Important Questions to ask your Potential Web Designer / Web Developer

Based on one of our previous posts, “The True Cost of a Free Website“, we recommend seeking a professional web developer / designer or web firm to help you create your website… it will save you time, frustration, and often times money in the end.

So how do you go about finding a good developer?  Start by asking around.  See if you can get a list of referals of developers or firms that others you know have worked with. You can also find websites you like and try to find out who developed them (sometimes there is a link in the footer of the website).  If that doesn’t work, search google for local web development firms.  Local firms are preferable to remote firms because it can be helpful to have face-to-face meetings to sort through the details (and discussions) of your website.

Once you’ve found one or more firms to inquire with, be sure to ask them the following questions:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Do you outsource any of your design / development services?
  3. What do you (or your team) do  to stay up with current design and development best practices & trends?
  4. Do you provide custom web designs, or do you utilize templates?
  5. Are your websites W3C compliant?
  6. What is your typical timeframe for developing a website? 
  7. Will you provide a timeline for completion including milestone deliverables and their associated deadlines once the site requirements have been established?
  8. What is your pricing model? 
  9. Do you break down costs in the estimate for us to review?
  10. Do you have a defined development process?  What does it look like?
  11. What practices do you follow to help with Search Engine Optimization?
  12. Who on your staff will be working on my project?
  13. Who will be my main point of contact?
  14. Will I own the code (with complete access) and intellectual rights to my website once you are done with the development?
  15. How much will I pay for maintenance and support?  Are ongoing changes a flat-fee or hourly rate?
  16. Can you provide a list of example websites you’ve designed and built that are similar in nature to the one you’re buiding for me?
  17. What are your office hours?  What happens if there is an issue outside of normal office hours?
  18. What is your warranty policy (i.e. what happens if there are bugs in the website that need to be resolved)?
  19. Where will my website be hosted (make sure to price out other hosting options)?  If I have my own preferred host, can I host the website there instead?

By asking these questions, you will have a better feel for the experience level and capabilities of the firm(s) you’re talking with.  It’s helpful to talk to a couple firms (at least) so you can compare the answers.  By knowing which questions to ask, you’ll be one step closer to identifying which firm is best suited to handle your web project.

Related Posts: The True Cost of a Free Website

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