I am lucky, my phone rings a lot from potential clients.
My favorite is the clean slate, no domain name, no host, maybe a few ideas. Those clients are more and more rare. Most everyone has a website by now, and so what I frequently hear, is “my web designer doesn’t know how do. . . . ” or “I didn’t know to ask when I hired a web designer.”
Had you asked the questions, the web designer probably would have told you they didn’t know . . . . but you, the client didn’t know to ask. This post is a list of questions you may want to ask before you hire a web designer / web design agency.
If you are a web designer, use this list to evaluate your skill set. How would you answer these “interview” questions?
- How long have you been in business?
- What types of clients do you work with most frequently.
- May I see your portfolio?
- How many people will be working on the site? Who do I speak with / who does the building / designing?
- Do you know / understand SEO?
- Do you host the site or do I?
- Will I have full access to the site once it is launched?
- What happens if my site goes down?
- How are updates handled?
- How does email work for my site?
- Will you install Google Analytics?
- Will you verify the site with Google Webmaster tools?
- Do you use forms? Are those forms held in a data base on my website or simply sent to my inbox?
- What happens if you (designer) go on a vacation and I need you?
- How do you stay current with technology?
- Do you build e-commerce websites, if yes, which platform will you use and why?
- What types of security will be on my website?
- Do you use free or premium plugins? If premium do I have the license key or do you? Will they need to be renewed at some point and if yes, how much will that cost?
- How long will it take to get my site live?
- Do you have any references?
- How many sites do you work on at the same time?
- Will you be creating any new accounts for me (MailChimp, a Gmail, etc) if yes, how do I get logins to those accounts?
- Do you set up social media profiles?
- Will we have a contract?
- Do I supply the images or you? If you, how do I know they fall under the creative commons and I am free to use them? If they will be purchased, do I get approval before you buy? How will I get the license codes for those images?
- Who writes the copy?
- What are your expectations of me as a client?
- How many revisions can I make during the building process?
- Will I have access to the website after it’s launched?
- Will I get training on using the site after it’s launched?
- Who does updates in the future?
- What kind of support can I expect after the site is launched?
Potential clients, I didn’t provide any editorial comments regarding responses to look for, because I don’t know the goals for your website.
Example: If you are engaging a designer and not only do you want a new look, but you want to be found in Google, then make sure the SEO question is on your list and you make your priority known.
From my vantage point of experience I suggest that you go ahead and ask some questions that may feel obvious. I have been engaged by a new client who has been blogging for six years and has just realized she has no idea how to access her subscriber list and guess what. . . neither does the web designer who set it up. Yikes.
If you are a client looking for a designer, let me know in the comments what you want to know, and if you are a designer accepting clients, let us know the questions you hear, or what you want clients to know when you begin working together.