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The Ten Most Crucial Questions To Ask Your Web Design Agency

August 2nd, 2018

Creating a new website or redesigning one that you already have is an enormous investment so it’s vital to know exactly how to find an excellent web design agency who can accommodate all of your specific design needs.

Unfortunately, despite their very best intentions, there may come a time when your web design agency is not on the same page as you are. This is why it is absolutely crucial that the agency you select not only has all of the design capabilities necessary to deliver the type of website you need, but also is able to understand exactly what style of design you prefer. Additionally, they need to offer exemplary customer service.

I have detailed the ten most important questions that you need to ask any potential web design agency before you sign any service contracts.

1. Do you have a portfolio that I can review?

It is crucial that you always take time to examine a web design agency’s portfolio so that you are able to gauge what type of work they do as well as determine their specific design style. Additionally, it’s imperative that you seek out an agency that targets your particular market or industry as they will have much more expertise and can offer a more accurate quote for the type of project that you have. The agency that targets your specific market will be able to set a realistic and definitive deadline.

2. Is your agency doing all of the design work?

These days, it’s not uncommon for a design agency to outsource quite a bit of their work to freelance designers in other countries, such as India. You’re paying “top-notch” designer rates but you’re actually getting work done by whoever will do it for the least amount of money. Make sure that you know exactly who is doing ALL the work for your project. Insist that it remains in-house and have that detailed in your contract.

3. Which content management system (aka CMS) will you use?

This is important for those of you who will need to add, delete, edit or hide the content that will be featured on your website. Most often times, the agency will offer a ‘template’ style CMS, but I would recommend that you request a custom-built one tailored to your specific needs. You want to ensure that you will be able to service your own site in the future and not have to chase down the agency for help.

4. Which web development language do you prefer and why?

This question is necessary because it helps you to gauge the programming skill level of the designers in the agency you plan to hire. This will be important to you if you plan on developing some new web applications or other more advanced features on your website at some point in the future. Your agency should be able to offer both PHP/MySQL as well as ASP.NET. Additionally, they need to ensure that your website works correctly on all browsers and multiple platforms and mobile devices.

5. Does your agency offer mobile website design?

In today’s fast paced technological era, many people are using the web with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s extremely important to have a mobile web app to stay current in today’s market. Designing a mobile application is far different than designing a regular website. It needs to be fast loading and much simpler in nature. Make sure that your agency has a designer that’s familiar with mobile website design and development.

6. Does your agency have any experience with E-Commerce development?

It is imperative that the agency you hire has experience developing E-commerce websites. Preferably, you will need a website that has an integrated online enquiry system. If you don’t require one now, you may want to add one at some point in the future and your agency needs to be able to fulfill that need.

7. What type of Search Engine Optimization experience does your agency have?

Search Engine Optimization (otherwise known as SEO) is an extremely important factor when creating the design of your website. It is worthless to you to have them design and develop a gorgeous website if it is not optimized and highly visible to search engines. Make sure that they have an SEO specialist onboard who can fully optimize any site that they design for you.

8. Are web hosting and domain name registration part of the website package you offer?

If you are building your website from the ground up, you will need a hosting company as well as a domain name. I would recommend finding an agency who offers both of these as a part of the website package you’re purchasing. Some agencies will have a separate company who hosts their sites and that’s to be expected. You should also ensure that the website is hosted within the same country as where you are located. Locally hosted websites are preferred on Google search engines.

9. What if I decide that I don’t like your specific design?

You might not really have a clear understanding of exactly how you want your website to look but when the agency offers you a mockup, you know instantly that you don’t like their design. It is the job of your agency to get as much information from you as possible before they put their designers to work. Ideally, they should have you fill out a detailed questionnaire of all of the items that you would like included in your design including typeface, colors and graphics. Before any coding begins, you MUST approve the mockup that they provide. That way, no ones time is wasted in making changes at a later date. This can prove to be very time-consuming and expensive in long run. Your contract should stipulate the amount of revisions that are considered a part of your package. Any changes made outside of that will be billable to you.

10. What customer service/support do you provide after project completion/launch date?

After your website has been completed and launched it will be necessary for you to have some type of customer support to handle things like changes or website problems such as glitches in code or functionality. You need to make sure that this support is a part of the contract that you signed and the package that you purchased. You certainly don’t want to hear that they charge by the hour once your website is complete. This can get extremely expensive! It would also be a good idea to find out if you can have a dedicated designer assigned to your specific account. That way, you’re not always waiting for a call back from any random designer within the agency.