A new website or website redesign project is a big undertaking. As experts of our craft, we understand how daunting it can feel. The first step is making a connection with a digital agency who best fits your needs. Like any kind of interview, you need to ask some questions to figure out if you’re a good match. But what should you ask? Gatorworks wants to help you by offering 25 potential queries that could be helpful when preparing for a new website. Whether these are questions the graphic designer should care about, the salesperson wants to be answered, or the customer would be most interested in – we want to be sure we can give key stakeholders the questions they can ask during a website redesign and development project.
Questions To Ask Before A Website Redesign
- What’s the timeline? This is more important than you might think! Even if you aren’t in a rush, you should get a realistic expectation of how long the process will take. Keep in mind that it’s pretty standard for a project to take around three to four months. If an agency claims to be able to provide a website faster than four weeks, that’s likely a red flag. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a good-looking, high-performing website can’t be either.
- What analytics tools will be included with my new website? There are free analytics tools that any website should have. Google Analytics should be put on any website—from Mom and Pop Shop to Huge Successful Corporation. Analytics will help you understand whether or not your new website is achieving 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: redesigning a website can 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 optimization specialists, but who include this as part of their website design process.
- What other marketing services do you offer that might meet my needs? Since you’re investing in a new site, take a look at redesigning your logo and brand. Do you need help with social media? What about ongoing SEO? Email marketing? Tradeshow graphics? Even if you don’t expect to utilize those services at this time, make sure you understand the website company’s full capabilities. Having a well-rounded partnership could be a future asset to unlock your online potential.
- How quickly can I expect replies from you? Unfortunately, we’ve heard many website horror stories from our clients. Most involve complaints about 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 some examples of your work? Always ask to see previous websites they’ve worked on. Hopefully they can show you sites that are similar to what you’re looking for. 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. (Feel free to check out some of our website design work.)
- 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, every little change needs to be handled by developers. That’s inconvenient, to say the least. This is why Gatorworks utilizes WordPress when we develop new websites. It’s the most popular content management system in the world. Once your site is ready, we also train your team on how to update it. Teach a man to fish, right?
- Why should I use you instead of making my own site on Squarespace or Weebly? Good question. We do our best 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. Because if they don’t know the differences, are they really of help to you?
- Do you do custom website design or will my site utilize a template? If you use a template, it’s less expensive to make but you’ll 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 as far as what the website can do and how it looks.
- Who will work on my website? Find out how many people are on staff at the company—and how many will be involved in your project. The answers 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. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved at all. When can you see designs? What if you don’t like the designs at a certain stage? How will changes be handled? 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 reluctant to ask this question because they don’t want to seem difficult. 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 price tag just isn’t worth it.
- Will my website be mobile-friendly? These days, the answer should be a resounding YES. People are looking at websites more through their phones or tablet devices. This means your website must not only look good on desktop, but on all possible devices. Additionally, Google has confirmed that mobile-friendliness affects your rankings. If a website company can’t guarantee a mobile-friendly site, RUN.
- 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. After all, 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 you 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.
Ask Gatorworks These Questions!
Want to ask the staff at Gatorworks a few of these questions? Whether you’re a key stakeholder with questions or a marketing coordinator just starting to explore the process, we’re happy to answer any questions about website redesign! Call us at 225-924-6109, contact us online, or fill out the form below. Unlock your online potential with the right digital marketing firm.
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