Choosing the best website design company for your small business can be difficult. Just going to Google and typing in “web design company” can bring back thousands of options, that at face value, all look the same.
You’ll probably try to narrow your search (maybe by taking the top 10 listed in Google), and start looking at each portfolio. This is a great start, but will only give you a partial picture of the value they can provide in growing your business.
So, in addition to viewing their portfolio you should find the answers to the questions below. Getting solid answers to these 10 questions can help minimize the risk that your website design project will have issues, go over budget, or provide little value for growing your business.
Questions to ask before signing a web design contract
1. What is the inclusive cost of the project?
There are usually two types of contracts, hourly and project based. As a small businesses you probably don’t have a huge budget, or one that can absorb hidden costs and fees, so you want to find a company that has project based pricing.
You’ll want to make sure you get a final cost for the project prior to signing the agreement so you’re not hit with additional costs.
2. How long will it take?
There are always unforeseen obstacles that will delay a project’s completion – this is normal and should be planned for.
Make sure you get an estimated timeline from your web design company, and monitor it throughout the project to make sure your design stays on track.
3. Is SEO, Information Architecture, and Content Strategy included in the price?
Most design agencies don’t include these important factors in their website designs.
If they don’t, we recommend hiring an SEO company to work closely with the company building your website throughout the site design process.
4. Is both design and development included in the cost?
There have been many times that we’ve worked with a small business who thought that when a company said they were going to “design them a new website”, that it meant they were designing and coding the website – this was not true. They web design company simply handed over the designs, and the small business then had to pay someone to build and code the website.
Make sure both design and development is included in the cost of your website design.
5. Can I get a list of people who will be working on my website and their role in the company?
It is vitally important to know who will be working on your website and what their role in the company is. Most times when the price for the project is low, you will get junior level designers doing the work, or it will be outsourced overseas to the lowest bidder.
You’re website is the face of your business and it takes only 50 milliseconds for a user to judge your website, so making sure you have the right designers and developers building your website is important.
6. Will my website be built upon a responsive framework?
Google uses mobile friendliness as a ranking factor, and users want to visit and buy from a website that works well across all devices.
Make sure your website design company is building your website on a responsive framework.
7. Do you outsource or use freelancers for your projects?
This goes along with knowing who will be working on your design.
Make sure that you are not sold on a company, only to find out they are going to outsource your design and coding to someone else.
8. Is there a transition plan included?
As we have mentioned many times, making sure you have a transition plan in place during a website redesign, is key to maintaining traffic and sales when your new website goes live.
If your website design company does not include a transition plan, make sure you hire a company that is versed in transition planning during the web design process.
9 .What platform and CMS will be used, and will I be able to easily edit the content?
There are many platforms (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Home-grown content management systems, etc.) that can be used as the framework for your website.
Make sure your web design company tells you exactly what platform they are going to use, and if you’ll be able to edit the content without the need for help from them.
10. Is there training provided to use the CMS?
Make sure that if they are using a CMS, that they provide training on how to add and edit content.