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The questions you need to ask your web designer

Posted 24/July/2014 by vicky

In the conversations I have each day with small business owners and entrepreneurs, the most common thing I find is that they are not sure what information they should be providing me with or what to ask me. When obtaining quotes from website companies, you will find you have similar yet different conversations with each company or agency. At the core of these conversation however, there are some key questions you should be asking to ascertain if you have found a company capable to do the work and professional enough that you feel comfortable establishing a partnership with them for the long haul.

There are of course the obvious questions; Can I view your portfolio, how long have you been established etc. but there are much deeper levels to web design and development than this.

Firstly, in order to be able to ask the web designer some important questions you must first know how to brief them. You should have a clear idea in your mind of exactly how this website will work. What will a customer see when they come to your site? How will they navigate through? Will they be able to carry out any special functions, from small scale to large? Ie. Fill out a subscribe to newsletter form, fill out online loan calculators/ forms etc.? Do you require any custom integration such as Xero or MYOB integration or other third party software?

Question Time. Now that you have roughly mapped out your idea either in your head or on paper and have discussed this with your potential new web designer, now you are able to ask the questions that really matter:

- If it’s a large scale project with a lot of custom work or custom applications, do they have the manpower to facilitate your requirements?

- Ask them to explain the project back to you, they can’t quote you for something they don’t completely understand

- If the web designer explains to you this project may take some time due to its complexity; ask what is causing the complexity? Make sure you understand what is being developed and why it may or may not take a lot of time to build. This will help make sure you and the developers are on the same page and completely understand the tasks at hand.

- Ask the designers if they see any challenges arising from the brief and if so what ideas they have to provide a solution

- Ask about the support, is it local? If you are based in Sydney then you want to make sure you are dealing with Web designers in Sydney and that the company has all of their staff in house.

- Ask them how they handle the client relationship once the site has been handed over? Is it email only? Phone and email, are you welcome to meet face to face again? What support mechanisms are in place?

- Ask them if you can add to the site down the track without having to re develop the site.

- Ask if you have to host with them or if you have the opportunity to host wherever you choose

- Find out what content management system they use. Find out if it is open source so you can always move away from them without penalty.

- Find out the skill set for the agency. Can they handle your branding and graphic design, web design and development, online marketing, email marketing? Do they just do websites? Can they handle your copywriting?

- Ask them their opinion on a project. A good web developer will educate you and let you know if the site is being over engineered or if it is lacking functionality that they feel the user will expect.

here are of course many other standard questions around copyright and payments etc however the above should get you started!

If you wouuld like to chat to us about your project, call us today on  02 8007 0218