5 Questions Your Web Designer Should Ask You
When you start searching for the right company or individual to build your new website, you should always do your due diligence before signing any contracts. This may include interviews or simply discussions with them. You need to know about who you’re working with. What’s their experience level? Do they have examples of their work that you can see? Have they done any work in your industry?
These are important things to know if you’re getting into a business arrangement. After all, if you don’t know who you’re working with and they don’t know you, how can you expect to get what you want? You need to trust them and know that they have your best interests in mind. You need to be assured that they will be willing to work with you to help you reach your ultimate goal and provide you with an amazing website for your business.
It’s a Two Way Street
Something that many people don’t think about is that the web designer should be asking you questions as well. How can they provide an accurate estimate if they don’t really know what you want or need? There are a lot of companies out there selling “one-size-fits-all” type packages. I don’t believe this works because every situation is different. Sure, you might get an OK website for a few hundred bucks, but what kind of service and support will you be able to get? What if you want a certain add-on? They’ll probably charge extra for that.
Good designers will have questions for you so they can get a more accurate idea of what needs to be done. Here at DSD, we have a general questionnaire that we provide to anyone requesting an estimate. Once the form is filled out, we are able to then customize a few more questions if we don’t have enough information. The goal is to have as much detail as possible before providing an estimate so there aren’t any surprises later on.
We’ve picked out five questions that we believe any designer should ask you before moving forward with a contract or even providing an estimate. We actually ask these exact questions when we’re interviewing a potential client.
1. What is the ultimate goal for your website?
This one may seem like a no brainer, right? Obviously, you want to make money! This isn’t always the case though. You may have products to sell, but you may also have a brick and mortar location where you sell as well. In this case, you may want your website to bring foot traffic to your store. I’m sure you’ve seen how many big box stores are now offering buy online, pick up in store options. Why not offer this yourself?
You may need a way of displaying your artwork if you’re an artist. We’ve worked on some portfolio sites and they allow the artists to tell their fans and customers where they will be showing next as well as display their most recent work. Of course, they can sell the art on the site if they want, but many prefer to just show the price and allow customers to contact them in order to make a purchase. In this situation, the purpose of the site isn’t just to sell, is it?
2. List 3 websites that you like and what you like about them.
This one is important for the designer to get a feel for your style. There may be certain aspects of several sites that you like, but you may not like everything. The important thing is to list at least three sites and specify what it is that you actually like. Don’t just say, I like blahblah.com and leave it at that. Be specific. The more detail you give, the better it is for the designer as they will be able to see what it is specifically that you like.
3. List 3 websites that you don’t like and what you don’t like about them.
Of course, it won’t do a lot of good for you to tell the designer what you DO like without telling them what you DON’T like, right? It’s kind of funny to me how many people understand the question about what they like, but then don’t get why we ask them about the opposite. This question can save you a lot of headaches throughout the process because the designer will have a good idea of what to stay away from during the process.
4. Who are your main competitors?
You may not think this question really goes with having a website designed, but believe me – it does. I ask this question so I can do some research in regards to which of the listed competitors are the most productive in the market and they type of website they have. My ultimate goal is to design a website that blows your competition out of the water. I want to make a website that is amazing and can catch the attention of the competition’s customers. After all, in today’s growing online world, many people will choose a company based on the impression of their website. If they’ve never dealt with two companies, but one has an awesome, easy to use website, they’ll choose that one because they have their, you know what, together online. It’s the first impression of your company. It has to be done right.
5. What’s your budget?
This question seems to be a sensitive one with many people. Some designers are nervous to ask and some clients are hesitant to answer. I understand both sides of this issue. The designers are worried that the clients will be upset about them asking and may lose the business because of it. The clients are afraid that if they go in openly with a high number (the true number) they will definitely have a high estimate. I will be honest here, there are some companies that will do everything they can to max out the budget. That’s just an unavoidable part of business. However, there are companies that will provide a reasonable estimate no matter what your budget is. The important thing to remember is that your budget needs to fit what you need done. Don’t go in with a $500 budget needing $10,000 of work and get mad if the designer tells you they can’t do it.
I believe that this is a very important question that needs to be answered before an estimate can be completed. My reason for this is that I don’t want to go in and spend the time on an estimate for a client only to find that they don’t want to put any money into their website. I’ve run into this a lot. People will send me a request for an estimate without giving me any detail and when I ask for a budget, they don’t respond. In my eyes, they’re looking for something for free and that’s just not how it works. I want to know what the budget is so I can do my best to stay within that budget, not because I want to max it out. If I can’t give everything the client wants within the budget they provide, I will try to work something out, but if it’s just too far out, I will have to be honest and say I can’t do it.
These are just a few examples of questions that your web designer should be asking you. If you have others that you expect to be asked, or have been asked in the past, let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, if you’re a designer and have other questions that you ask your clients in the discovery phase of the design process, please share those as well!