So are you looking to hire a web designer to help you with your business website?
Well if you're starting from scratch or your existing site just isn't generating the business leads you've expected then you have come to the right place. But before you jump into bed with any old website designer you need to do your homework! We have put together a list of 10 questions to ask your potential designer before you hire them. It’s important to ask the right questions during your selection process because who you choose to work with and build your new website will determine both the end product and how much you enjoy the process.
1. What kind of research will you do on our existing website business?
Work with a designer who understands your ideal client. Your customers and prospects are the life of your business. Even though an experienced designer can design a website for any business, ask if they specialise or have worked in your particular industry or niche and/or with your ideal client. It’s not uncommon for varied types of businesses who utilise industry-specific platforms for deeper functionality that would be cost-prohibitive and time-consuming to build on one’s own website. You’ll want an expert to properly configure the tech so the logic and functionality works seamlessly for your client. Designing and building your website in this way allows you and your designer to focus on creating the brand story, content writing and employ best practices needed for your online presence that also links to the aforementioned third-party platform. These important details must be considered at the onset. Your website designer should discuss in depth all the intricacies of your business. It’s necessary for a designer to see what you’ve been working with, your history, and your future goals in order to strategize a rebrand/rebuild. Small websites (1–10 pages) are pretty straightforward to review and give general verbal feedback on. If your website is in the medium-large size range (10+ pages), you may want to request the designer to provide you with a site audit/analysis or at the very least feedback of your current site to learn about the designer’s thought process and ideas. A designer genuinely interested in helping you get what you need won’t convince you to build a new website if making a few tweaks to your current site is all you need.
Breakpoints Advice: Meet your designer before hiring them. Schedule a call via phone, Zoom, Teams, Slack or if you’re both local, meet up in person to set your project up for success.
2. How do you price website design projects?
It's crucial that both parties are on the same page when it come to the costs of the project. Ensure you communicate your budgetbefore starting. Ask your web designer what options they offer and consider them against your budget. Web hosting, domain registration, integration plugins, and stock images are additional costs unless otherwise noted. Graphic design, content/copy writing, and brand photography are also important costs to keep in mind. You may also have additional add-on costs such as online scheduling, email marketing, membership, e-commerce platform and transactional fees, and/or third-party software or platforms. We’re in favour of being upfront about our pricing. It gives potential clients an expectation of what will be a necessary investment to hire us. However, these prices are baseline. To get a true cost specific to your business, first, we ask you to schedule a quick call with us and complete the form on our website which asks for basic information, just enough to tell us if we’d be the right fit for a project. We will then work with you to understand your requirements so we are able to give you an accurate quote, timeline and outline of what it’s going to take to create your website.
Breakpoints Advice: Make sure that the language spoken aligns with your website content writing needs. The last thing you need is the added complexity of miscommunication because of language differences, inferences or different cultural references.
3. How long does it take to launch a new website?
Your web designer should be able to give you a timeframe for your project based on your content in hand and what you will need to complete before the project can start. Check to see if the timeline fits your needs. The benefit of specialising in Webflow means we can move at a far greater pace than your average WordPress agency, since Webflow allows for easy design and development within the tool itself. We can also set up custom CMS collections for clients (similar to custom post types in WordPress) in order for you to manage the site yourself. Generally our website process will take from 1-3 months to complete our full process from strategy through to handing you the final staging link. We like to work in an agile manner and provide you with access to phases as soon as they are ready so you can start gaining value from the project before it is finished.
Breakpoints Advice: It’s a good idea to allow extra time for unexpected issues or changes. Clearly communicate the project deadline and always read the contract because some companies charge late fees if a project pushes past the deadline.
4. What is in your standard website design package?
Of course this will vary across every designer that you speak with, don't be afriad to negotiate if you feel you have some of those bases covered, most designers will accomodate you. We don't cut corners, and we certainly don't want our clients to be caught out with hidden costs. Therefore, with all of our website packages, we include the following as standard: - Content: Strategy workshop, sitemap, copywriting (editing for SEO & tone of voice) - Design: Wireframes, design system, UI of pages, mobile versions, QA, internal feedback, 2x rounds of revisions - Development: CMS Setup, bespoke creation of pages, collections / dynamic templates, analytics & tagging - Before launch: Testing, bug fixes, CMS training, technical SEO, setting up hosting - Project management: Dedicated project manager with weekly checkins via Slack or Zoom
5. What do you need from me before we start the project?
It's time to get your house in order and collect all that collateral from whatever in-tray, folder or inbox it's been hiding in! Talk with your web designer and get a checklist of exactly what you’ll need to give them to get started. Nothing worse that having delays as on one can find the company logo now that the in-house graphic designer left! Talk with your web designer and get a checklist of exactly what you’ll need to give them to get started. Content creation really depends on the designer’s process and your budget. Generally speaking, lower-budget website builds mean you provide all the written and visual content. The designer then builds the site with that content. Higher-budget builds usually include content writing and brand photoshoots are done for you, but that does not mean you are not involved. Get clarity on what they need from you and when. An experienced brand and website designer will always provide you with direction on all of these things.
