Website design or redesign is a big project to undertake for most companies. It’s a daunting task, having to go through the process of making a connection with an agency who you think best fits your needs. So, Gatorworks wants to help you by offering questions that could be helpful if you’re looking at a website redesign.
Questions To Ask Before A Website Redesign
- What’s the timeline? This is more important than you might think! Maybe you aren’t in a rush, but you should get a realistic expectation of how long the website redesign process is going to take and why. Some firms can crank out a website in just a month or two, others might have a more involved process that takes much longer. It would be pretty standard for a project to take in the three to four month range. If an agency claims to be able to provide a website faster than 4 weeks, it’s likely a red flag. It’s all about balance.
- What analytics tools will be included with my new website? There are free analytics tools that any website should have. Google Analytics is one such tool that should be put on any website, from Jim’s Auto Repair to Huge Successful Corporation and everything between. Analytics will help you evaluate and understand whether or not your new website is helping you achieve your goals. You can review useful information such as new users per month, where your traffic is coming from, and the location of your website visitors.
- What will you do to ensure my current search engine traffic is not affected? The reality is that redesigning a website does put search engine traffic at risk. If you have little or no search engine traffic, this may not be important to you. If you do, you’ll want to work with a team that not only has search engine specialists, but who include this as part of their website design process.
- What other marketing services do you offer that might meet my needs? Do you need a CRM? What about SEO? Email marketing? Tradeshow graphics? Make sure you understand the company’s capabilities before you begin working with them, even if you don’t expect to utilize those services at this time.
- How quickly can I expect replies from you? We would say the vast majority of client horror stories we hear involve them lamenting how long it took their previous agency or website company to get back to them. It can be extremely frustrating to know that something on your website is wrong or messed up and feel like it isn’t being treated with urgency.
- Will I have a dedicated project manager to work on my project throughout the timeline? Is it important to you that when you call someone they know who you are, where in the process you are, and has some knowledge of previous conversations? A dedicated project manager means you won’t have to explain these things each time you call.
- Can I see examples of what you consider your best work? Can I see examples of your most recent work? Always ask. If they say no, don’t hire them. If the work doesn’t excite you, don’t work with them. Why? Because if it doesn’t excite you, it won’t hold your customer’s attention either. See our work here.
- Will I be able to update my website or will I have to come to you for changes? Some websites are so complicated or convoluted that every little change needs to be handled by the website company. That’s inconvenient, to say the least. There is some balance to be struck between the complicated nature of website development and a content management system that is user friendly. This is why Gatorworks utilizes WordPress, the most popular content management system in the world.
- Why should I use you instead of making my own site on Squarespace or Weebly? Good question. We try to answer the question of WordPress vs. Squarespace and everyone else. But if a company can’t answer this question to your satisfaction, then it should worry you.
- Do you do custom website design or will my site utilize a template? This is an essential question. If you use a template, it can be made cheaper but you will undoubtedly have limitations down the line. On top of this, your site may look like many others. Custom website design is more expensive, but you have more latitude to determine what the website can do, how it looks, etc.
- Who will work on my website? How many people are on staff at the company and how many people will be involved in the project are great questions to ask because they can reveal aspects of a company’s process that they might otherwise be hesitant to talk about. Is it just one designer and one developer involved? If so, that’s not the ideal situation. At Gatorworks we involve everyone from project managers and designers to search engine experts and developers.
- How much input will I have on the website design? If you’re asking a company to design a website for you, obviously you want to put some trust in their design capabilities. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved to whatever degree you want to be involved. When can you see designs? What if you don’t like the designs at a certain stage? This is all important to know before inking a deal with a company.
- What happens if I don’t like the initial design? Some clients are reticent to ask this question because they feel it might make them seem more difficult than they are. But if you don’t like the design, it’s going to come up anyway. Ask the question and set the expectation that you reserve the right to say “this isn’t what I hoped it would be” and give the team the chance to go back to the drawing board. Keep in mind that additional fees may be incurred if the design team starts completely over.
- Can you create a logo, refresh a logo, or get unique/interesting imagery for my site? Can you procure stock images? Many companies can obtain photography, stock imagery, or videos for you. Find out from the beginning whether they can get what you need and how much it will cost. If you’re interested in logos, identity, or branding work, make that clear so that you can work with the right company for all of it.
- Will you be outsourcing ANY aspect of the website project? More companies do this than you think. Can you trust a company you’ve never met to handle your business appropriately? Find out whether they outsource and who they outsource to. If they do any outsourcing outside of the country, stop talking to them. The lower pricetag just isn’t worth it.
- Will my website be mobile-friendly? In an age where Internet traffic is now dominantly coming from mobile devices, this is a must. More and more, people are looking at websites through their phones or tablet devices. This means your website must not only look good on desktop, but on all possible devices. Google has confirmed that mobile-friendliness affects your rankings.
- Will my site be set up with an SSL certificate? What security measures will be put in place to protect the site? Anyone looking to have a website built should be concerned about security. Afterall, poor security could result in a hacked website. SSL certificates are essential, especially because browsers will now show alerts for “unsecure” sites.
- What will be done to ensure my website is search engine friendly? Does anyone on your staff specialize in SEO? What are their credentials? Ultimately, a lot of companies claim to offer SEO or claim that their sites follow SEO best practices. For a client, the only real way to know is to ask whether they have someone on staff whose specialty is SEO.
- What type of content management system do you use? Is it a widely used CMS like WordPress, or a specialized one that may cause problems down the line. Yes, it might seem nice to have a CMS that is designed specifically for your company, but will it be flexible? Will you need that company’s help anytime you need to make changes? If you stop working with that company after the website redesign, how does that affect the CMS? This is important, as a useless CMS will render your website defunct.
- What do you need from me to get started? You can show you’re serious and ready to get things started by asking what they need from you. It might be helpful, for example, for an agency to have access to current brand standards, your company logo in a certain format, or examples of other websites you like.
- Do you offer web hosting? Even once you have a website, you need it to be hosted successfully. If the site is constantly going down or is consistently slow, it will be more of a hindrance than a help. So, find out whether they offer hosting and why their hosting is an advantage to you.
- Could you explain your website testing process? Every company has a process. This question is more about you communicating that want things buttoned up at launch.
- Once my site goes live, if I wanted to make a change that is beyond the scope of the project, would you offer maintenance or can we adjust the agreement? Things change for most organizations. During the course of your website redesign process, something might change that needs to be reflected on the site. How hard is it going to be for your website design company to be flexible? How much will it cost to make small changes during the process or after it is completed? Find out beforehand.
- If, after the website is designed, we parted ways–what additional costs would I incur? Do I have to pay to keep my site live or for the right to use the CMS? Essentially, will I own my site? The worst thing that could happen is that you have a bad experience with your website design company and then you have to keep on paying them in perpetuity. Some companies consider website designs, logos, or other properties to be “theirs”. Figure out who owns what from the very beginning and avoid working with an agency that claims ownership of the things you’re paying for.
- Can you make a website that is ADA Compliant? This is becoming a concern for larger corporations and financial institutions, who want to ensure that all of their users are able to view and utilize their website as it was intended. There are also a host of regulatory requirements rolling out concerning ADA Compliance and certain types of websites. If you need ADA Compliance, figure out from the beginning whether this company can help you.
Want to ask the staff at Gatorworks a few of these questions? We’re happy to answer any questions about website redesign! Call us at 225-924-6109 or fill out the form below.