Choosing a web developer can be a daunting experience. You already have a lot of tasks to handle for your business. Learning all about web design is probably not a top priority. Regardless, it’s helpful to know what questions to ask your web developer. This list of little known, yet essential questions, will help you choose the best web designer for your project and budget.
Little Known Questions to Ask a Web Developer …
1. Will you build a custom website or customize a theme?
The web is full of cookie cutter web themes that you only think are custom. Many designers will add your content with a few simple styling adjustments. If you have a small budget, this might be a good option.
Even cash savings comes with a cost. Pre-built themes are designed for use by many types of business. The full array of features they offer require lots of back-end coding that slows your site speed.
Over time, you’ll add plugins and get CMS version updates, which can wreak havoc on the template’s code. One broken plugin can have disastrous consequences for your entire website. After a few years, you’ll need a rebuild.
Most custom builds are pricier because the web developer has to write code for all elements. However, some web developers design with both a template and custom coded features.
The downfall of fully custom coded websites is that it takes longer to get the concept from design to development. Also, once you see the proposed website design, you might have change requests. If your web developer is doing all custom code, these changes will take more time to complete.
How Our Websites Are Made
We create websites using the most lightweight theme possible. This means there’s very little code, so your pages load fast. This is great for search engine optimization (SEO) and being found in search listings, like Google and Bing. We also use a flexible builder tool that makes the design process a breeze. We can most often make design changes in a matter of minutes. And, best of all, the websites we build are easy to use so you can make changes anytime you’d like. We’ll even show you how.
2. Will our site be down during the redesign?
Some web developers’ design process will impact your existing website. You’ll want to find out if your site will be offline and for how long.
We know it’s important to maintain an online presence. Vox Pop Marketing designs websites in stages. So you can expect a smooth transition between the planning phase to the site launch.
3. Can you connect my CRM to the website?
Most people know to tie their email marketing software to their website. But don’t forget your customer relationship management system (CRM). This is the software you use to keep track of your leads and customers.
The forms on your website can link to your CRM. So when a new lead submits their information, it’s stored for later use. Not every web developer does this, and not every CRM can be integrated. Check that it’s possible and ask for recommended CRMs.
4. Are your site designs search engine optimized? What’s your process?
If you don’t plan to run ads to your website, having a search optimized website is essential. This helps you get found in non-paid search listings. Both on-page and technical search engine optimization (SEO) are necessary.
This refers to SEO for individual pages on your website. Each page should target at least one keyword phrase. The phrase should be used in the title, headlines and body copy on the page. The page’s HTML should also include the keywords. This is done with title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions and more.
This form of search optimization is the foundation of a good lead-generating website. A solid technical SEO strategy includes all points below.
- Rank higher in search by switching HTTP URLs to HTTPS.
- Submit your site to Google and Bing to get indexed.
- Install an XML sitemap.
- Submit the XML sitemap to Google and Bing to make your pages discoverable.
- Optimize your site’s page loading speed with a CDN.
- Build on a light code framework for faster page loading.
We perform all of these tasks to give your website both on-page SEO and technical SEO. Here are the tools we use and some of the other things we do:
- Set you up with a web host that prioritizes site speed and security.
- Research the right keywords to target.
- Write keywords into your page titles, headlines and body copy.
- Use Yoast SEO to perform on-page SEO.
5. Are your designs mobile and tablet optimized?
Every modern website should be mobile friendly. This means your web design should conform to the size of whatever device it’s viewed on.
With Google’s mobile-first indexing, mobile optimized websites get priority search engine rankings. This is one more way you can get found in search.
Another benefit of mobile optimized websites is that they’re user friendly. Today, over half of Internet users view websites from their mobile phone. Most people won’t bother to adjust your non-responsive website so they can read the text.
Small businesses need every advantage they can get. The websites we design adjust to desktop, tablet and mobile screens.
6. What’s your full range of web design services?
Your website should be more than a brochure. It’s meant to be your hardest working marketing tool. That’s why choosing a web designer who understands marketing is essential.
