So you're taking the plunge and getting yourself a new website or updating your current one. From our office to yours, here are a few of the questions that we are always impressed by when asked by our clients.
How much will it cost me...today and tomorrow.
Building a website will usually cost some sort of fee up front. Some designers will run off a fixed cost basis, while others will be quoting you based on an hourly rate. It's important to understand just where your designer sits in the spectrum. Wherever we can we like to run off a fixed cost basis, but every now and then there may be scenarios where that isn't possible. Either way, it's hugely important for our clients to understand what they are in for.
Thinking longer term, your website is likely to need to be hosted somewhere. That hosting comes with a fee, as does the domain, your email accounts and sometimes plugins used on your site. All these costs tend to be ongoing, so make sure you know what you'll be up for either yearly or monthly. Always see if the price might drop if you pay yearly versus monthly - you can usually save a few dollars that way.
Will I get access?
This seems a no brainer to us. Any website we build is on the client's behalf, so it's their intellectual property. That means we give them full access to edit and change the site themselves (if they want it). Always check what sort of access your designer will give you.
What does the hosting include?
Your site may need some little tweaks and updates in the future. Your hosting fee should always cover general maintenance required to keep the site online. Obviously, if you want a big change, that may not be included in your hosting fee, but either way it's good to check. Some companies will offer higher hosting fees but provide a more intensive support service. For us, we try to enable our clients as much as possible so keep our hosting fees to a minimum.
What platform are you building the website in?
There are literally hundreds of different website building platforms out there in the world today. Whether it be the stalwart WordPress, or some of the new kids on the block Wix, Weebly or Squarespace, every content management system has it's pros and cons. Ask your designer what they use, and also ask them why they've chosen to use that CMS. They may be choosing something for specific functionality, or like us, choosing a platform that is really easy for their clients to use.
Can I see some of your past work?
This is less a question and more a little bit of due diligence. Designers should have a portfolio of sites that you can have a look at. You can ask them for some example sites, or even head to Google and Facebook to find reviews on the company. From those reviews you'll not only be able to gauge how clients find working with the designer, but also possibly figure out some websites to check out.
Why should we go with you?
This is sometimes a painful question to answer, but every website designer should have a fair idea of their strengths and weaknesses. They should quickly rattle off what they see as the benefits of their company over another. Whether that be affordability, customer service or creating you an easy to use site.
Whatever designer you end up choosing for your site, there is certainly no harm in canvassing the field. Feel free to get in touch with us any time to grill us on these and other questions you might have on website design.