Whether you’re planning to build a site from scratch or redesign your old website, choosing the right web designer can be a daunting task. You need to get acquainted with the different aspects of the project and, most of all, know what the designer can and can’t do. So, before you hire a web design agency, ask them the following questions first to decide if they’re the right fit for you:
1. How much time are you going to spend on researching and planning? In the initial stages of the web design project, the design agency should spend several hours on researching your business, competitors and market. The web design process will go smoothly when things like website functionality or content structure are planned beforehand.
2. Do you have marketing experience? Your website must be made with your customers in mind, and your designer needs to know who they are building the website for and, based on the findings, use the right verbal and non-verbal cues to influence potential clients.
3. Who is the project manager and who designs my website? You will probably stay in touch with the design agency for several weeks, so it’s important to know who the key people that are managing the project are. Usually, there are several people involved in the project, each with different tasks, such as programming or graphic design. If you can communicate well with them, you’re on the right track.
4. What do I need to provide so we can start the project? If you already have a brand and know what content your website should include, communicate your ideas to the web designer. On the other hand, if you don’t plan to provide any assets, ask the design agency if they can supply it for you (e.g. photos and copywriting).
5. Will my website be responsive? Mobile devices have surpassed traditional desktop computers in terms of Internet usage. Websites with a responsive design work well on all devices (such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers) and this is how you will want your website to be. Most design agencies will make your website responsive, but it’s always a good idea to ask them this question just to be sure.
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#BrightPinkStudio” url=”http://bit.ly/1SEL7vk” display_mode=”box”]When working with a web designer, ask don’t assume: will my website be responsive?[/tweetthis]
6. When will my website be finished? Obviously, you want to know how long the project will take, but the answer depends on the complexity of your site. Moreover, it also depends on how fast you can supply assets (copy, photos, etc.) if you plan to do this. Another factor is how fast you can make decisions based on the suggestions of the design team.
7. Will you register my domain name and hosting account in my name? Most design companies will register your domain in your own name, but you need to make this clear in the preliminary stages of the project. You can also register a domain name yourself and give the details to the agency. A good design agency will provide you with multiple domain registration and hosting options that suit the needs of your website.
8. What happens if I don’t like the initial design? You must have seen and liked the design agency’s work on their website before deciding to discuss a plan. However, it might happen that you won’t be happy with the initial design of your website once it’s drafted. In this case, the design agency will either offer unlimited changes until you are satisfied, or request payment for the extra work. Discuss this beforehand so you know what to expect.
9. How can I change or add content to the site in the future? Usually, the design agency will build your website on a Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress. A CMS allows you to easily make changes to your website, such as updating content, adding new products or pages, etc. In some cases, your site won’t be based on a CMS and you will have to rely on the agency or another web developer to make changes.
10. Do you offer training for updating my site? In case your website will be based on a Content Management System and you or your team is not experienced with using it, ask the design team if they can provide training. Although a CMS is overall simple to use, it’s best to get insight on how to manage your website from the design team that made it.
While all of the above questions are important, the one thing you might be asking yourself first is: how much will it cost? The answer depends on the size of the website and all the included features, but expect to pay around $3,000 for a small business website, and more for online stores or very complex websites.
All in all, try not to rush into hiring a web design agency. Ask them all possible questions, look for reviews and referrals, and research the web design market before making your decision.