Questions to Ask When Choosing a Web Design Agency
Your website is your business’ biggest investment, it’s the first impression potential customers or clients will see, and it’s one of your most important marketing tools. Your website is the first portal for potential customers to make a decision about you and your brand. So, if you’re planning to invest in website design, getting it right is crucial because why waste your time or money on something that won’t perform? Ask your web design agency these questions:
Who’s working on the project?
Often when you meet with a web design agency to hash out the details of the website design process, they’ll send their senior, most experienced staff… the guys that know how to talk the talk. But often, they’re just the face of the business with unpaid interns doing the heavy lifting in the background. Make sure to ask about their website design and development team; are they qualified? Are they in-house?
It’s important to ask about who will be completing the project to get a good idea of how it’ll be handled and get a good gauge of how the company runs. The people working on your website will depend on the scope of website design, development, and any extra components you’re after; copywriting, SEO, PPC?
There’s no right or wrong answer here — outsourcing isn’t always a bad thing, it sometimes means the website designer knows their limits and having a smaller team on the job can mean communication will always be clear and timely.
What platform will the website be on?
It’s important to think ahead a few years… could your business expand or need an upgrade? Ask which platform your website will be developed on: WordPress, Magento, or will it be fully custom?
A full custom built website sounds cool and design-wise it could meet your vision and the necessities of your business. But realistically it’s an expensive, time-consuming process that creates more issues in the long-run. Updating, upgrading, and expanding the website will require a web developer every time and taking a DIY approach for a small update could end in disaster.
WordPress and Magento are the two most common Content Management Systems (CMS) and with good reason. Magento is the go-to for online stores as it’s an incredibly powerful E-Commerce platform.
WordPress provides stability and security, it’s a robust, low-maintenance CMS, but it’s effective. It’s simple to update and edit components and it allows the client to have more control of their website — think blog posts, specials, updating your team page.
Who owns the website in the end?
An important question to ask in the website design and development phase is whose intellectual property it becomes in the end. Ask if the domain name and hosting account will be registered in your name or the design agency’s and will your website be hosted on their servers?
It’s also crucial to ask the web design agency if there will be a lock in or ongoing contract to keep the site live or functioning.
What timeline will the development follow?
It’s good to have an idea of the design and development process from the beginning and you should have at least a rough date for the launch of your website. Asking about the timeline gives you insight into their process which can be important to understand… Understanding the website design process can help you align your schedule and know what the web design agency will require from you and when.
This is a good opportunity to ask about the less-fun stuff like what could cause delays and what will happen if a deadline isn’t reached.
Can they host your website?
Web design agencies will typically offer web hosting, this is where your website will reside once it’s live. You may already have your own web host or server but it’s worth asking your agency if they have this capability — it can give your website more security as web design agencies should have stable and safe servers. Having the web design agency host your website on their server also acts as a form of insurance for your website. It means if things ever go wrong; it’s hacked or removed, the web design agency will rectify the problem for you.
What about the budget?
One of the most important factors for the client in the website design and development process is obviously the budget. While websites are a positive investment for your business, you don’t want to go broke before you get started and you definitely don’t want to find yourself with a pile of unexpected costs. Discuss the full scope of the project with your web design agency to agree on which services are included, what will cost you extra, and how many revision rounds you’ll be allowed before incurring extra fees.