Website designs and redesigns involve more than setting up the site structure. You will need a lead attracting marketing strategy for each of your pages. You’ll also need digital assets.
Marketing Strategy and Technical Services
The words on your website are arguably more important than the design. That’s why it’s important to have professional copywriting, and an SEO content marketing strategy. These help your website get found and turn visitors into leads. Ask your web developer if they provide SEO services, in-house content writing and publishing, graphic design, video production and editing and more. These elements will take your professional web design to the next level and help you get the most business boosting benefits from your investment.
No website is complete without imagery. You’ll need photographs, graphics and possibly videos. These support your messaging and tell a visual story about your brand and offerings. Custom photos, videos and design capture more attention than stock assets. However, if stock is your only option, you’ll find countless resources and options.
7. Will I own the website when it’s complete?
One of the most overlooked and critical questions to ask your web developer is about ownership. It’s important to know the logins to your domain name registrar and web host. You’ll also want to know how to access the backend of your website.
If this is not a redesign, and you’re setting up a new website, be sure the domain name is set up in your name. You don’t want it owned by the web design company.
On a final note, some companies require a yearly contract to keep your site live. Others deliver your completed website with no strings attached.
Vox Pop Marketing gives you free and full control over your domain, hosting and website once it’s complete.
8. How will you handle website maintenance after the design?
Your website will need monthly maintenance to stay bug free and secure from hacking. The software will need updating as various software versions upgrade. Sometimes these updates can scramble your website design and functionality, so having dedicated website management will ensure your investment stays in tip-top shape.
Ask your web developer what types of website maintenance packages are available. Vox Pop Marketing provides flexible options that also include access to our full range of marketing services.
It’s key to remember that once your website is designed, the real work begins. If you’re serious about getting online leads, you’ll need to attract traffic and analyze user behavior on your website. Look for a web developer or marketing agency that can set up Google Analytics for your site, as well as analyze the data and report back to you.
Doing so will show you which pages attract leads, as well as areas where visitors drop off. All of this information will help you and your web developer to improve your lead attraction and marketing efforts.
Standard but important questions to ask your web developer
1. What is your web design process?
The web development process varies between designers and agencies. Process questions to ask your web developer include …
- Who is handling what tasks
- When you can expect to review your website
- When payments are due and how they’re handled
2. What do you need from my firm during the project?
As an outside partner, your web developer will need your help to complete the project. Be sure you understand the tasks and time that’s required of you before getting started.
Standard requests are to provide logo files, brand fonts and colors. You might also need to provide photos and writing for the pages on your website.
Finally, your designer will usually request that you sign off on wireframes and a sitemap. These are like the blueprints an architect drafts for a house. All good website designs begin with a planned page structure and flow.
3. How long will the project take?
You might think it should take a few weeks to build a website. The reality is, a website project can take weeks or months. This goes back to how it’s designed. Is it a custom build or is it a customized theme?
Other factors that affect the time frame are …
- Intricacies of your website
- Time it takes to conceptualize the design
- How fast you can deliver necessary information and assets
- Number of design iterations
Regardless of potential roadblocks, your project type will dictate the timeline. A professional web designer can give you a time frame and advise you on the above factors.
4. Can I make changes or updates to the website? Can you show me how?
As a small business owner, you’ll sometimes need to make quick adjustments to the content on your website. Some websites will give you the flexibility to change many of the design elements, as well as the text.
Meanwhile, others are less intuitive to use and you’ll need help from your web developer. If you rely on a web developer to make the changes for you, you will need to be patient as they work through their help desk tickets in the order they’re received.
We know how important it is to have control over your website. That’s why, after your website is complete, we’ll show you how to us it. That way you can make changes to your website anytime you want. Website management is also available.
Not all web designers work in the same way or deliver the same services. Knowing the right questions to ask your web developer will help you find the best provider for your project.
Overall, you’ll want your website to work as a marketing tool. And you’ll want it to be found in search. Having full access to your web properties and the ability to make changes to your site are also critical.