I can’t tell you the number of people that call The Go! Agency to enquire about our website design service who, after spending 5 minutes on the phone with them, tell us quite forthrightly that “I’m coming off of a very bad experience with my current website designer.” At first this was a bit of a surprise, mostly because of the frequency at which it happened…but then I saw a trend.
These people were not asking the right questions to vet the website designer or firm that they had chosen in the past. This could have happened for many reasons: they were desperate to get started quickly, motivated by price, or just not well versed (or interested enough) in what the process actually involved.
This happened again recently and it got me a little overheated. So I thought – let’s give everyone some useful questions to ask a potential website designer in order to make a more informed decision.
The following questions are not suggestions, they are essential to ask when you are vetting a website design provider.
- What platform will you use to build the website? For example Dreamweaver, Joomla, WordPress, traditional HTML, etc.
- What will I need to supply to you in terms of content?
- What is your suggestion when it comes to hosting?
- Will you supply me with a sample before moving forward with the building of the site?
- How many times can I make changes after you deliver the final website for review?
- What is the timeline in best and worst case scenario?
- How many people will be working on my website?
- Are the team members at your office location, or are you outsourcing the work?
- What are the hours where your team will be available and responsive to questions?
- With your proposal, can you send samples of at least 5 websites you have designed and provide at least 2 testimonials or references that I can call on?
- Once you have completed the website and it is live, is it 100% property? Will you turn over all passwords, login information and associated information that I need to properly manage my website?
- After you build the website and it is live, will I be able to easily go into the backend and make changes?
- Is there handover training and support provided?
- When the contract has been delivered, what happens if there are problems in two months time?
- What is the rate for any future changes not covered by the contract?
And then the best question of all:
Can you add the answers to these questions to the agreement/contract when and if we move forward?
These questions should create a win/win scenario if you are dealing with a reputable firm. The answers should come fast and quick. Why? Because they are so well-versed with this type of questioning and are secure and informed about their service and process. If the firm gets annoyed with you or gives you a bad vibe EVER – they are not the ones to work with.
When it comes to choosing a firm to provide your website design you need to trust them, like them and have an open and easy dialogue with them – both initially and throughout the entire process. Without this, you are already headed towards disaster. If the firm is mean, rude or have awful manners on the sales call – just think how they are going to be when you ask questions. They will immediately push you to a beholden position, which is not a position of power.
Know what you want, know how to get it and always try to be an informed customer/client. I’m not saying micro-manage the project, but feel confident, comfortable and informed before choosing your next website design provider.