Questions To Ask When Hiring a Web Designer
If you are looking to hire a website designer, there are some critical questions that you ask of
each and every potential web design company that you speak with. By making sure you fully
understand the strengths and weaknesses of the web designers that you speak to, you will
ultimately make a better hiring decision that will lead to the best possible results for your
online marketing efforts.
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What is your design process?
While there is more than one correct answer to this question, it is important to ask to make sure
they do at least have a web design process that they follow. It should make sense to you
logically. If it doesn't, ask questions. There may be reasons why it differs from your
Can we see a list of projects that you have completed?
This questions is often already answered this question before contacting the prospective web
designer, as just about all web design companies have an online portfolio that allow you to see
an archive of past work. However, it never hurts to ask the designer if there is more that you
can view. Their portfolio may not be completely up to date, and they may even be able to show
you "work in progress" that showcases some of their freshest designs.
Can you provide references from companies that you have done business with?
The portfolio of a website design company will show you what they are capable of building
and designing. But it is not until you speak to some of their past clients that you can really learn
about HOW the company does what they do. You'll very quickly find out how flexible they are,
what level of professionalism they offer, and if they are willing to go over and above the call of
duty to help their clients.
What will be the total financial commitment to complete the website that we are requesting?
It is essential that the web design (or development) firm that you hire put all work effort down
in writing and provide you with a cost for all major components of the project. This can include
(but is not limited to): domain registration, web hosting, content strategy, copywriting, website
design, web development, search engine optimization (SEO), and website maintenance.
While much of these costs will be one-time fees, some costs can be recurring, such as web
hosting, SEO, and website maintenance. Factor these monthly or annual costs into your cost
It is equally essential to be aware if the costs are of a fixed price nature, or if they are estimates
only, that may increase (or decrease) based on the number of hours actually spent on the
How do you handle change requests?
Given the nature of the website design process, inevitably your project will involve some
brilliant ideas along the way that were not originally specified in the original proposal or
contract. These ideas, if significant enough, will result in the project requiring a change request.
You need to understand the process that the web designer will take to incorporate these changes
and what the additional costs will be.
How long will it take to design, code, and implement my website?
Similar to the design process question, there will be a wide range of answers for this query. It
will depend on the size of the firm that you are speaking with, as well as the requirements of
If you have a deadline that the website must be completed by, it is best to let the design firm
know up front so that they can be realistic as to whether they can meet your timeframe or not.
If they say they can, ensure that the contract you sign with them includes a section outlining the
approximate design and development schedule. It is always wise to make sure there is a buffer
of at least 10% before your hard deadline, as even with the most careful of planning, projects
can take longer than expected.
How can we make changes to our website (after it has launched)?
For most companies, it makes sense to incorporate a content management system (CMS) into
the development portion of the website project. A CMS (such as WordPress or Drupal) will
allow you (the website owner) to make basic content updates to the website. This can include
editing of existing page content, addition of new pages, and updating of featured home page
If you are not planning on making many changes to your content, then a CMS may not make
financial sense. It may be suitable to utilize the website designer's maintenance service
offerings for site updates.
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While there are many more questions that you can ask your website designer, the above should
give you a good understanding of whether or not the website design firm is right for you, and if
they appear to be confident to complete the job on time and within a reasonable budget.