In my last article, I stated an initial three questions you should ask before hiring a web designer. You want to know who will own the domain name, the various costs, the terms and what exactly are you getting for your money. (You can view it at this link – http://bit.ly/nd-sr20).
In this second part, let’s explore what other questions you should be asking the potential web design vendor before you contract them for your job.
What results have you achieved for your other clients?
There’s no point in getting a website if you don’t intend for it to bring you business on its own. I know for a fact that most people want to see a web designer’s portfolio and base their hiring decision solely on what they see there. They see websites that are graphically pleasing with lots of fancy animations. But you should ask the potential vendor what business their design brought the client.
The vendor should be able to present anecdotes, testimonials, case studies and references on having delivered business, saved costs or improved some other notable metric with the websites they have built for their clients. Increasing newsletter subscribers, reducing bounce rate, lowering page load time or generating telephone inquiries are all metrics that can be measured and which have an impact on the business.
Do you provide other online marketing services that compliment the website?
In the early days of web design, people would say “If you build it, they will come.” We now know this to be totally false. You can’t just build a website in a vacuum and expect it to promote itself; things just do not work that way.
The web designer may be able to assist you with other online marketing services that compliment your website such as email marketing, social media services, multimedia content and online advertising services. They can provide you with set-up and training to do it yourself, or they may offer to manage it for you.
You should find out from the potential web design vendor how they would integrate these additional marketing services into the website. For example, you may want to begin email marketing. The web designer can include sign up forms scattered throughout the website to gather subscriptions. Then they can recommend an email marketing service and set you up with the basic templates to get your email marketing program going.
Can I update the website myself or will you have to update it for me?
Many websites are built with Content Management Systems (CMS) that allow someone besides the developer to update the website. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are examples of popular CMSs used to build websites of all sizes and uses. You should ask your web designer if they are building your website with a CMS that allows you to easily update your own website.
When I started building websites for clients, I built ones that they could not update themselves and would need me to update for them. Then I started giving new clients the option of a website with a CMS, at a higher price than a non-CMS website. Now, I build most new client websites with WordPress, the most popular CMS on the internet and teach them how to update the website themselves, along with some documentation. If they require a refresher, they can always contact me.
Of course, it’s up to you to decide which type of website you want. My professional opinion is that you should have the website developed with a CMS, even if you intend to have the web designer do your updates. You never know if a new employee may have the basic skills to update the website, so you’ll reduce some costs by having them do it instead of paying the web designer.
How will I know how many people visit my website?
If you’re having a website developed, you always want to know metrics like how many people visit your website. You also want to know many other metrics like what are your most popular pages, what are the pages most people leave your website, what phrases do visitors use to find your website in a search engine and how many visitors view your site on mobile devices.
The web designer makes this happen with the use of a website analytics package. A popular free website analytics software is Google Analytics (GA). The web designer can add a few lines of code to your site provided by GA which allows them to track your website’s metrics. They can set GA to send you regular reports in PDF form via email so you can get an overview of the visitor performance of your website.
But GA isn’t your only option. If you have a WordPress website, the web designer can use a plugin called Jetpack to provide visitor statistics. It isn’t as in-depth as GA but it does a decent job at giving you what you need.
Asking the right questions of your potential vendor ensures that you don’t waste time or money on the wrong one. Again, if you’d like to read the first set of questions you should ask before hiring a web designer, you can see them at this link – http://bit.ly/nd-sr20
Sherwin Ramnarine helps businesses increase revenue from their websites. Download the free guide “Profitable Business Websites” at www.imarketsb.com/pbw or send him a message at [email protected]