So you’ve made the decision to get a website for your business, or update your existing site. 
 
It’s such a competitive market, flooded with so many options. You can do it yourself (or get a family member), if you - or they - have the time and skill (and believe me there is a lot of technical skill involved in getting it right…). Or you can hire a professional company or individual to design your website for you. This means that you can focus on what’s important to your business – and let the experts build your site for you. 
 
Here are Six Top Questions to ask your potential web designer. I’ll be expanding on this in a future blog post. 
 
1. Can I see some examples of your work? 
Ask to see a range of live examples of work that the designer has done to make sure you like their style. A lot of companies use templates for their designs. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, if you want something unique that really reflects your brand then you might prefer something tailor-made for you. You don’t want your site to look just like your competitor’s. 
 
This doesn’t have to cost the earth either, if you shop around. Talk to existing customers – you can ask your design company for references, or just Google “site designed by” and the company name and you should get a list of potential reference sites. Check that the web designer’s sites work on mobiles too. Being responsive is increasingly important as many users are now using their smartphones to search for products and services. 
 
2. Who will I work with to create the brief? 
Ask who the point of contact will be. Will it be a dedicated consultant or a range of people? Make sure you can relate to the person you'll be dealing with. Ask how the project will be managed, from capturing the brief to delivery of the new site. Check how easy it will be to get in touch with your contact person. Ask them what they know about your business or industry. How interested are they in your business and delivering results for you? 
 
3. What if I don't like the design? 
Check what the process is for revisions. Sometimes you might be limited to a set number of revisions – and you might get charged for additional changes. The more detailed the brief is at the start of your project the more likely you'll like the results. Ask what information the designer will capture from you so that you can plan for this. The more thinking you do about what you want your site to deliver the better it is for the designer to build you a site that works for you. Make sure you sign off the brief. 
 
4. What about content? 
It's not just about having a pretty looking page. The written content is critical to provide the information your visitors need. And careful thought needs to be given to keywords to help optimise your site in the search engines. Ask what help your web design company will provide. Do they have copywriting services, or partners that can help? If you have specialist products and services it can be very useful to get a professional writer to develop your content. Too much jargon can put visitors off – but not enough detail can also turn people away. 
 
Think about what content is most important and where your customers would logically look for this on your site. Your web designer will be a specialist in designing the right navigation for your site – make sure you think about what your visitors are trying to achieve when they come to your site – and make it easy! 
 
5. Can I make changes to the site myself? 
Check whether your designer will have to make any changes to your site. This can prove expensive if you plan to make regular changes. Some companies charge by the hour, or give you an allocation of time. 
 
Some design companies will give you a content management system (CMS) to edit your site. Ask for a demo of this. Make sure it's easy to use! Ask whether they provide training as well. If the CMS is too complex the likelihood is that you won’t update your site. And this is really important as Google loves fresh, new content. 
 
6. How much will it cost me? 
Lastly, make sure you know exactly what your site will cost - including any extras and ongoing payments. Ask what the contract term is. You want to know what your financial commitment is. 
 
Your designer or consultant should provide you with very clear pricing based on your requirements. Check what features are included in the price, and more importantly, what aren’t. There may be some limitations to the package that you have chosen. Make sure you know how the extras are charged for and if you’re getting some customised development work, do sign off on a detailed specification. 
 
There are a lot more things you can ask your web designer, but these will give you a good idea where to start. 
 
If you’ve got any thoughts on other great questions let me know! 
6 Top Questions to Ask Your Web designer
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