Choosing a good web design agency to work with is not an easy process, so we decided to make it a bit easier by compiling these 21 questions to ask. Pick and choose the questions that best match what you need to achieve with your online business.
Before you start talking to web design agencies we recommend that you check out our article: “3 Things You Should Do Before You Look For A Web Design Agency“. Knowing what you are looking for is half the battle. The next half explored in this article is finding the right web design agency to create/update your website with all of the features and functionalities that you need.
Project Management Questions
- How long will the project take?
- What assets am I responsible for providing?
- Will I be given status updates and can I ask for directional changes during the project?
- What other services do you offer?
- Can you design a website with my requested features within my budget?
- Can I get a quote?
- Are your websites fully responsive?
- Do you build custom sites or use templates?
- Which content management system do you use?
- Before launching the site what is your quality control process?
- Will there be downtime during the transition from the old site to the new?
- Can you build an e-commerce site?
- Can you add a paid membership system to the site?
- Can you automate tasks such as emails, invoices or product stock numbers?
- Can you show me some sites that you built for businesses similar to mine?
- What conversion strategies do you think would bring the best ROI (Return on Investment)?
- Do you have a way to keep track of conversions?
Long Term Considerations
How long will the project take?
If you have a well-defined scope/list of features you need on your site, any web design agency worth its salt can give you an accurate ballpark time estimate for the project. They will also ask you clarifying questions about the project to ensure that they get started on the right foot.
What assets/information am I responsible for providing?
Some web design companies have in-house copywriters, photographers, and designers. Others will offer only one or two of these services. If you will be responsible for providing photos and content it is best to know this from the beginning of the project.
Will I be given status updates and can I ask for directional changes during the project?
It is rare for everything to go exactly to plan during a website build. Often during the building process, a client will realize that they need a new feature or page/s on the site or a certain specific feature request from the original scope isn’t cost-effective.
Flexibility is key. Good web design companies will do their best to work with you to modify the scope of the project to fit your needs as things change over time. If you are asking for something that will add a significant amount of time to the project the web design agency will let you know and give you a time estimate and price so you can make an informed decision before you decide to go ahead with the additions.
Status updates are also key, so that important changes to the design and functionality of the site can be made right away without wasting your project hours. That’s why at Webaholics we send all of our client’s weekly emails updating them on what we are working on that week, what we finished last week, and what aspects of the site are ready to review for approval. If you don’t like the initial design you can let us know right away and we can quickly build an alternative design for you to review before building out the rest of the site. This process saves you time and money by keeping project hours from ballooning past the initial time estimate and benefits us in much the same way.
What other services do you offer?
It’s rare for a web design agency to be a one-trick pony. If you really like the web design agency that you hired after working with them it can be really convenient if they can also take on your digital marketing, social media, graphic design, email marketing, or other related services that your business may need in the future.
For example at Webaholics we offer:
- Web Design
- e-Commerce Design & Automation
- Lead Generation/Digital Marketing
- Graphic Design
- Motion Graphics/Simple Video Editing
- Technical SEO
Can you design a website with my requested features within my budget?
The difference between a novice web design agency and one you can rely on is how many questions they will ask you about the project. Great web design companies make sure to create a clearly defined scope from the beginning.
Once the scope has been defined and they have given you a time estimate and price you can make changes to the scope to better match your current budget. Often if the price is a bit higher than you can afford you can build a site with only the key features and add other nice to have features at a later date.
Can I get a quote?
Often web design companies don’t list out prices on their site, because each project and the time it would take to complete it varies drastically from client to client. That’s why they prefer going over the project over the phone or email to get a good idea of what you need for your project, then they can give you a more accurate quote and timeframe for the project. If the web design agency decides that your project is not a good fit for them they can often refer you to other web design companies/services that will work best for your project and budget.
Are your websites fully responsive?
Why this matters. The split between people who view websites on mobile versus desktop is roughly fifty-fifty. If your site doesn’t work on mobile or is poorly designed for it you are missing out on half of your potential customers! That is no laughing matter. Mobile can no longer be an afterthought when everyone and your Grandma has a smartphone.
2020 Stats | 50.33% Mobile | 47.04% Desktop | Tablet 2.63%
Do you build custom sites or use templates?
Fortunately, customizability and templates are not mutually exclusive. Depending on which content management system a web design agency is using the features and designs your site could have could be potentially endless or severely limited.
For really specific unique needs you may need to hire a developer to build a custom solution for you. This can be prohibitively expensive. Most businesses however do not need custom development for their website since WordPress has the best of both worlds. You can plug in just about any functionality you need into a WordPress site up to creating a fully-fledged eCommerce store or complicated membership system.
Which content management system do you use?
A good website is never finished. Over time you will need to update and maintain your website. Depending on the content management system you choose, maintaining and updating your site could be a breeze or a herculean nightmare of epically expensive proportions. The worst-case scenario is that your site’s backend is so complicated that you need to hire a developer to make minor changes.
The best-case scenario is that the content management system you choose is easy to learn and edit yourself so that you only need to hire developers to sort out more technical problems with the site. Over time this saves a great deal of time and money. Carefully considering which CMS to use ahead of time can save you a lot of grief later on.
