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Questions to ask your Web Designer before starting your new project

When it comes to choosing a web designer for your business, owners often make the mistake of not doing thorough research before selecting a company or freelancer to take on the task of designing a new website.

In this blog, I hope to provide valuable insights that will help business owners make informed decisions, which will ultimately be of great value to your business.

Let’s start with having a look at a few basics that will guide you when selecting your preferred web designer.

Local Web Designers

Although not the most important thing, it’s normally a good idea to get a local web designer to take on your project. It will be much easier for you to meet when necessary.

Meeting with the web designer might not always be possible though, but with modern technologies like Skype or GoToMeeting, it should in most cases be possible to have a virtual meeting with a potential web design partner.

Large or Small Web Design Agencies or Freelancers

When it comes to deciding to go with a large or small agency or even a freelancer, you might want to think this through carefully before making a decision.

Generally larger agencies have many staff, each dedicated to their own field.  This means that you might end up working with many different people (and personalities!) and in some cases, they might not all share your “vision”.

A smaller agency or a freelancer might give you a more personalized service. The interaction with the designer and developer will be more personal, and this means that you might end up with a website that is better aligned with what you like.

The agency’s own website

A good agency or web designer’s standard of work is usually very apparent when looking at their website. Have a look at their website first, and also their portfolio if one is available. 

If it looks like the web designer’s site was developed in a rush, it might mean that the same will apply when it comes to designing your website. 

Service Level Agreements and Contracts

Does the web design agency have standard agreements in place? If not, you might end up with issues regarding copyright. When creatives create or design artwork in South Africa, by law, they are technically the owner of the work. This means that if you don’t have an agreement that explicitly specifies you are the rightful owner of any work produced, the designer or creative may own the artwork.

Web Design Agreements should be set up so that it protects the interests of both parties. Deposit fees and payment dates should be clearly stated as to avoid any confusion when it comes to payments.

Ongoing Support and Maintenance

Does the web designer or developer offer any ongoing support after the website has been developed? This is in most cases a vital part of keeping your website up to date, secure and also indexable by Google.

Most web design projects are not just “one-off’s” – a website needs constant monitoring for errors or malware, and a good web designer will also advise on improvements that can be made, and also inform you of any new technology that might benefit your business and website.

If your website is built on a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, does your web designer offer any sort of training or guidance when it comes to managing the content? Many web design agencies do not factor in any time for training, which should really be an essential part of the website management process going forward.

Ask your web designer if offer ongoing support and maintenance after the website is launched?

Availability and Efficient Communication

Is your website designer always available? It is crucial that you are able to contact your web designer during office hours, whether it be via telephone or email.

If your website has issues, or in the worst case goes offline, your web designer is usually the first point of contact in finding the issue. Having a good relationship with your web designer ultimately starts with good communication.

Before you even start a new project, make sure that you can communicate effectively and efficiently with the web designer.

Knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It is very important that your web designer has good SEO skills, as this will benefit you in the long run.  This really starts even before you develop your website, in the design phase. A well-designed website needs to be optimized in terms of the layout, usability and overall experience you want to offer your visitors.

Many web designers don’t pay much attention to this when design layouts. Unfortunately, if you have a badly designed website in terms of the SEO, it would probably mean that you are not getting the full benefit of SEO, and in some cases, a redesign and development would be recommended.

Local SEO is becoming more important. Your web designer should have a thorough knowledge of implementing Local SEO, Structured Data, and Rich Snippets.

A good web designer will make sure that your content is indexed correctly by Google and other search engines like Bing. Google Analytics needs to be set up so that you can track and analyze visits to your website. This crucial indexing and analytics are often skipped by web designers.

Social Media Integration

With social media being so popular, it is a good idea to make sure that your web designer will implement some sort of Social Media integration on your website.

A good understanding of effective social media integration into your website will be of huge benefit for SEO.

Deployment and Testing

Testing your website’s speed and performance is a good idea. If it loads too slow, it will negatively impact on your SEO efforts.

Your website should also be optimal for visitors that use mobile phones or tablets – this is called “responsive design”. The user experience on these devices should be a top priority.

I hope that you have found this information useful when choosing a web designer. Please contact me for more information on my services and find out why I could be the perfect fit for your next project.