Entrusting your web development needs to an established web design agency will not only save you time but also money. This is more so when you consider the fact that all the work will be done by professionals who rely on tested strategies to give you the best results. All in all, before you choose a company to work with, it is imperative that you dig deeper. Knowing the right questions to ask prior to picking a design company will save you a lot of trouble.
Do you do all the work in-house?
Do not be surprised to find web design companies that only act as intermediaries. They will take your project details and hire a third party to do the development work. Although this might work, the results are often not that good simply because you have no direct connection with the person working on your website.
Upon asking this question, the only acceptable answer is yes. All the work needs to be done in-house. If it is not, you are setting yourself up for disaster. A company that does all the work in-house has the technology and manpower needed to deliver the best results in web and graphic design.
Can you build a responsive website?
Awhile back when smartphones were new in the market, web developers needed two versions of their websites; one for mobile and another for desktop. This was done to accommodate their target audience. The problem with this option is that it was both expensive and time consuming. It is not easy to manage two websites concurrently. That is what led to the birth of responsive web designs. This is a website that can automatically readjust itself to be viewed properly on any display screen.
Having a responsive web design is as important as having a website. This is because more than 60% of the traffic you will get on your website will come from mobile users. It is also good to note that Google gives ranking priority to websites with a responsive design. That being said, you want to make sure that the web design company you select is capable of building a responsive website.
Will the CMS be proprietary or open source?
This is a very important question you need to ask your web designer. Oftentimes, in order to lock you into a contract, web design firms use proprietary content management systems. What this means is that only they can make changes to your website and you cannot migrate to a different CMS. You will also be required to pay a fee for using the proprietary CMS. This kind of CMS will drive the costs of website management up.
The right company to work with is the one that uses open source CMSs like WordPress. The reason for this is that you can update your content yourself and even move your website to a different CMS whenever the need arises. If you must use a proprietary CMS, make sure you understand the terms of service clearly.
Do you offer warranties?
When working with a web design company, there is nothing better than getting solid guarantees that are covered in the contract. This means your money will not go to waste because of the service provider making mistakes in web development. If warranty is available, make sure you know what it covers and for how long. Don’t forget to ask about the costs of maintenance plans, service plans and hosting.
Even though you will get a warranty, it is good to be aware of ongoing costs. It is good to note that you will be charged for upgrades. You will also be charged for occasional maintenance. Ensure that the costs are fair to you.
What is your pricing based on?
The last thing you want to deal with is high bills charged to your company for simple website maintenance tasks. To avoid such occurrences, it is imperative that you understand how the company charges for its services. Is pricing hourly, or a flatfee based on the project or a combination of both? You also need to ask questions on how often projects go over the set budget as well as get more information on payment policy.
If you understand the pricing properly, you will be able to avoid surprises along the way. Steer clear of companies that don’t give full disclosure on pricing. You must get a full price breakdown before signing the contract. Make sure that the agreed terms are also listed in the contract.
What is the estimated timeline to build the website?
You obviously want to know how soon your new website will be ready. Ask them about a similar project that they worked on and how soon they were able to complete it. The more projects that are similar to yours that the company has worked on the better. This is because they will be familiar with the common development challenges and have solutions to fix them quickly.
What is your design process?
This is an often overlooked question when evaluating the reliability of a web design firm. One thing you need to understand is that the design process of a firm is a great sign of their consistency, reliability and quality. Let them talk to you about the design process. Take note of the client’s involvement. If there is no step on discussing the project with the client, you will be provided with a pet project that will be unacceptable. A good company always takes time to listen to the client before doing any work.
Do you give full access to the design source files?
If you will not be allowed to get the design source files, you will be held hostage by the design company. You need to know beforehand who owns the design files. A good company will send you all the design source files at the end of the project.
You must ask these questions if you are looking for a great web design agency to work with. The rule of thumb however, is to listen to your intuition. If you don’t feel comfortable working with a certain firm, feel free to walk away. Choose a company you have confidence in.