Here are essential questions you should ask before you hire a web designer to create your business website:
Will Our Approaches Work Together?
No matter what line of business you’re in, the graphic/web designer should help imagine the end user’s journey on your site. You should make sure you and your design are on the same page about that. At Tribe, we conduct a “Creative Brief” before we initiate a project to make sure we understand the creative objectives, target audience and business goals.
Can I See Your Portfolio?
Evaluate a large range of the web designer’s work—from websites related to your industry to those that are not. What you’re looking for is the design, style, and most importantly, functionality. There are site functionalities that may appeal to you that you’d like to ‘import’ over to your website. Ask about the backend programming. Is this done in-house or outsourced? Are the designs custom-created or purchased website themes (templates)?
Will I Be Able to Easily Manage Content?
Find out what platform your website would be built on and if it’s user-friendly. You want to ensure that once the site is launched, you are not forced to ‘marry’ the developing company by committing to a long-term service with them. Find out what site functionalities you will have access to for future changes—from content to design, to turning functionalities on or off. At Tribe, we provide help documents for our clients to reference and offer online CMS training shortly after each website launch.
Can You Create a Rough Mock Design of What You Envision for the Site?
This should also include their vision for your ‘navigational layout’. After receiving mocks, determine if key website information is easy to find and how seamlessly customers could purchase online using the proposed design. This is a critical point in every site’s development. Re-engineering the site’s layout after design approval can become a costly mistake.
Will You Optimize the Site for Search Engines?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, will improve your website’s chances of being ranked highly by Google. This means identifying key search terms and words in your site that are important to your business and ensuring that the technical structure of your site follows SEO best practices. Understand that the process of indexing a website on every search engine (and its ranking) doesn’t happen overnight.
Do You Have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System?
Consider integrating a system like MailChip or Constant Contact into your website to manage your customer contacts and mailing lists. This will give you a way to gather more data about customers and potential customers. Make sure you follow proper opt-in practices as you execute your email campaigns.
What Analytic Data Will I Get From This New Site?
In order to understand your customers and how to reach them, it is critical for you to get data from your site that helps you understand what your customers are looking at. At Tribe, we install Google Analytics on every client website and have the reports emailed to them directly.
How Much Will It Cost?
This is self-explanatory. Make sure you have an idea of your budget going into your interviews with potential vendors. If the project scope grows, how are these Change Orders handled? What is considered a “Rush Charge”? At Tribe, we don’t surprise our clients with invoices higher than the client estimate that was approved.