17 Questions to Ask Before You Hire A Web Design Agency

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Web Design

Whether you’re a brand new B Corp or a well-established business that’s been around for decades, hiring a web design agency can be a daunting task. With so many options, it’s challenging to know where to start. The web design process is complex, time-consuming, and involved. It’s incredibly important to know you are working with a web design agency that can deliver exactly what you need. In this guide, we’ll outline 17 important questions you need to ask before you hire them, so you can be confident you’re making the right decision.

1. Do you build custom sites or use templates?

This is an important question to ask because it can affect the functionality and uniqueness of your website. A custom site is built from scratch and tailored to your specific needs, while a template is a pre-designed website that can be customized to some extent. Knowing which approach the agency takes can help you determine if their work aligns with your expectations. 

There are pros and cons to each. For example, a fully customized website might be exactly what you envision but can take much longer and will be much more expensive. Using a theme or template can limit you in some areas, but will allow you to build your website much more quickly, and on a lower budget. For most websites, the best approach is a combination of the two. You’ll want to find an agency that typically starts with a template or powerful website builder, and adds on custom-developed functionality where needed. 

2. What CMS do you use to build websites?

Most web design agencies use a content management system (CMS) to build websites. Some popular CMS platforms include WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify. It’s important to know which platform they use because it can affect the site’s functionality, ease of use, and customization options.

3. What should I expect my time commitment to look like?

Building a website takes time, and you’ll want to know what your commitment will be. There will likely be many meetings throughout the process to discuss needs, design, functionality, changes, timelines, updates, and overall redesign strategy. The amount of time needed will depend on the size and complexity of the site, but the agency should give you a rough idea of what to expect.

4. Do you have in-house developers and designers?

While it’s okay for a company to use outside contractor help, it could increase the turnaround time, especially in maintenance phases after launch. Having an in-house staff usually enhances quality and communication.

5. How long will it take to complete my website?

A web developer should be able to give you a timeframe before they even begin the project. On average a website could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. The timeline can vary based on your needs and the complexity of the site. Always read the contract to make sure the agency doesn’t charge you extra fees if the project doesn’t get completed on time.

6. How much does a new website cost?

The cost of a new website can vary greatly depending on the project needs, complexity, and the web design agency you work with. It’s important to discuss the cost upfront and get a detailed breakdown of exactly what’s included in the pricing.

Read next: How Much Does A Website Redesign Cost?

7. Do you have a portfolio of previous projects?

A portfolio of past work should be available for prospective clients to get an idea of what to expect. Ask yourself certain questions when looking at the portfolio: do you like the work? What specific features do you like? What are some must-haves? What are some deal breakers? What kind of writing do you like? Are the sites responsive?

8. What do you do for maintenance after launch?

Do they offer hosting? Do they offer WordPress and plugin updates? Do they monitor uptime? It’s important to know what type of web maintenance is offered after launch so your team can plan accordingly.

9. What is the process like?

What’s involved? Audit? Call? Kick-off? Is there a designated design process? How do the designers stay organized? It’s important to have a designer who is organized and will keep everything rolling and on track with minimal delays. Do they use Asana or other project management software to keep track of everything?

10. Will you review or audit my current website?

The web designer should review the current website and look to see how it’s currently doing. If they don’t, that is a red flag that could lead to you building a whole new website when only minor changes may be needed. Will an audit be done? How comprehensive is it? What are some things they will look at when reviewing the site?

11. How do you design sites for my target audience?

The designer should research your business, industry, and target audience to help you strategize, design, and market your business. They should understand your ideal audience and any special features the website needs that are relevant to your industry.

12. How many rounds of edits do you allow?

A designer should listen carefully to your needs during the strategy process, so when it is time to give feedback, only a few rounds should be necessary. When you do give feedback, they should make changes quickly and correctly. It’s also important to have a staging site to review the pages.

13. Who will provide written copy and images for the website?

In some cases, the web design agency may have a dedicated copywriter to write the content, which should be SEO-optimized to help people find your website and do business with you. If they do not have a team of copywriters in-house, you will need to determine who is providing the website content. The messaging, voice and tone, titles, metas, and page structure should be spot on. The designer’s team can provide all the written copy and source images, or work with you if you have professional photographs to use.

14. Do you offer training to make updates to the site?

After launching the site, the designer should walk you through it and teach you how to make edits. If more help is needed, they can provide hourly or monthly support to ensure your site runs smoothly.

15. Are the sites you build ADA Accessible?

What does it mean to be ADA-compliant? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a certain level of accessibility for all websites. This includes everything from the color contrast of your copy against the background of the page, to ensuring your site can be navigated using tools like a screen reader. 

The designer should make sure the site is ADA-accessible, which means complying with accessibility standards for people with disabilities. They should have a testing process to ensure the site is accessible and look for specific issues.

16. Who will be my point of contact?

The web designer or a designated account manager can be your point of contact, depending on the agency’s setup. Communication should be frequent and customized to your needs. Your POC should be available via email, text message, or phone calls, with reachable hours specified.

17. Will the new website be SEO optimized?

Talking to your web design team about the search engine optimization needs of your new website is an important discussion to have before you begin.

Just like a happy and flowering garden, digital marketing requires a full set of tools. SEO, paid advertising, copywriting, branding, and graphic design are the essential tools you need to invest in to make your website a success. SEO ensures that your website appears at the top of search engine results pages, generating traffic and attracting potential customers. Paid advertising, such as Google Ads or paid social advertising, helps drive traffic to your site and is particularly effective for reaching new audiences. Content development helps communicate your brand messaging and values. Good branding and graphic design make sure that your site is visually appealing and engaging. Together, these elements work in harmony to create a thriving website that effectively communicates your message and attracts visitors like bees to a garden. By utilizing all of these tools, you can create a powerful website that stands out in a crowded online marketplace and helps you achieve your business goals.

Get More Proposals with an RFP

These questions will give you a deep understanding of the agency, and help you find the best partner for your project. If you’re interested in gathering more proposals, you might consider creating a Request For Proposal (RFP). Learn more about how to create a great web design RFP here, and use these questions to vet the top three proposals once you narrow it down.

Hire the Right Web Design Agency

At Intuitive Digital, we prioritize understanding your target audience and crafting a design that effectively represents your brand. Our team is also committed to ADA accessibility and ensuring that your site meets industry standards. We work closely with you to ensure that you are satisfied with the finished product and can offer ongoing support to keep your site running smoothly.

If you’re ready to level up your web design, schedule a consultation with Intuitive Digital today. Let our team help you craft a beautiful and effective website that helps you reach your business goals.

About the Author

Piper Denney

Piper is a Senior Web Developer at Intuitive Digital. They bring a wealth of technical expertise and a keen eye for design to every project they work on. Piper's passion lies in helping businesses achieve their long term goals with beautiful & functional sites that integrate seamlessly with their existing technological needs. Outside of work, Piper enjoys taking long walks and writing music.

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