Breakpoints advice: Work with someone in your time zone. This is an important consideration because if you hire a company several time zones away, you may be transacting business in the wee hours of the night.
6. Which content management system do you use?
The content management system (CMS) is what’s used to create and organize content on your website unless you are getting a website coded from scratch (highly unlikely today!). It’s important to know what CMS your designer is using to develop your website especially if you will be adding content and maintaining your own website post-launch. Does the CMS support business growth? Can you make updates on your own? Can you add on e-commerce? Can you add on membership?Do you have all the functionality your business needs and will need in the future?At Breakpoint Web Design, we build websites on the Webflow platform. The CMS platform you need comes down to what your business needs. After several years working with WordPress, we made the switch to Webflow. Keep in mind like most things in life, every CMS has its pros and cons.
Breakpoints advice: Ask for a demo to see if your team can perform the updates without an engineering degree.
7. Are your web designs responsive?
Such an important question! Red flags are flying if a designer says no. Google’s Mobile Index makes having a mobile-friendly design non-negotiable. A website that responds for desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile(portrait & landscape) with one HTML code on the same URL is Responsive Web Design. This means the website layout adjusts depending on the device screen size it’s displayed on. Here is an easy way to tell if the website is responsive: Open the website in a browser window > Adjust the size of the browser window > Look at the content on the page and see if it’s moving along with the size of the browser. If the content is not adjusting, it’s not responsive. You want your site to be truly responsive. Webflow's code is responsive and does most of the heavy lifting, but we always optimize for different device screens with custom code to make sure everything is displaying optimally before going live.
8. Can you build an e-commerce site?
The design of an e-commerce site differs from a typical brochure-style website. If you’re planning on building an e-commerce store carve out some time to discuss tech functionality with your designer, there are many platforms available and they might not have experience with your preferred option. It’s important you know the opportunities and limitations of the e-commerce CMS platform. You want to be able to manage the online store yourself or have a dedicated store manager for the job. E-commerce can be a big undertaking depending on how much inventory you have, the process for shipping, taxes, extensions, commerce policies, auto emails, etc. If you aren't ready to sell just yet, make sure that the website has the functionality to scale quickly to sell. At Breakpoint Website Design we use both Webflow and Shopify as our key e-commerce platforms depending on our customers needs. If you are a large scale retailer selling 100's of items all with multiple variations then we would recommend Shopify, if your business just wants sell some additional products and services as a side hustle then Webflow gives you the creativity and flexibilty you need.
9. What training/support do you offer when the site is launched?
Your website should be treated as living document repository, regularly updating the content will always help that elusive Google ranking. If you’re someone who will want to make changes and updates on your own make sure your web designer uses a web platform that’s user-friendly and easy to use so you can own and maintain your site yourself. Ask your web designer about website training lessons and documentation. We supply a Editors user guide as a minimum. If you prefer to simply send edits and updates and not do it yourself, ask us we offer a post-launch ad-hoc support service. For larger businesses that don't want to employ a full time employee, we offer enterprise packages to suit fast-growing businesses. The average wage for a marketing assistant is around 50k per year. We can offer you unlimited requests for far less than that with the added bonus of having a seasoned professional at the helm without the need to employ anyone. Just pay us month to month as you need us, cancel at anytime. View Breakpoint Web Design maintenance enterprise packages.
10. How long will it get to the front page of Google?
Getting to that front page is everyones goal! Let's face it, how many of us ever go to the 2nd page let alone the 3rd or 4th. It depends on a great many factors such as the competiveness of the keywords you are targeting, the quality the content and the strenght of your website's backlinks(Backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website through an anchor text. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page thus indicating relevance, quality, and authority to the web page. Pages with a high number of relevant backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings). Usually it can take several months to see significant gains in your ranking on Google and even longer when you are searching for the utopia that is the first page for those competitive keywords.
Breakpoints advice: Google is regularly updating the algorithms that measure the qualifiers so it should be an ongoing effort for any business!
So, there you have a starter for 10! Do your homework, go in prepared to any zoom call or face to face meeting and remember you are the client, well sort of, maybe...
"Moturoa AFC found Breakpoint to be very friendly, supportive and professional. Their service when building our football clubs website included innovative ideas and very effective design work. They were highly approachable and flexible in regards to the work being completed. The feedback from our club members and the wider community about our new, modern and regularly updated website has been nothing but positive." Scotty Manson Moturoa AFC President