Website Design Tips
(6 mins read)

Hiring a website designer? Ask these 12 questions first

Asking the right questions is vital. Your website is not only a strategic investment but it could be the best ever investment you make for your business.

1. Do you write content?

Quite a number of web designers don’t help with content creation. It is the most critical element in your website’s marketing and performance. Good content will generate a return on investment.

The main reason a website designer won’t help with content creation is due to them not being good at writing. It is extremely important that the design and content be created simultaneously to achieve the perfect outcome for your website harmony and elegance.

You need to be careful that you don’t have too much content but also too little. A guide of around 500-600 words per page is sufficient.

2. Can you make my website show on the first page of Google?

Even if getting traffic on Google is not your priority, it’s advisable to choose a web designer who focuses on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as this is the only way to go when it comes to being visible on search engines. You’ll end up saving a lot of money if you get it right from the beginning.

If the website is not set up correctly for SEO from the beginning, you’ll need to recreate content and overwrite what was written previously on your website. This will cost more than you bargained for.

I always include SEO as a part of my website design service.

3. How many revisions do I get for my website build?

I personally believe that if you’re not fully satisfied with what the website designer has provided from their design brief, and you have a few more changes to make, then you shouldn’t have to pay extra for more revisions!

Question your website designer if they ask for more money for revisions.

Why should you pay extra if they are to make your website work for you?  It needs to be perfect, so perfection is what you should get. Make sure your web designer provides unlimited revisions… or you might end up paying much more than you expected! This should be clarified in the design brief.

4. Do you have reviews on any platform?

Reviews on a website cannot necessarily be fully trusted as they can be tampered with. And of course, only their happiest clients will be showcased.

You can check to see if they have any Google or Facebook reviews, or even Linkedin endorsements. By doing this, you get a better picture of their company service and profile. If you’re unable to find any legitimate reviews anywhere, then beware!  

You could check out their portfolio, but reviews tell more of a story around their client requirements.

5. Do I have full ownership and control of my website?

First thing to ask is… Do I have full control of my own website!

Too many web design agencies will unethically handcuff you to their services by holding your website hostage.

What happens if they move country or go out of business? Better to be safe than sorry… request all login details and full access.

6. Are you able to convert visitors into leads?

Here’s the thing.. The whole point of your website is to convert website visitors into paying customers. So your web designer should have a conversion strategy in place… they shouldn’t just be trying to make it “look pretty”.

Ask them what their strategy is ie understanding of customer business psychology, design principles, copywriting, site structure etc.

They don’t need to know your industry, but they should know how to create a strategy for you and your needs, and if they don’t, then perhaps they’re not a good fit.

7. Can you maintain my website on an ongoing basis?

Some web designers fail to mention that they won’t be able to help you after the site is launched. It is in your best interest to use the same website designer to update your website from an editing perspective and a technical perspective on a regular basis.

If they provide a referral designer, then they might not fully understand the overall strategy or structure of your website, causing mistakes to be made. Also, keep in mind that website “maintenance” means more than just making changes when your website is built on WordPress (which many websites are).

WordPress websites need to be maintained from a technical perspective too – so that things don’t break or get hacked. That’s why I use Webflow for many of my website designs and revamps to avoid the ongoing maintenance of the heavily coded plugins and having to rely on 3rd party apps.

8. What platform do you use to build?

The most popular platform is WordPress but there are many platforms to choose from.

Studies show that about 43% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress, with Wix coming in 2nd at 7%. For E-commerce platforms, Amazon wins hands down taking 45% of market share and Woocommerce comes in 2nd taking 10%.

Webflow, a platform around 15 years old is one of the leading companies in the “no-code” platforms, which is sweeping the globe. This is my preferred platform. It’s clean, it’s efficient and it’s easy to teach clients how to use. They currently hold 0.9% of the market but are growing rapidly.

9. What Strategy do you recommend for my industry?

While it’s not essential for your web designer to have direct experience working with a company in your exact industry, it’s important to know what their game plan would be.

Your web designer should have a specific strategy for the design aesthetic, call-to-actions, search engine optimisation, and more.

They should be able to clearly articulate what their strategy is for your industry.

10. What involvement will be required on my side?

It would be fantastic if the website designer didn’t have to involve the client at all so that they can focus on running their own business. Unfortunately, this is not realistic. It is a collaborative process between the designer and the client.

The right web designer will be transparent and upfront about the expected amount of communication and deliverables from your end.

The right web designer will also make an effort to minimise the amount of work required from your end whenever it makes sense. Note: Before confirming a designer, I suggest that you request a written timeline of events that would take place during the project. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting into and you will avoid any possible frustrations.

11. What is the estimated (realistic) deadline for the project?

The launch date is heavily dependent on how quickly the client sends content, provides feedback, and gives approvals.

However, the web designer should still be able to give an estimate on the timeline under the assumption that the client always responds within a few days. If it’s a very simple website, 2-4 weeks is realistic as long as the client responds quickly. If it’s a complex or large website, it might take much longer than that.

In any case, you’ll want your web designer to provide some sort of estimate so that you don’t end up getting your website finished too far into the future.

12. Can you design a website to fit my budget?

If you’re on a tight budget, you might be able to eliminate some of the non-essential features in order to bring the price down a little bit. Website designers also have to pay the bills, and it would be best to avoid starting off on the wrong foot.

Your website has a significant impact on the bottom line of your business, so it’s important for your web designer to be motivated and to give 100% of their effort. If you force them to lower their price, they might put less effort into ensuring that your website is perfect. You get what you pay for!