And not to mention all the do-it-yourself website builders (Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and more).
Here my opinion: If these solutions work for your needs then use them.
As a web designer in Colorado Springs, I get a lot of ‘I need a website, Mike’. But after a few questions for them what I really find out is that they need a business strategy, not a website.
That’s where I come in. I build lead generating websites. Yeah, they look good. Yeah, they function well. But my goal is to get your leads and get your business.
After 15+ years building websites, I found there are some good questions to ask web designers and a web agency before you commit to a project. Here they are … and why you need to ask them.
1. What services do you offer?
Wrong answer: “Whatever you need we can do it.” This shows a lack of focus in their business and skillset. A good analogy is a surgeon. If you needed open-heart surgery would you go to a surgeon who does them all? Or the best open-heart surgeon you can find?
Right answer: “What are your goals?” A website is a tool, but I want to hire a web designer who can think with the ‘end in mind’. This is where web designers can stand out in a crowded space.
2. Do you have any case studies of similar needs like mine?
Wrong answer: “Yeah, go look at our portfolio.” Beautiful websites are a dime a dozen. I want to hear a designer talk about the strategy behind the beautiful website.
Right answer: “Yes, we took company Acme, from x to y by z, using these strategies and tactics.” When I go on a difficult hike I like to hike with someone who’s done it before. Can help me reach the summit.
3. Will you review my current website and analyze its performance before making your design decisions?
Wrong answer: “It looks bad (or good, or any short answer).” I’m not looking for subjective opinions, I’m looking to see what this web designer’s pre-work looks like. Do they spend time up front doing their homework?
Right answer: “Yes, we do a full compressive review of your site before we start.” This is something I do in my ‘Day of Discovery’. And I charge for this (spoiler: I credit this back to you if you hire me). But I give a 40-point site audit covering SEO, design, site load, site security, and more.
4. How will my project be managed?
Wrong answer: “We’ll work as quickly as you give us content.” About a year ago this was my response. This puts a lot of pressure on a client and unneeded stress. This is kind of like driving to a destination without a map. You may get there … eventually.
Right answer: “Yes, and here’s our process.” We humans crave structure. As much as we want to be free spirits we like consistency. We like to know what to expect next. Especially when there’s money involved. I’d love for a web design company to walk me through, step-by-step, how they’ll get me to the finish line with my website.
5. Will I be able to see the website as you’re creating it?
Wrong answer: “No, trust us, your site will be beautiful.” I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. As someone who has hired web designers and as a web designer. Imagine paying a custom home builder in Colorado Springs to build you a beautiful house in Flying Horse. Instead of seeing the groundwork, the framing,
Right answer: “Yes, we will bring you into the website and show you how things are coming every step of the way.” I like to promise “no surprises”. Bringing a client into every step of the process helps to ensure that.
Well, there you go. Those are five easy questions to ask any web designer in Colorado Springs before you sign anything.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like to talk about your website or SEO needs please let me know.
- Do you offer on-going maintenance after my site goes live?
Wrong answer: “No, but you can Google companies that do.” I’m ok with a ‘no’ to this, but I’d love for them to refer me to someone (or even a website care service) that could help me.
Right answer: “Yes, we love to see our projects through, which means we will maintain what we build.” I’ve inherited some pretty bad websites from local web designers. And, full transparency, some of my sites from years back have some pretty messy code. I love when web designers will stand behind their work, including updating and maintaining it.
2. How do you define success for a website?
Wrong answer: “It looks good and users can use it easily.” That’s a pretty Captain Obvious answer here. But, it’s subjective. I love dogs but I don’t think all dogs are cute. Super subjective.
Right answer: “We measure the metrics that matter.” I build lead-generating websites, or at least that’s my brand promise. How do we measure that? Well, did your website bring you leads? All my clients get a weekly report that measures what we build the site to do. Engagement, sales, email captures, whatever.
Need help with your own web project?