Building or redesigning your website can be an exciting time, particularly if you’ve found that unicorn website designer who gets you, your business and your target market, is reliable and in your budget!
Unfortunately, there are some shrewd operators out there who may not have the best moral compass or may not be the best intentioned.
With that in mind, here are some things to look out for / questions to ask when you’re interviewing prospective web developers and web designers:
Do you do the work, or do you outsource offshore?
There are some web development companies who outsource their work offshore. Generally, they manage the customer relationship side locally, and then sub-contract to overseas labour which can (usually) be cheaper for them. Ideally they should be upfront about this before you engage their services, but it may also pay to ask the question.
Does this package include SEO, and are they focused on User Experience?
Your Google ranking is determined by many factors and a good user experience and basic SEO principles will help lay the foundation for your search engine rankings. SEO experts can help you take your website to the next level, but ensuring your website content contains your keywords (on page SEO), your images are all given Alt Text descriptions and your page / meta descriptions have been written carefully will be a good start.
From a User Experience perspective, this comes from an understanding of the customer journey, and which questions your potential customers want answered.
What are the ongoing costs?
If you’re working with a larger agency they may be keen to sign you up to manage your hosting. This can be great as they can keep your software update and manage site security, however it’s worth checking to see what the contract says about terminating this agreement, what the monthly costs are, and what is included in this monthly cost.
Will I have full access to this website once it's complete, and will it be easy for me to make updates?
Some business owners prefer to get someone else to update their website, but it is very useful to have basic understanding on how to log in and update some words, add a team member, change a phone number or update an image on your website. If a website is too complicated and contains a lot of custom coding, it may not be as simple to change things.
A BIG mistake I often see, is when business owners don’t have control or even a log in for their website. This can put you in a vulnerable position should the working relationship turn sour, or if you decide to hire someone else for a redesign down the track. For WordPress websites, ensure you have Admin access to the site and choose your own unique password that you keep secure.
Will my website be mobile responsive?
Website developers and designers should really be focusing on a mobile-first design as the majority of shoppers are browsing and shopping on their mobile devices.
Are they going to integrate your email marketing software, your Meta pixel and Google shopping (for ecommerce)?
Bear in mind that most web designers are doing this as their full time job, and shouldn’t expect you to know everything. I like to make suggestions to my clients for integrations that will serve a purpose whether that’s growing their database, simplifying a process, or improving the customer experience.
A good web designer should ask you about email marketing integration, your meta pixel, and Google Shopping to name a few.
- Make sure you purchase and own your own domain name
- Protect your asset and ensure you own the website and have Administrator level log ins, just incase anything goes wrong
- Update your passwords and enable 2 factor authentication
- Check their portfolio and reviews