Finally, after all the thinking and research you’ve done, you’ve found a web designer who really stands out and whose vibe connects with your vision.
You book their free consult call. You’re finally going to be talking to someone that has the ability to bring your ideas to reality.
But all of a sudden, you wonder frantically, what questions to ask your web designer? Expressing your website dreams may come easy to you, but what about all the nitty-gritty details? A website is a big investment to a small business owner, you want to go into this partnership knowing what to expect.
This list of questions should give you a good idea if you and the web designer are going to be a good fit and make sure you get what you’re looking for!
What services do you offer?
This one may seem silly, but it may actually be the most important question to ask first.
Often web designers offer additional services that you may need such as branding packages, logo design, SEO, packaging design, and social media graphics.
If you discover that yes, you do need one or more of these services, it simply makes sense to have one person handling multiple aspects of your project, rather than trying to outsource these services to different freelancers and then bringing all those elements together.
What does your process look like?
It’s important to gain a clear understanding of each step of the design process, so you know exactly what to expect. This way, you should both avoid any surprises!
The mark of an effective web design process is one with an efficient workflow that regularly requests and implements client feedback. For example, in the research phase, a web designer shouldn’t move forward until the client has signed off on the strategy and design brief. Or in the design phase, website development shouldn’t go ahead until the wireframes or web design have been approved.
What kind of research do you do on my business and my niche/competitors?
Good website design requires research of your own business as well as your industry to successfully strategise, design, and market your business.
Work with a designer who understands your ideal client. Your customers, prospects, and partners are the life of your business.
What will the timeline be for the live launch?
A web designer should be able to give you an estimated timeframe for your project based on your content on hand and what you will need to complete before the project can start.
Most designers will also have an estimated timeline already for each package. This will give you an idea, to begin with, if the estimated timeline fits your bill then proceed further.
It’s a good idea to allow extra time for unexpected issues or changes. Clearly communicate the project deadline and be mindful to read the agreement about when you need to supply content because your designer might charge a late fee if there are content or feedback delays that push out the timeline.
What assets do you need from me?
Your web designer will need you to have your content ready to go in order to start putting together your website. This will include content such as copy, brand/product imagery, branding elements (logos, brand guidelines, font files etc), external links, domain, and more. An experienced and well-prepared web designer will have a content checklist for you to work from in order to ensure that you both have everything you need to minimise excessive back and forth communication.
Who owns the design after it’s complete and the payment is made?
This is one of the most important questions to ask your designer. Do you own the design or does the web designer retain the design rights?
With any collaboration, it’s important to read the contract thoroughly to make sure you have the applicable copyrights to the website. Your designer generally has the right to use the designs in their portfolio but the website is yours.
To maintain the integrity of the design and performance of the website, a lot of web designers provide an unlimited copyright license under the provision that the design won’t be modified. Meaning, it’s your website and you can update content to keep it current and relevant to your business but changing the design and layout completely essentially makes it a different website and could void your agreement. So any other inclusions in the project scope, like premium developer tools or licenses, could potentially be revoked.
But why would you invest in a web designer for their strategy and expertise to then just undo the website’s conversion and performance potential by changing the design?
How will the communication process work? How many revisions do I get?
A vital part of an efficient design project is communication. Some designers use email to communicate, while others will utilise a project management software like Asana. Regular and effective communication is needed over the course of a design project to keep things moving smoothly.
The number of rounds of revisions depends on the designer and their process. You want to ensure that you have the opportunity to provide feedback at each milestone of the project. However, keep in mind that with a more skilful web designer & developer you likely won’t need as many revision opportunities as a less experienced designer.
What aspects of the project are not included in the quote?
When working on a large project like building a website from scratch, sometimes it is easier to ask what is not included! This can also allow you to think about options that may not have occurred to you, such as extras like premium plugins and custom coding to achieve a more unique and authentic outcome.
Will I be able to update and manage the website myself once you hand over the final project, or will I need to/can I keep you on to help with management?
If you’re someone who will want to make changes and updates on your own make sure your web designer uses a web platform that’s user-friendly and easy to use so you can own and maintain your site yourself. Ask your web designer about website training lessons. Many designers offer 1:1 training and custom video tutorials for clients.
Or if you prefer to simply send edits and updates and not do it yourself, ask your web designer if they offer a post-launch support/maintenance package for long-term support.