At Webaholics we’ve had a few clients who hired developers that made sites that were not designed to be easy to customize, change and edit. We transferred their content to our favorite CMS system and freed them from having to rely on developers for minor site changes indefinitely.
Popular CMS Platforms
- WordPress (27+ Million Websites)
- Wix (3.8+ Million Websites)
- Squarespace (2.2+ Million Websites)
- Joomla (1.5+ Million Websites)
- Shopify (1.4+ Million Websites)
Before launching the site what is your quality control process?
If a web design agency does not have a quality control process for its new website builds before going live. Run!
It is good practice to test new websites in all of the major browsers: Google, Firefox, Safari & Edge to make sure that they are working properly no matter which browser the customer is using. Sites should also be thoroughly tested in mobile to ensure that they are easy to use and still look great for mobile users.
Your website designer will often be the last person to look at the site before it goes live. Great web developing companies make sure to do one last grammar, spelling, and functionality check before bringing your new site into the limelight.
Will there be downtime during the transition from the old site to the new?
Depending on how a web design agency builds your new site it can take a couple of days or be practically instantaneous transitioning from your old site to the new one. At Webaholics we use a design domain name and when the new site is ready to go live we switch the new site to your current site’s domain name, so that the transfer is instantaneous, but it can take 2 – 3 days for it to fully propagate.
Can you build an e-commerce site?
If you are running an e-Commerce business it is especially important that your new site works well without a hitch and is easy for your customers to navigate. Look for web design agencies that have built e-Commerce stores for other clients and make a list of the key functionalities you need and want to have for your e-Commerce store. Web design companies will often know ways to make managing your e-Commerce business even easier by automating repetitive tasks.
Can you add a paid membership system to the site?
Generally, membership sites are educational in one form or another. Whether you are leading a proprietary trading firm like Maverick Trading or a Coaching business that helps salesmen reach their full potential, having a well made paid membership site is well worth the cost. Membership sites can be fully automated so you can focus on creating the content and/or services that caused your customers to sign up in the first place.
Can you automate tasks such as emails, invoices, or product stock numbers?
Websites are powerful tools, especially when combined with CRMs (Customer Relationship Management), LMS (Learning Management Systems), and e-Commerce. The initial cost of building a website can be returned with interest by all the time saved by automating your online business as much as feasibly possible. Professional web design companies will often have one or several solutions you can choose from to fully optimize your business online, so this question is definitely worth asking.
Can you show me some sites that you built for businesses similar to mine?
Many established design companies will have quite a few sites in their portfolio, so the odds are pretty good that they have at least 1 or 2 sites in your industry to give you a better idea of what your finished site could potentially look like if you hired them. You might also see features on the web design agency’s client sites that would also be good for your business.
What conversion strategies do you think would bring the best ROI (Return on Investment)?
The fundamentals of effective lead generation stay the same, but the details change from industry to industry and no one knows your own business better than you do, so you probably have some pretty good ideas already on how to best acquire new leads.
Your web design agency can take your knowledge about your business and customers to design the optimum lead generation system for the web. Most of it can be automated so that you can focus on converting new leads instead of wasting time on the nitty-gritty details.
Do you have a way to keep track of conversions?
The only way to really know if your site is a good return on investment is if you have a way to keep track of your visitors and their conversion rate. At Webaholics we use 4 tools to keep track of this data: Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, and SEMrush. If you need to keep track of sales calls we also include Twilio so that you can know whether your customer called from a page on your site, a print ad, or somewhere else entirely.
Will my site be secure?
No site on the web is 100% secure, but it is possible to drastically increase your site’s security. Web design companies that use WordPress should make sure to use plugins and themes that are kept up to date. There are also security plugins like Wordfence that can be added to your site depending on your security needs.
Do I need to maintain the site?
As a general rule of thumb, the answer is yes. Over time your business hours may change, or a pandemic like Covid may hit and you need to share new information with your customers.
Keeping your website up to date is essential. Not just for your customers, but for security reasons as well. Outdated sites are significantly more likely to get hacked than sites with up to date code. If you don’t want to maintain your site yourself many web design companies offer monthly retainers to keep up with any content changes and keeping your site’s theme and plugins up to date and secure.
How easy will the site be to edit?
Good websites should be easy for you to edit and maintain yourself in the long run especially if you own a small business with a limited budget. That’s one of the many reasons we love WordPress at Webaholics. It is easy to hand over completed websites to our clients and give them a quick walkthrough on how to edit and add pages to the site. We are also happy to answer any other questions they may have after a site is complete so that they have all the knowledge they need to maintain the site themselves without having to hire us to make minor changes.
If you want to save time by hiring a web designer to maintain your site for you we also offer retainer services.
Do you offer web retainers?
Web retainers can be a more affordable solution long term, especially for larger businesses/companies. If you regularly need updates and additions made to your website it can be much cheaper to hire a web design agency on retainer than to hire an in-house employee to take care of your business’s website.
Do you have any other great questions to ask before hiring a web design agency? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add it to this article. If you would like to start your web design agency search here give us a call at (801) 890-3839 and we’ll answer any questions you may have.