I’m going to be talking about six questions that you should be asking your web designer before hiring them. Now we all want to do it ourselves and want to think of the idea for the business, come up with the domain name, create the website and to set up the email but realistically not everyone has all of the time and all of the skills to do everything end-to-end so there’s a good chunk of us out there that prefer to use a web designer instead.
So as we’re all using lots of web designers what are the good questions that you should be asking them before you hire them?
Question #1 – Their Design Portfolio
The first thing is to ask “Can I see your portfolio?” and by that me I mean can I see the work that you’ve done to date. Now web designers have a really wide range of skills but they’re certainly not equal! Some of them are really good at the design part of web design and other people are really good at the project side, the build side and the development side so you need to decide if what you’re looking for matches the skills of the web designer you’re looking to use .
So the next thing to think about is whether there’s anything in their portfolio that you actually take a shine to because it could be that you really help your project and cut the length of time you’re in development by picking an example or template site that they’ve created before and asking them to use that as inspiration for your project.
Question #2 – Website Updates And Changes
So the second question you need to ask your web designer is “Will I be able to easily update the site when it’s finished?” and the key thing here is who’s going to have the keys to the engine and who’s going to be able to get under the hood and make changes to the website. Will it be you or will it be your web designer. Will you be able to do some stuff while your web designer is able to do other stuff? Now this kind of depends on what platform they’re designing the website using. Using a WYSIWYG website editor something like the Versys website builder where anyone will be able to make any changes they want on the website which means that you will be able to make the change to the site. You won’t be reliant on your web designer to do that. It might be that they choose or that you both together choose to use a CMS, something like WordPress, in which case you’ll probably be able to create and edit pages on your site but you might need your web designer to change templates and make more fundamental changes to your site.
Question #3 – Website source files
Of course then the final option is that if they hand-code the site, in which case it’s probable that you’re not going to be able to make any changes going forward, you’re going to have to rely on them to do everything and of course if you are relying on your web designer to do everything there are two considerations: It’s going to take a bit longer to make changes and it’s certainly going to cost you some money as well so the third thing that you should be able to ask your web designer is “Will you provide me the source files once the project is underway or once the project has finished?”.
You need to know if you have the option to take those source files that is the actual work that your web designer is creating and potentially give it to someone else in order to complete the task if the project does go wrong at any point or if you just decide to use someone else to create your website. So you need to know that you can get the source files for your website and the answer really should be “yes”.
Question #4 – Who owns the website?
So the fourth question to ask them is “Will I be the registered owner of my website?”. Lots of web designers would register the domains for the websites that they’re working on even if it was a client site rather than their own and that doesn’t mean to say that they had any intentions beneath that, it might have just been that was convenient for them to do so at the time. Perhaps they couldn’t get hold of their client in order to get all of the details necessary for the registration of the details they had were incorrect so they just decided to register the domain in their own name and that’s fine if it works well at the time, but if the relationship starts to sour at any point, that client is going to want to have their website back and they’re going to be one to be recognized as the official owner of that website so it’s important that you make sure that your web designer is buying your domain on behalf of you and that the domain is registered to you so that you are the legal owner and registrant of that domain.
Question #5 – Can I see drafts?
Then finally that gives you the option to transfer that domain away from your web designer into perhaps another web host where you have full control of how it’s being used so the fifth thing to question to ask your web designer is “Can I see the drafts of the website before you actually finalize the site?”. It’s really important to understand that you need to review your site before it goes live and you need to do this really thoroughly . You need to almost try to break it to find something that doesn’t work with it. Rigorously check the copy rigorously check the links, and rigorously check that all the images work in the place that they do because once something is published on the internet there’s a record of it there forever and certainly if Google crawls your site and its content that you’re not happy with or content that’s incorrect or that doesn’t position you in the right way there’s the potential that you will not appear for the searches that you want to appear in.
Google will make an assumption about what you do based on that first crawl and that will be an assumption that you have to overturn over a period of time so it’s really important that you get to see the draft of your website before it actually gets published and it goes live.
Question #6 – What SEO will you do?
The sixth question to ask your web designer is “What SEO techniques will you use on your site?”. It’s often the case that web designers overlook this because SEO is a somewhat technical area that the web designers will say to their clients that they worry about. If you are a client it’s important that you know what they mean by handling the SEO. There are lots of things that go into SEO. There’s how crawlable the website is, how easy is it to navigate from link to link, how it can help Google understand what other pages portray, and then what the page topic is. These are all slightly different areas and it might be that your web designer is very good in one part and not-so-good in another so if they are saying that they are going to look after the SEO, you need to know exactly what that means . Maybe they’re just going to take care of getting the website registered with Google Webmaster Tools and that’s all they mean by SEO. Maybe they say they’re going to review your copy and make sure that it has the right keyword density. These are vastly different tasks so it’s important that you understand what they mean by handling the SEO