Questions To Ask Your Web Designer Before Hiring Them

If you own your own business, you are probably used to doing everything yourself: making large and small decisions for your business on a daily basis. The last thing you may want to do is rely on someone else to handle your website and online assets. However, there are important questions that you should be asking your Web Designer before hiring them to build your website because you will be relying on an important part of your business - your online presence. 

The answer to the following questions will help you determine who you can trust and who has the experience and skills to help you achieve your goals. Sometimes you may have a gut feeling, but it’s always wise to know what you should be asking your Web Designer before hiring them.

Can I See Your Portfolio?

It's expected that designers - whether they are web designers, graphic designers, or any other type - should have a portfolio of past projects. Web Designers have a wide range of skills. Some are better at design and some are better at development. Think about what qualifications are needed for your particular project and if it matches the skills of the Web Designer you are thinking of hiring.

Viewing a web designer's portfolio before hiring them allows you to see the skills, style, and versatility of your designer. Take a look in their portfolio to see if there is a project similar to what you are imagining for your own website.  This allows you to get a sense of what types of projects a web designer has worked on or if they have a specialty within a particular niche. You can also reference work from their previous projects to use as inspiration for your project and can be a basis for a conversation about their design process.

Will I Be Able to Make Changes to the Site?

Asking a web designer if you'll be able to make changes to the site is important because it addresses future flexibility and control. Websites often need updates to content, functionality, or design to stay relevant and effective. Understanding whether you'll have the ability or access to make these changes yourself, or if you'll need to go through the designer for every minor update, affects how you manage and maintain your site over time. It also impacts ongoing costs and the speed at which updates can be made. This question helps set clear expectations for post-launch site management and ensures you're prepared for the level of involvement you desire in your website's upkeep.

Who Will Maintain The Site After It's Live?

Determining who will be working on website maintenance after your new website is live for the world to see is something that needs to be established early on. It's important for your Web Designer to offer options on how to maintain the website going forward.

You'll need to be aware of and have a plan of how to protect your new website from malware and how to handle WordPress and plugin updates to keep the website secure and up and running at all times. Will that be included in your web design project or a will that be a separate service that your web designer offers? Many designers and web design companies offer hosting and maintenance packages, which can offer peace of mind that your site is being taken care of.

Who Is Going To Provide The Content?

Content creation, whether it's text, images, or videos, is a significant part of website development that requires planning, resources, and expertise. Understanding who is responsible ensures that there are no gaps or overlaps in content production, which can affect the website's launch date and overall effectiveness. This question helps in setting realistic expectations and coordinating efforts between you and the designer for a smooth development process.

Will I Officially Own The Site?

If your Web Designer buys your domain for you in their own account, you technically do not own your domain.  You then have a serious problem at this point because you will not have control of your website, even though you can login to your WordPress site. If you decide to part ways with your Web Designer or Web Developer, then the issue of domain ownership comes up.  Your contractor will have to initiate a domain transfer to move the domain to your own account.  I have seen what a headache this can be. Make sure you clarify with your Web Designer who will own the domain and to get this in writing.

This determines your freedom to modify, transfer, or replicate the site without legal complications. Ownership affects your control over hosting choices, future redesigns, and the site's use in your broader business strategy. Ensuring you have full ownership upon completion prevents potential disputes and ensures your investment secures tangible assets for your business. This question is key to establishing clear terms of engagement and protecting your interests.

Who Is Responsible For Buying a Domain Name?

The simple answer is that you should register a free account with a domain registrar and buy a domain name so that you have complete control of your domain. If your Web Designer buys your domain for you in their own account because you're not "technically savvy" , then you technically you will not own your domain.

This can lead to a bigger problem down the road because if your designer goes "missing" and your domain expires, you'll have to go through a process to get control over your domain that's sitting in someone else's account. This usually includes providing documents to the domain registrar to prove you are the business owner. The exact requirements can vary, but generally, you'll need to provide proof of identity and legal documentation of your business license registration

Can I See The Website Before It Goes Live?

allows you to review and approve the site's design, functionality, and content in a controlled environment. This step provides an opportunity to make necessary adjustments, ensuring the website meets your expectations and requirements before it becomes accessible to the public. It also helps in identifying any issues that might affect user experience or the site's performance, allowing for corrections prior to launch. This question is about ensuring quality control and alignment with your vision for the site.

How Will People Find Me On Google?

This is a great question - just because a website is built, does not mean that people will find it online. Make sure your Web Designer can clearly answer this question for you and that you fully understand what is required in order for your website to show up in Google's search results. Search engine optimization is a complex process and an important conversation to have in order to clarify your expectations.

Do You Have References?

It’s important that your Web Designer is open to providing references to previous clients. Previous clients can provide a lot of insight into a contractor’s work ethics, response time, and how satisfied they were overall with the project. You can also look up your web designer or web agency's profile on directory sites like Design Rush's Atlanta Digital Agencies directory.

Before hiring a web designer, it's essential to ask a series of questions to ensure their services align with your needs and expectations. Knowing the answers will result in a smoother process and a more successful outcome for your new website.

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