Questions to ask a web designer

Questions to Ask a Web Designer

If you are hiring a web designer to create your website, you probably have a lot of questions. Even though you know what you want on a website, there are a lot of questions you should be asking that you likely haven’t thought about.  If you are not a web designer, we offer these questions to ask a web designer like what is included with their price, how long the project will take, and if they provide ongoing maintenance and support.

Scheduling a consultation or interview with your potential web designer can help you avoid nightmare situations like spending a fortune on a website you dislike or having your designer hold your website hostage if you decide you no longer want to work with them

With this in mind, these are the questions you should be asking your web designer before you start working with them.

When you build your website, you want it to the very best and a reflection of your brand. You also want to have some creative control over the final product.  Your website should be something you love, that brings you traffic, and that increases your sales in revenue. A pretty website is nice, but your website should be making you money. If it’s not, all you have is a fancy website that serves no value to you.

Do you have a web design portfolio?

An experienced web designer has worked on more than one website, and with more than one platform. Look through their portfolio.  Your web designer may only feature a handful of their websites in their portfolio.  Ask your web designer how many websites they have designed and if they can show you more of their work.

When you look through their portfolio, click through to the actual website and look around. Check them on mobile.  See how fast the website loads and whether or not their work matches your expectations.  Everyone has a unique sense of style. Your web designer should be able to take your vision and create something that you love.

How long will my website take to build?

Find out how long your website will take to build and when the designer will start on it.  Some websites are more complicated than others, but your web designer should be able to give you a time frame on how long it will take.

What do you need from me to create my website?

The biggest thing that slows the web design process down is not having content for the website. Some web designers will write the content for your pages, and create the marketing message for your website. Others rely on you to provide all of the content, images, and marketing message.

If you are looking for a web designer to help you grow your traffic and sales, see if they can help you develop the content, branding, and marketing for your website. This is actually the most difficult aspect of creating a great website.

Can you work with my budget?

Some web designers list their prices on their website or portfolio page, but most designers do not have a set price for web design. If your web designer builds custom websites, there will be many variables that determine the price. You’ll want to have a conversation with your web designer about pricing. Before you decide a web designer is out of your budget, talk to them.

Just because you don’t have a large budget to work with doesn’t mean you can’t have a high-quality website. Often, web designers will provide flexible options or will let you break the price of their services into payments if you ask them. Just like when you buy anything, you may be able to negotiate with them on pricing.

What is included with my website design?

If you don’t have a logo, for example, your web designer may include graphic design services.  However, graphic design may not be included in the price of a basic website.  Before you get started find out what is included, and how much any additional services will cost. Even if they have a website copywriter, it is a good idea to talk to the writer. If they aren’t a good fit, ask if you can have a discount on the design and then hire a writer who is a better fit for the project.

Will I be able to update the website once it is completed?

If you want to be able to edit your website without paying your designer to make all of your updates, find out whether or not you will be able to update your website. Many web designers don’t allow clients to edit their websites. Although there can be issues if you don’t know what you are doing, your web designer should be able to provide you training on how to use and edit your website. There may be an extra fee for this training, so talk to your web designer in advance.

Will you be hosting my website?

This is very important. If your web designer is also going to provide the hosting for your website, make sure you know what the process is for the cancellation of services with them.  Some web designers charge a very large fee if you decide to move your website to another host or web design company later.

Web hosting questions to ask your web designer

How often will you back up my website?

Find out how often your web designer will back up your website and if they will provide you with a complete backup of your website if you want to move to another hosting company later.  If you ever decide you don’t want to work with your web designer, you don’t want to deal with having to pay another designer to completely recreate your website. If your designer is unwilling to provide you with a full backup of your website, this is a big red flag.

Will my website have an SSL certificate?

SSL certificates are extremely important. As Google prioritizes user experience and security, having an SSL is no longer an optional feature for websites. If your designer does not have an SSL, the lock bar you see in the URL address bar, you should find another designer. Your website hosting should include an SSL certificate. Some hosting providers offer this for free, but there may be an extra fee for this.

Some other questions to ask your web designer.

You should always purchase your own domain name. Make sure that you will own your domain name.  Customers looking for web designers sometimes don’t understand how to set up a domain name for their website. They let their web designer handle all of the tech aspects of their website. Your domain name should belong to you and only you. Never pay a web designer to purchase your name for you. You can use GoDaddy, NameCheap, Network Solutions, or a number of other domain registers. You always want to maintain control of your domain name.

Ask your web designer questions about search engine optimization

Just because a company can build a well-designed website, doesn’t mean they are the right company to work with for your search engine optimization services.  Take a look at their website. See how they rank for their own keywords. If their own website doesn’t rank, well they are probably not an expert in search engine optimization. You can still work with them on web design, but consider using a separate company for SEO.

How fast does your web designer’s website load and is it mobile-friendly?

Before you work with someone on your website, take a look at their website. Does it load fast? Is it mobile-friendly?  Is it easy to use?  Your web designer’s website is their best form of marketing. If their website looks nice, loads fast, and is easy for you to use, that’s an indicator that they will do a great job building your website.

These are all important questions to ask a web designer before hiring them to build your website. The more you ask now, the better the experience later.

About the Author

Patty Malowney is the Co-Founder of the parenting website, JustMommies.com, and Founder of BadassWebGoddess.com, an Albuquerque digital marketing company that helps small businesses grow their online presence and increase their sales. She started her first company at the age of 28 and sold it a few years later to the dating company eHarmony.com She runs an internet marketing blog where she gives advice and tips to local businesses on how they can rank better in search engines.

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