5 Must Ask Questions Before You Hire a Website Designer

I started my website design business in 2007 and since then, I have come across many clients who had just had their website designed and were not happy with the end result.  Now the reasons that they were not happy varied with everything from I don’t like the look to my web designer died and I can’t log in to make changes.  One thing that remains consistent is that the client did not ask the right questions of the original web designer before the work began.  I don’t blame them because if I was to hire a ballet dancer to teach me ballet, I would not know what to ask because I know nothing about it.

The key to any creative project that you are paying for is to make sure you set out the expectations and know what you are and are not getting before you pay a cent.  I have put together a list of the 5 MUST ASK questions before hiring a website designer.  Now these are not the only 5 questions you should ask, but they are the mandatory ones.  Please understand that this list was conceived over the last 5 years of helping clients redesign websites that they already paid alot of money for but were not happy with it.

Here is the list:

1. What is the total cost?

Now this question is key and usually not missed but you must be detailed in how you ask it and make sure that the answer you are given is not too broad.  Every business owner has a different way of putting together their proposals and some are more detailed than others.  With a design process it may be hard sometimes to understand what you are getting because it is not a tangible item.  Be sure that there are not any hidden costs or charges that may arise during the project that will cost you additional money not mentioned in the original proposal.  A good thing to ask for is the scope of work.  If you have a scope of work than if there are things outside of that scope that you request be completed, you won’t surprised when you are billed for it.  Another huge part of this is to ask how the billing works.  NEVER PAY FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT UP FRONT!!!!   Even if they offer a discount, request that you will pay a deposit and they the balance when the design is complete.

2. Will I own it?

This question should set the stage that what you are buying is yours and will not be held hostage by the website designer.  You want to make sure that when the project is complete you have all the details to any accounts relating to the project.  These accounts can include (but not limited to), domain registrar, host, FTP and website administrative area.  These are the standard accounts related to most projects but there may be others for example if you are building an e-commerce site, you could have a merchant processing account.  Main thing is to request that from day 1 of the project start you wish to have the login information for any of the accounts your website designer creates for your project.

3. Who will be doing the work?

Just because the person is selling you a website does not mean that they will be the one building it.  There can often be a huge disconnect between the sales person and the actual designer.  The sales person will tell you that anything is possible and then when the designer can’t do it , they will tell you it is not possible.  By that time it’s too late because you are knee deep into the project and have to sacrifice something you really wanted because you were told in the beginning that it could be done by a sales person that will not be the one doing it.  Another scenario is that the company you are dealing with outsources all of their web design work to another country.  This makes communication extremely complicated when most other countries are on different time zones and you will probably never ever be able to interact with the actual person that is building your site.  Remember that game where you tell someone something in a circle and by the time it reaches the last person it is something completely different.  Request to meet with the actual designer before you begin your project.

4. Can I speak to clients you have worked with?

You must treat your web design selection process like a job interview.  One of the most powerful things in a job interview is the reference check.  The best way to learn more about a company you want to hire for website design is to look at examples of their work.  It is the number one question that all of my prospective clients ask me.  Go even a step further and ask them for 3 clients that they have built websites for and their contact information.  Once you get that information, simply ask them questions about the experience they received and would they use them again and also refer them to others.  This will really give you a good insight into what you will expect if you decide to work with this person.

5. How long will it take to complete?

Accountability is a must in any design project and you want to go into it knowing the time frame it will take.  Not only know the total project time, but setting a certain expectation of meeting specific time marks.  For example, ask how they can break up your project into blocks of completion and when each block will be completed.  This keeps the website designer accountable and also confirms that the project is staying on track.  Now things do arise and the schedule in a design process may need to be adjusted, but setting the expectation in the beginning minimizes the project taking way longer than originally stated.


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About author

Jarrett Gucci
Jarrett Gucci 289 posts

Jarrett Gucci is the owner of Dynasty Web Solutions. A full service Internet presence provider specializing in WordPress development for business owners. Jarrett Gucci along with his team of professionals have designed over 400 WordPress websites. Jarrett Gucci believes strongly in creating websites that are unique, functional and generate referrals.

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