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Ten questions to ask your prospective web designer/developer

Are you considering hiring someone to build your new website? If you are, it will be useful for you to have a list of questions to ask. How your prospective web partner answers these questions will help you determine if they are qualified for the project. It will also help you decide if they’ll be a good fit for your business.

Related article: Web designer vs web developer: what is the difference?

Questions To Ask

1. How long have you been in the business of building websites?

To call one’s self a web professional does not require a license, degree or certificate. So how do you know if someone has the necessary skills and experience to carry out the job to the highest standards? Begin by asking how long they’ve been building websites professionally.

1A. Request a list of websites that they have recently completed.

While it isn’t necessary that they’ve worked on projects specific to your industry, it is important that they’ve built sites of similar complexity. For example, if your website relies heavily on calendar functionality, be sure your designer/developer has experience building and customizing calendars. If you want to sell your products or services online, they must have sufficient knowledge on creating and maintaining an e-commerce site.

Visit your candidate’s portfolio of sites and get a sense of their style. A good designer will be able to tailor the look of the site to fit the client’s brand, but by looking at their work you can get a general sense of what they find appealing. Ask yourself these questions: Are the sites easy to navigate? Do the pages load quickly? Does the structure make sense?

1B. Request a list of references.

You can tell a lot about a developer based on client feedback. Call the people on their reference list. Was the working relationship comfortable? Did the developer respond promptly? Ask: Was the final product satisfactory? If you had to build the site again, would you use the same developer?

How we answer the question:
“How Long Have you Been in the business of building websites?”

We started building websites in 2007 and boy have things changed a lot in that time. The browsers and devices people use and the software we employ have all changed significantly. Change is the one constant in web development. That’s why a good web developer has to be curious, have a passion for knowledge and be a creative problem solver.

You’ll find links to all our active sites in our web portfolio. All our website proposals include a list of references.

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2. What software do you use to build your websites?

When you hire a designer/developer, you are also buying into the system they use. Ask why their system is right for your business. Regardless of whether or not you continue to have an on-going relationship with the person you hire (and we hope you do!), you will be stuck with the system they chose. Understand the pros and cons of the system and whether or not it is hosted or self-hosted.

How we answer the question:
“What software do you use to build your websites?”

There are many website platforms to choose from. We choose WordPress because of its content management and SEO capabilities, as well as the fact that it is open-source and the most popular content management system in the world.

3. Will the website be mobile-responsive?

Most smart phones are able to display any website. However, when a site is not mobile-responsive, users on a mobile device frequently have to zoom and scroll a lot to view the information on their small screen. Additionally, there may be problems with navigation menus. Studies show that when users have trouble navigating a site from their smartphone, they often leave it in search of another whose content displays correctly. To avoid users being frustrated with your website, it must be mobile-responsive.

How we answer the question:
“Will the website be mobile-friendly?”

Yes. Every website we’ve built since 2011 has been mobile-responsive.

4. What is your development process?

Whether you are updating your existing website or starting from scratch, the developer you choose should be able to identify the series of steps that you’ll be taking together. When you hire someone to build a website for your business, you want to combine their expertise for what they do with your expertise about your own business. The best sites are a collaborative process, and you’ll be able to help them most if you know what to expect.

How we answer the question:
“What is your development process?”

We use Content First design. Rather than starting with a fixed layout, we begin with by compiling all the content. What pages do we want to present and exactly what information will go on each page? With these things in front of us, the design appears naturally. Rather than building boxes and then trying to stuff the content into these predetermined boxes, we let the design take shape organically.

Most projects following these steps:

  • Discovery
  • Data entry and structure review
  • Basic page design ideas
  • First concrete designs
  • Development and search engine optimization
  • Testing
  • Launch

5. What security measures will be in place?

The best way to protect your site and your visitors is to keep the website software current and use a high quality hosting service. Find out what your prospective developer’s plan is for keeping software up-to-date. What hosting company do they use and why? Will there be a backup system in place?

How we answer the question:
“What security precautions do you take?”

Our Hosting and Security package includes everything to keep your site running smoothly:

  • High performance, WordPress-optimized hosting is the foundation.
  • Automatic daily offsite backups ensure that we can quickly recover a working copy of your site if anything goes wrong.
  • Daily security scans check for malicious content and notify us if anything is found.
  • Daily notifications alert us to pending software updates. For some components, we enable automatic updates. For others, we manage updates manually, weighing stability against urgency.
  • Automatic uptime monitoring alerts us if your site is offline. We report any sustained outage to the hosting company and work with them to get your site back online as quickly as possible.

6. Can you tell me about making changes to the website after the site is live?

6A. Will I be able to make changes to the website myself?

Updating content regularly can improve search engine ranking, because search engines value sites that have frequent updates. Even if you aren’t ready to start making changes to your site immediately, it’s important to know that it will be possible. Ask your prospective developer if they will show you how to make changes to the website. Is this instruction included in the development price?

6B. Are you available to make changes for us?

Will they be available to make changes for you? Equally important, ask how quickly changes will be made. Also, what is the fee for a change?

How we anSwer the questions:
“will I be able to make changes to the website myself?”
“Are you available for making changes?”
  • Yes, you will be able to make most changes to the website yourself. Most packages come with a tutorial.
  • If you prefer, we can make the changes for you.

7. What SEO strategies do you practice?

Just having a website isn’t good enough. If your website is not built with SEO in mind, you will have difficulty getting found. It is important that the developer you choose has a understanding of what SEO is and how to optimize for it.

How we answer the question:
“What set strategies do you practice?”

The on-site and off-site SEO techniques we use give search engines the information they need to index and categorize your website properly. These are safe, logical, proven strategies that can influence search engine rankings and drive more qualified traffic. Learn more about our search-engine optimization service.

8. Will the site have Google Analytics installed?

Once your site is up and running, you’ll want a system in place to track who is coming to your website, what pages they visit and how long they spend there. By frequently evaluating the content and analyzing traffic, you will find areas for improvement. Therefore, it is important to ask your potential web designer/developer what tools they use to evaluate web traffic.

How we answer the question:
“Will the site have Google Analytics installed?”

Yes. We install Google Analytics (GA) on all our websites. GA s a free tool that provides valuable insights into how users are interacting with your site and other digital properties. GA tracks more than 200 different measurements and there is no fee to use it.

9. How many other projects will you be working on?

Few developers work on a single site at one time. However, you want to know that your project will get the attention it deserves. Yours is not a cookie-cutter business. Your website shouldn’t be either. Try to get a sense of how important your project is to the developer.

How we answer the question:
“How many other projects will you be working on?”

We generally have two to three sites in development at any one time.

10. Why should I hire your firm to build my website?

It’s no surprise that most any job interview will include the question, “Why should I hire you?” Asking it allows the interviewer to gain an understanding of the candidate’s personality and expertise. That’s why we recommend asking it of your potential developer.

How we answer the question:
“Why should I hire your firm to build my website?”

At Trevellyan.biz our technical knowledge, experience, professionalism and commitment ensure that our sites have solid structure, quality content, an appealing design, and employ the latest SEO techniques. Visit our testimonials page to learn what our clients have to say about the value that we offer.

Why we recommend you ask your prospective web designer/developer these questions

There are many things to consider when hiring a website designer/developer. Now you have a list of questions to ask that will help you make the right decision. By taking this time before hiring, you’ll be in the best position to choose the right partner for your project.

And now you have our answers to these questions, too. To learn more about how we can help you with your website, visit our website design and development services page, email us at [email protected] or call (518) 392-0846.

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