6 Questions (you definitely need) to ask your web designer/developer when getting your website built
One of the more overwhelming aspects for an upcoming brand or small business trying to get set up online is finding a trusted website developer to build their website. For your site to be a viable competitor to the roughly 1.97 billion websites currently online as of 2023, you need to be asking the right questions to identify the right website development partner for your website project.
This article isn’t just another ‘Questions to ask your web developer’ blog article. We’ll be covering the kind of questions that allow you to get a website that is beautiful, functional, accessible, inclusive, and brings you results. We’re talking new leads as a result of increased traffic, more brand awareness, or more sales on your e-commerce site. By asking your prospective web design and development partner these questions, you’ll be able to gauge whether their experience goes beyond technical expertise and employs industry best practices.
1. What is your experience in developing websites?
Ask your developer to share with you their experience in website design and website development. Inquire about their portfolio. Seeing this will give you a strong indication of what they can do creatively and technically.
You can take this question a step further by letting your development partner know the goals for your website and having them explain to you the kind of website solution they would propose. Your website is a 24/7 marketing channel and should therefore help you achieve your business and strategic goals.
An experienced developer should guide you through the entire web design and development process from start to finish. For the record, we’re not knocking inexperienced developers. While they may not have experience on paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean they're not going to make a good partner. They could very well be creative and eager to demonstrate their abilities. Consider having a website audit done afterwards by an experienced web design and development firm to ensure that the build was done well.
You can also check your developer’s references to confirm that they can do what they say they can. Find out from their past clients what went well and what didn't. Doing this will give you confidence in their ability and the experience that they will deliver.
Pro tip: Should you choose to go with a comparatively inexperienced web developer, you can point them to existing websites that you would like them to be inspired by. You may also ask them to mock-up for you a dummy site to test their skills.
2. Will my website be discoverable/found on search engines?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for your website. Any developer you work with should have a technical SEO strategy for your project to help you improve your organic ranking on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). It's worth noting that ranking on the first page of search engines takes time.
You could also use paid ads to make your website discoverable. However, it is always good practice to focus on improving your ranking because more trust and more authority come with being a top result on search engines. Request your web designers and developers to adhere to all SEO principles and not take shortcuts because unethical methods to elevate your ranking can get you penalised or even blocked by search engines
3. Will my website be adequately viewable on mobile devices?
It’s not uncommon for developers to forget to optimise websites for other devices like mobile phones and tablets. It is vital to create a viewable site on different devices, primarily since most people use smart mobile devices nowadays (3.8 billion people as of 2021). If your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it can have a negative impact on the user experience and lead to poor rankings in search engines.
4. What do you require from me before we begin the project?
A developer will require a few things from you before they can start working on your website. They will need to know what kind of design you have in mind, what features the site should have, and how much time it should take for them to complete. Ensure that you also provide any images and videos you want to use on your website, as well as any textual content you want on your website. You should also provide access to an FTP (File Transfer Protocol)server or other web hosting service so that they can upload the files whenever necessary(this is if you purchased your domain and hosting prior to the project).
5. What is your approach to website maintenance and support?
Website maintenance and support are crucial for ensuring that your website runs smoothly and effectively. A well-maintained website with minimal downtime will not only provide a better user experience but also keep your website ranking high in search engines.
Ask your developer about their approach to website maintenance and support. Find out what they can offer you in terms of regular updates, backups, and security measures. Also, ask about their policy on fixing bugs and technical issues that may arise.
A reliable web developer should have a clear support and maintenance plan in place to keep your website running optimally. This may include a detailed maintenance schedule, timely software updates, and regular backups of your website data.
It’s also important to ask about their response time and availability in case of any emergency or urgent issues. Having a fast response time and reliable support can make a huge difference in maintaining the integrity and functionality of your website.
6. How can I make my website more accessible and inclusive?
There are more than 1 billion people globally who suffer from physical impairments and disabilities but still deserve to have good user experiences on the web. As new web technologies emerge, there is an opportunity to design for all kinds of users. One way to do this is by making sure our websites are more accessible and inclusive. Your developer should be able to explain and guide you on how they intend to make your website more accessible and inclusive - for example, what will the experience for the visually impaired be so that they too can get information from your site?
It is good to note that you can't just make changes to your website and expect it to be fully accessible. You need to consult with people with disabilities, their advocates, and professional accessibility consultants who can help you create a better experience for all users.
We hope that this guide has given you some insight into what questions to ask when getting your website built. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the different components of your site, and knowing what questions need to be answered will help you get there faster. If you’re still not sure what questions to ask, or if you need help with your site’s design or development, please contact us at [email protected] We can help you get the most out of your website and make sure that it does exactly what it needs to do!