10 Questions to Ask Your Website Developer – Here are 10 Must-Ask Questions to ask any website developer. A Small Business Guide to Hiring a Website Company.
10 Questions to Ask Your Website Developer – Small Business Guide
It sometimes seems that everyone knows a handful of “website designers”. Most anyone CAN build a website. It’s called Wix…or Web or Go-Daddy. But creating an accurate reflection of your business, well that’s another story.
Here Are 10 Questions to Ask Your Website Developer
1.) What Platform Do You Use?
This should be your very first question. Many wannabe developers use drag-and-drop HTML editors like Wix and Web. At a minimum, anyone you would actually pay for a website should be working in WordPress. If that is their answer, ask if they use free templates or premium.
Ideally, you’d want someone who could code a custom website in HTML5 and CSS3, as well as being proficient in WordPress. This way, even a template based website can be tweaked with code changes for a more unique look and feel, or you can have a custom built website from the ground up, that has no equal. Be sure to ask about conduct code validation to ensure site coding complies with W3C standards and Google Best Practices.
A simple way to help you connect to this question is to remember that people online don’t all use the same web browser or operating system. Designing and developing to standards gives your website the ability to look and function the way it should on different devices.
Tip – Always ask about a business blog/updates/news page. By doing so, you can engage in Content Marketing
2.) What Do You Need From Me to Get Started?
Rule #1 – Content Doesn’t Grow on Trees. If this is a brand new site with no “Content Conversion”, you will need to provide images, logos, and CONTENT. Even if you choose to have the firms copywriters dress it up, you’ll still need to get them basic information about your business,
Sadly, many web designers, as well as many business owners, focus on the design of the website and forget about content until later. This is always a costly mistake!
A successful website is one that communicates its content effectively.
The words on your website have the power to make your website a success, or a failure. The content needs some planning to ensure it will provide the information your website visitors need, and that it will work to convert website visitors into customers, as well as being optimized for search engine results pages (SERP).
Tip – Ask about logo creation. If you want a new logo or an updated logo, now is the time when you are designing a new site.
3.) Will Any Work Be Outsourced?
Back to the taxi driver that moonlights as a website developer. These are not the only folks that take a small chunk of change and outsource the work. Even bigger marketing firms outsource. You definitely want it all to stay in-house with one contact, where nothing get lost in translation.
Compare apples to apples. Don’t compare a reputable company’s prices to a guy working out of his bedroom with a ‘team’ on the other side of the world.
Tip – Ask what other SEO or Content Marketing Services are offered, and if the website will be built to accommodate future marketing efforts.
4.) Can I See My Website as it’s Being Created?
A reputable web design firm will make your in-progress website available for viewing during each phase so you can make suggestions, color and image changes, content edits, etc. Inquire about the review and input process that you can expect.
Tip – Stay away from any website creation firm that asks for 100% of the invoice to even get started.
5.) What About Downtime?
If you are redesigning a current existing website, ask about the process of replacing it with the new one, like timing and downtime issues.
Tip – If a website firm only uploads new sites M-F 8-5, you may need to look elsewhere.
6.) How Long Will It Take?
Many factors determine the time scale such as the size of the website. And remember that you have some obligations along the way, so any delays on your part may hold up the design process. Knowing an estimated completion date is a good way to set a target and aim for it with your chosen design firm.
Tip – For an average small business website, 2-4 weeks before going “live” is typical.
7.) Will It Be Mobile Responsive?
It pains us to include this question. But we included it for two reasons. First, we still see new websites go up, typically around the $500-700 pricing point, and they are not mobile responsive. It’s imperative.
And secondly, if they are working with WordPress templates, not all templates work the same on mobile. The site must absolutely be tested on various mobile devices before going live.
Tip – Whether the final look is over the internet or in-person, you must pull up the site on a smartphone.
8.) What Are The Ongoing Costs?
Aside from managing content, imagine you don’t want to add any new functionality to your site after it goes live. What are the costs of keeping your site running as is? Ask about hosting, domain names fees, security updates, SSL certificates, etc.
Tip – Ask who owns the website (you should). And if there is a content management system, does it come along if you change hosting?
9.) How Many Revisions Are You Willing to Make?
Be wary of developers or companies who limit your number of revisions or want to charge for simple changes. Nothing is perfect on the first try, and your developer should be willing to work with you to get things where they should be, no matter how long it takes, before it goes live.
Tip: Trust your “web guy” (or girl). If you are not exactly sure what’s best, go with their suggestions.
10.) What Can I Accomplish With A New Website?
You probably have at least some idea of what you hope to achieve with a new website. But it’s a great question to ask your potential website designer.
A good web development shop might ask you this question, a great one will answer it.
Tip: Know the differences between “graphic design” and “website design” One is pretty pictures, the other is website functionality.
10 Questions to Ask Your Website Developer
Bonus: Think Ahead – Ask “How Would You Market My Site?”
Believe it or not, just having a website is not enough. To be successful, your website, and how it is promoted is important. A full-service web development firm should have a marketing edge that outlines a plan to take your site to the top.
Find out if the website developer can explain branding? Do they know Content Marketing? Can they give examples or case studies of websites they have created that brought in additional revenues for the client? How was that facilitated?
Tip: Ask to see a sample marketing plan to see how their total package might work for you.