7 Questions to ask before hiring a website builder
Are you thinking about building a website or redesigning your current website, but have no idea where to start? Designing, developing, and maintaining a website yourself can make you want to curl up into a ball and cry.
Maybe you decided that it’s easier to outsource this part of your business. Leave it to the professionals. But the fear of leaving it to someone else and trusting them to make good choices for your business creates a lot of questions and anxiety.
That’s why we created a list of questions to ask a website business before you hire them. Asking questions before you hire a builder and sign a contract helps you ensure that they are a good fit for your business, have a reputable business themselves, and have proven results from past work.
Here are 7 questions before you hire a website builder before you hire them:
What services do you offer?
There are many parts to building a website, and not all website businesses offer all of the services.
- Map out the website purpose and functions and user experience.
- Design all of the menu layouts for the website.
- Design the overall look and feel of the website.
- Create copy for the website.
- Research SEO for the website.
- Gather images for the website.
- Design the specific layout of each website page.
- Determine host for the website and domain.
- Develop the website.
- Integrate and test plugins or website function options.
- Add SEO to website pages and alt text to images.
- Check on-page SEO and accessibility.
There’s so much to do to build a website, and after it’s built, there’s managing the website, which creates a ton of other responsibilities.
It may be hard to find a website designer who can do it all. When looking into building a website, think of it as more than just a pretty place people go to learn about your business. It needs to be optimized so that it can be found in the first place. It needs to have copy that will convert leads into paying customers, and you need to know how to properly market your newly developed site.
This question is necessary to ask when looking at website building businesses to help you determine if you will need to hire multiple businesses to do different things, or if you’ve found an all-in-one business.
At Martha Warner, LLC, we put together a team that can do everything from designing websites to meet your business needs to implementing SEO. But just because a business can do something, doesn’t mean your questions stop there.
What is your process and timeline?
The process of designing and developing a website takes several steps and time. When you ask a website business about their process and timeline, their response will show you their level of experience.
Ask your builder if they have a step-by-step process that they adhere to or standard operating procedures that they follow. Ask them what their progress check-in process looks like. They may have a project management tool where you can see the progress that is being made. We have SOPs and checklists that we use, but we also use our project management system ClickUp to manage all client projects. It helps our team keep on task and keep track of every step of the website building process.
While discussing the design process also ask for an estimated time of completion. There are many factors that go into how long a website build will take from idea to completion.
- How full is their current roster?
- How many pages are they designing?
- Are they creating the copy as well?
- How complex is the design to implement?
There is no wrong or right answer here, but choose a business that has a time frame that fits within your needs.
What is included in the price?
Oftentimes, we think that cheaper is better. But that’s not always the case. There are numerous factors that go into how a website business builds their pricing. Here are just a few things to consider when it comes to pricing:
- Experience–you’re paying for the experience of the website building team, so ask how much collective experience they have in each area of design, development, copywriting, SEO, accessibility, etc.
- Pages–you’re going to pay for the design and development of each page, so consider how many pages your website will have.
- Function–you’re paying for functions of your website like commerce options, calendars, etc., so be prepared to pay a bit more for some more complex aspects of your website.
- Edits–you should have 2-3 rounds of revisions specifically outlined in your contract, so be aware that small changes can add up if you ask for more changes after your initial edits.
The bottom line is that your contract should clearly outline exactly what you get, but consider what the ongoing cost of your website might be as well. You need to know if you will pay the website builder business for hosting and your domain each year or if you will pay a host directly.
Will my website be SEO optimized?
SEO is a no-brainer for good website building companies, but often, business owners don’t recognize the need for SEO services. SEO is critical in making sure your website will be seen. No matter how great your website looks and functions, if it’s not optimized with a clear strategy, no one is seeing it.
Things that your website building business consider:
- Page titles
- Keywords/keyword research
- Mobile friendliness
- New or newly updated content
- Meta descriptions
- Alt text
- URL structure
An optimized SEO strategy needs to happen from the start and should be well thought out before the project even begins.
Will my website be accessible?
Many business owners and website building businesses do not think about accessibility. It’s hidden for those who don’t need it. But for those of us who are differently abled, it’s crucial to ensure we can actually use a website. That’s why it’s a really important factor to consider in designing and to implement when building a website.
According to WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind), one in four adults in the United States are differently abled. You may be missing out on an entire portion of your audience by not making your website accessible to all.
Some things to consider when making your website accessible:
- Can those with blindness, low vision, or color blindness use your website with the same function others have?
- What will you do for your audience if they are hearing impaired or deaf?
- What can you include on your website for those that cannot use a mouse or have limited fine motor skills?
- Can you help those who have a hard time focusing on larger amounts of information?
Check out this social media post to gain more insight into creating a website that is accessible for all users and make sure your website builder values accessibility for users.
Do you offer maintenance services?
Some web businesses offer website builds with no maintenance while others offer maintenance services. Maintenance services are updates to plug-ins, website content, and backup support. If you choose a business who offers these services, you’ll likely pay a monthly or annual fee.
If you have enough knowledge on websites to understand how to do basic updates, then you may be okay with a business that does not offer these services. However, if you want to be hands off, it may be best to hire a company who offers maintenance services.
Can I see projects and results of past clients?
An experienced website business should have no problem showing you past work that they have completed or testimonials from past clients. It’s also a good idea to ask for some of the results from those websites. Someone can build a beautiful website, but if it’s not driving traffic, is it really that great?
Keep in mind that once a website builder has turned over a website to a business owner, the site can get messy from the business owner. Most website developers will tell you that ahead of you viewing the sample site.
Click here to see some of our recent work and take a look at this Google Search impact we got for one of our clients in 30 days!
Website creation and maintenance can be time consuming and intimidating to those who have never created a website before. If you are feeling overwhelmed trying to build your website, you aren’t alone!
Let the experienced team at Martha Warner, LLC help ease that burden for you. We’ll design a unique website that your clients will enjoy. We’ll develop a website that is user-friendly for you and your customers. And if you’re not able to maintain it, we will!
If this is something you need for your business, reach out!