15 Essential Questions
Selecting a Web Design Team
By Luke Hayes;
Web Marketing Strategy


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

After explaining your business and idea, ask;
What do you think about the potential and viability of my website idea?.  What opportunities and ideas can you suggest?
The key to this question is you don’t want to hire a web designer that doesn’t believe in your business or idea.

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.

Who is responsible for project management?
Your website may require graphic designers, web designers and programmers, or it may be one designer who does it all.  So find out who is in charge and who is your point of contact.

Who is involved in designing your site?
Make sure that every person who is involved in your site are present at the initial briefing stage so they can get a thorough understanding of your vision and the task at hand.

Is your website designed to be independent of any one company (your site can be hosted on any system) or will the designer be using proprietary website solution?
* If they are using a proprietary solution, then make sure the company that you will be relying on is trustworthy, dependable, service orientated and their ongoing fees are reasonable.  Analyse the advantages of using the proprietary website solution.  This may include benefits like technical support, lower start up costs, ability to update the site yourself, eCommerce facilities, training and learning resources, members areas, blogs, forums, email marketing system, photo galleries, RSS feeds, affiliate marketing system).  Way these benefits against the disadvantage that you are stuck with them and you can not easily move your site to a new hosting company.

Please add a note in the quote that you supply to me, that says “I will own the copyright on my website and not you (the design firm)”?
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.

How does your web design system work?
You need to know how many initial design prototypes they will supply you with and how many design changes you make as part of the initial quote.  The quote and process should include uploading your site to your web host space and be thoroughly tested on a variety of platforms and browsers.  Internet users that have old computers with old Internet browsers struggle with new design processes.

What is your policy if I do not like the initial design that you create?
You don’t want to get stuck with a design that you don’t like and don’t think will be effective.

How many free hours, if any, of client initiated changes are included, when the website is complete?
Some designers are strict and will charge you extra for every change you decide to make during the design process and other designers are very flexible.

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 you do to get my site listed with the major search engines?

What images do you have that I can use for free?
You may have your own images, so use this question if it is relevant.

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.  Make sure that the web host you go with supplies quality web analysis as part of your hosting plan.

Once the website is complete, how much will future updates cost?
Even if you will be updating your website your self, you may need something special done to the website that requires a professional web designer.  The best time to negotiate future rates is at the time when you are negotiating to have your website designed.

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.


Article Byline

Luke Hayes from www.LukeHayes.com.au is a website strategy consultant and seminar speaker.  Wow, this site is value packed.  Luke provides 87 FREE Website Marketing tools and resources.

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