Question 1. What is your client feedback like? Would you mind if I contacted a few businesses from your portfolio?
Right Answer:Yes of course, you’re welcome to contact any of our clients.
Wrong Answer: “We don’t have a portfolio” or “Our client’s details/websites are private” or “We would prefer you didn’t pester our clients, it’s unprofessional”.
Summary: A professional web designer should have a portfolio of their work and should have no problem with you contacting them. It’s not unprofessional, It’s actually the opposite. If you get these answers avoid this designer or agency as its obvious their clients (if they even exist) have nothing good to say about them.
Question 2. How much do you charge for web design? Do you charge a total design and development fee or will I get billed as the site is designed depending on features and any outlay.
Right Answer: Once we have all the info you will be given a total cost and payment structure, this won’t change as the design goes on, any outlay from us for things such as stock imagery is factored into the quotation.
Wrong Answer: We can’t give you an accurate price; we will just bill you as the site progresses
Summary: After sitting with you for an hour or exchanging a few emails a professional web designer will be able to give you and accurate design fee. Dodgy agencies often claim to have to purchase items, imagery and code for your site and bill you for them, I’ve even known agencies to bill for consultations or phone calls. This is nonsense it’s simply a way of getting you onboard with a good sounding low price then basically milking what they can out of you.
Question 3. Do you use the same template for every website or will my website be unique.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s simply down to a personal preference, but it is something that you need to ask. If you are getting a ‘One design fits all’ template then you should be charged accordingly, £100, £200 at a push because this isn’t web design and an agency doing this probably got the templates they use designed by a third party or even downloaded them so are not web designers themselves, This also brings up the question “What if you have any problems” or “What if you want something unique adding ” Will they be able to do it? Probably not and if you insist they will have to pay a third party and bill you… See question 2!
Question 4. Will you be writing my website in code (bespoke) or will you simply be installing or using a third party software package? Again, Not really a right or wrong answer for this one. There is however a massive difference between a web designer writing bespoke code for websites and one who uses open source software such as WordPress, One is a professional web designer and the other is simply an IT company who have learned to use a piece of software.
Some people knowingly choose a WordPress installer as their web designer simply because they believe it will be cheaper (as it should be) and the software has everything they need and they require no unique features, there are however a growing number of agencies installing WordPress or similar and charging extortionate fees sometimes more that it would cost to have a bespoke website designed, You need to understand that WordPress is FREE, you can install it yourself and learn how it works, at the end of the day it was designed by professional web developers as a DIY solution so how much should you really be paying someone to click an install button? Seriously most hosting comes with a one click WordPress install button…
There are other issues with WordPress, its open source so hackers can view the code to find exploits making it the most hacked website, can you risk this? It’s also extremely slow due to the amount of code needed to run, so when your site gets busy it becomes unusable.
Question 5. Do you consider the search engines when building and designing a website.
Right Answer: Yes of course, the website will be fully optimised for the modern search engines and fully compliant with Google guidelines.
Wrong Answer: Once the website is built it will need to be SEO’d which will cost you ‘x’ amount.
Summary: A professional web designer will keep up to date with all the latest marketing and design trends and Google guidelines so your website will be compliant and search engine friendly when designed, this doesn’t mean you will instantly end up with page one results (although I’ve seen this happen with less competitive niches) but you’ll be well on your way.
If you see someone using the term “You need your site SEO’d” run a mile, Also, designers saying that they will need to charge you extra to get it ready for the search engines are either simply trying to milk all they can out of you or don’t have the skill or knowledge to make sure your site is compliant and search engine friendly as they design it as they are probably using out of date or even online drag and drop software, in either case avoid these designers like the plague.
Question 6. Will the website be responsive, mobile friendly and work on tablets and mobile phones?
Right Answer: Of course, It’s been industry standard for about 2 years now, all websites created are responsive and fully compliant with mobiles, tablets etc
Wrong Answer: “We don’t know what that is?” or “We will build you a separate mobile website and charge you ‘x’ amount” or “We will have to charge you more for responsive design” Summary: Just as the right answer says, “It’s been industry standard for about 2 years now” So all websites developed within the last 2 years should be responsive and adapt to any device and screen size, Separate mobile websites were around a few years ago but nobody should be using this outdated technology now, It was always flawed as it detected device and not screen size and required constant code updates, also, tablet users often got served the stripped down mobile version when their device could easily handle the desktop version, another flaw was the fact that you had two websites to managed and update and two website sharing traffic…
All modern websites should be responsive and it should not cost extra
Question 7. Will I have the ability to make my own amendments and updates or will I need to come back to you each time I want something changing.
Right Answer: Your website will come with its own dashboard or CMS (Content Management System) allowing amendments and updates so you do not need to keep coming back to us for minor changes.
Wrong Answer: “For this feature you will have to have a WordPress site” or “You will need to contact us every time you need something changing and we charge ‘x’ amount per hour”
Summary: Again, It’s industry standard for the owner to be able to update their own website, Some CMS’s are more advanced than others depending on the agency who wrote it or the site it’s being used on, and, No you don’t need a WordPress site to be able to make your own updates, I hear this a lot from “amateur package installers” who are either trying to push you to have a WordPress install rather than a bespoke website being it’s all they can do or actually don’t know themselves, the later is the scariest.
Remember! WordPress was written using server code by professional web developers, of course a professional developer can build a bespoke CMS for you using the same code, it will also be a lot less complex than the WordPress dashboard and easier to use.