15 Essential Questions Selecting a Web Design Team

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When talking to a design studio about developing your website, the following points should be considered;

After explaining your business and idea, ask what they think the viability and success of your site would be. What opportunities and ideas can they suggest?

Have a look at their website design portfolio. Is it quality work? Is it in the style that you like? Make sure that some of the sites that they show you are of a similar price point to what you are budgeting? You may contact a few of their clients to see how they found the design firm to work with.

Find out who will be responsible for the project management of your website. The Project Manager is your point of contact throughout the design process. In some cases the designer is the project manager.

Find out who is designing the site (graphics and code) and make sure they are present at the initial briefing stage so they can get a thorough understanding of your vision and the task at hand.

Make sure that your website is designed to be independent (portable) of the original designers. If your designers use their own propriety software to create your website then you will probably be stuck with them as long as you choose to use that website.

Your web designer automatically owns the copyright on your website, unless you have a written agreement that transfers the rights to you. If you want to change or update your website without the original designer then you need to have legal rights to do so. Get a signed agreement that you will either own the copyright or at least share the copyright with the designer.

Ask how their web design agency system works. (How many initial design prototypes do they supply you with? So that you can make a choice. How many design changes can you make as part of the initial quote?) The quote and process should include uploading the site to your web host space and be thoroughly tested on a variety of platforms and browsers. It is important to know which Internet browsers display your site effectively. Older browsers struggle with new design processes.

What is their policy if you do not like the initial design that they create?

How many hours, if any, of client initiated changes are included, when the website is complete?

Ask the Project Manager. “If you have supplied everything that the design team requires, and answered all of their questions, how long will it take until the website is completed and uploaded to your server on the Internet?”

What, if anything will they do to get your site listed with the major search engines?

What images do they have that you can use? Are they free or what is the cost per image? Do all images have to be supplied digitally? If some images are supplied printed, is there an extra cost for scanning?

Which website hosting company do they recommend and why? Many web designers will try to steer their clients to a web host where they can make a commission, so be judgemental before blindly signing up.

When negotiating a web design service package find out how much future updates will cost.

If you require a website that can manage financial transactions, you will need to make specific enquiries about their expertise in this area. (Credit card payments and setting up a database).

Don’t let an amateur designer develop your site. It will be detrimental to your business if a customer visits your website and due to poor design it reflects badly on your business image. Excellent design is imperative and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a professional job.

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