers.
Checking out portfolios, finding out how they work, and knowing what they need is essential. But this guide has given you a guide to the questions to ask a web designer before you hire them.
Another way to build your confidence is to read about web design before you contact designers. Why not familiarize yourself with web design through our extensive web tutorials?