Can I see examples of your previous work?

Any established web design company should be able to show you their portfolio. Looking at examples of their previous work will help you evaluate whether they are the right fit for your business.

Modern design is important; you only get one chance to make a first impression with your site so you want to make sure your designer will create a professional website that will put your companies best foot forward.

Check the performance of the sites in their portfolio; page load time can have a significant impact on your sites SEO. Navigation is another crucial thing to look for, make sure that the websites in their portfolio easy to navigate from a user perspective. Can you quickly find the content you want and are there clear next steps on each page?

The message of the company should be clear as well. Does the design match the brand? Can you immediately know what brand does and what their message is from just the home page of their website? In a report by KoMarketing, they asked their respondents, “Which website elements annoy you or cause you to leave a website?” and almost half (46%) stated a “lack of message.” Not knowing what the company does will cause people to abandon ship.

What additional services do you offer?

Its commonly assumed that website design agencies offer additional services like SEO, PPC, copywriting and other digital marketing solutions but this is not always the case. These services all require a different set of skills, don’t assume that because a design agency is good at one, they will be good at them all.

You will likely need additional services on top of website design, especially if you are a new business. Things like email templates, social media profiles and blog content can all help you to grow your business. Having an agency that offers all these services in one place can ensure consistency across all marketing materials and make your marketing efforts more straightforward to manage.

Is my website going to be responsive on all devices?

Responsive design is a must for all websites these days. Mobile usage is increasing every day, and responsive design gives your visitors the same experience across platforms.

57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile. If your users click on your site on mobile and it takes them to a page that is not what they are expecting (something the same as your desktop site), they will likely be confused and click back, losing you valuable traffic.

Responsive design is also imperative for SEO. Since 2015, Google’s algorithms take in to account responsive design as it provides a better user experience for its searchers – without responsive design, you could see your ranking drop below your competitors affecting your business growth.

What is your estimated timeline to build this site?

You’ve decided you want a new website, so ideally you’d like it as soon as possible. But, there is no right answer to this question. You will know what you want to hear, but depending on the spec of your site the time to design and build will change dramatically.

Is your content management system (CMS) proprietary or open source?

There are many different CMS’s on the market. At DeType we use WordPress, an open source technology which is created and maintained by a community of developers. It is incredibly easy to use (even for those who aren’t particularly tech savvy), and it’s open source nature means we can reduce development costs.

Proprietary CMS is an option some other web design agencies use. These are owned by a specific company and custom made, so only the creators know how to use it. These CMSs can be a pain down the line if you chose to move your website to a new agency and need changes implementing or if the agency you used goes out of business.

Can you talk me through your design process?

Being aware of the design process lets you know that your site will be developed practically and efficiently while also showing you where your input will be required.

How do you track the success of your websites?

Website success will depend on a website’s goals. These goals might be traffic, sales, email sign-ups, contact form submissions etc. Whatever your goals, you need to know you have a way to track them. This should be built into the website from day one, and a regular report should be given to you to assess how well your site is performing. From the insights given you may then at later dates wish to make changes to your site with the aim to improve your site’s performance.

How much is it going to cost?

Finally, the question of cost. There is no one size fits all answer to this question. The cost of website design will depend on many factors such as:

  • How established the agency is
  • How large the sites is (number of pages, amount of content etc.)
  • Functionality

Some agencies offer various payment options, from a one time fixed fee to monthly instalments that are easier for small business to manage. Look into the different options and pick whichever is best for your business.

As a business owner, you know better than anyone what your budget is. Think about what is practical to spend and always remember that you can say ‘no.’ With that being said, you will still get what you pay for. A cheap design might seem like a good idea now but end up costing you money and causing you problems in the near future.