A great web designer or web design agency can be really effective in helping your company look professional and increase leads or sales online. Unfortunately, they are also known for the exact opposite—making you look bad and lose money online.
Many clients contact us here at Structure because of the second experience—the web design agency they paid to help them, only hurt them.
At the end of the day, they feel like their website is no better than when they started and it’s only costing them money. While we can’t completely guarantee a resolution to this problem for every business, this article can help companies like yours filter out the web design agencies that will waste your time and money.
1. How long have they been designing and developing websites?
Experience is one of the primary indicators of whether hiring a web design agency will do a good job for you.
A web design agency that is trustworthy should have the experience of designing at least five legitimate websites or have a minimum of two years of experience. Even better if they have a team because the best work comes from collaboration.
2. What’s your web design process?
Creativity is obviously one of the keys to crafting a website that looks professional and works for your business.
However, creativity is not the only important thing: strategy and organization are every bit as important.
A loose or undefined process is a warning sign that your designer is not as experienced as they appear at first. A poorly designed website is typically the result of a poorly designed process.
Want to work with a web designer that has a great process, and creates great websites? Learn more about Structure and about our 5 Step Web Design Process.
3. How long will the project take?
A typical custom web design project will take three to six months to complete.
Anything less than that, again, should make you pause and reevaluate what the designer is saying. They probably either don’t have enough experience to know how long the process will take—or they just aren’t telling the truth. Good work takes time.
Curious how long your custom website project would take? Schedule a free discovery call with our professional team and we’ll build you a plan.
4. Who does the work?
Web designers and design agencies can be set up in a variety of ways. Know who the person is who will be doing the work.
Is it just one person freelancing the project? An entire in-house team who will all be involved in the different steps of the process? Or is the design outsourced to independent designers?
All of these factors can change the end result, so make sure you are in the loop of what will be happening when the project is no longer in your hands.
At Structure, there might be anywhere from three to ten teammates that touch your project, depending on the scope of work. However, you’ll work with one point of contact throughout your entire web design project so you don’t have to herd the cats 🙂
5. What platforms does the web design agency use?
Different platforms require different levels of skill and usually take a long time to master. A truly experienced designer will probably not know everything about every platform. That’s why they say, “jack of all trades, master of none.”
The truth is, your web designer should be able to answer clearly and specifically what platforms they use, and what the process is like for that particular platform.
A common answer might be WordPress, WordPress and WooCommerce, Webflow, or Shopify. If your designer claims to be experienced in every platform or content management system, you might want to go in a different direction.
6. How does the web design agency ensure you don’t lose web traffic, and maintain good SEO?
Having a beautiful website, as lovely as that is, is truly only the very tip of the iceberg. Your designer should be able to tell you exactly how they plan to ensure that your search engine optimization is as good as it can be. If they charge a little extra for excellent SEO work, don’t complain; thank them instead for caring enough to make sure your site will appear in as many Google searches as possible!
7. Does the web design agency guarantee their work?
A website designer that will offer you a guarantee is a sure sign that they are confident in their work and will stand behind it. Web designers offer different lengths of time for guarantees, all the way from two weeks to an entire lifetime.
It is up to you how long you want to have a guarantee on your website’s design—but a designer that offers no guarantee whatsoever is not a good indicator of a quality end result.
At Structure, we offer a lifetime website guarantee. According to research, the average lifespan of a website is two years and seven months. A website’s life span can vary by industry and company, and several factors will determine how quickly an individual business should refresh its website—but our guarantee ensures that our websites will get your business to that next stage.
8. Will your web design agency give you a written, itemized proposal outlining the scope of work and terms of payment?
Do not make the mistake of accepting a vague work outline or terms of price and payment.
Let me state that again. Do not make the mistake of accepting a vague work outline or terms of price and payment.
Make sure your designer outlines the details of the work they will do for you, what the deliverables will be, and how and when you need to pay them. Make sure you understand the entirety of the process before you sign, pay, or start.
Each web design proposal at Structure outlines each page we’ll build, the exact systems and frameworks we’ll use to build your website, and a full cost breakdown of the service fees and any subscriptions you’ll need to pay for during the lifetime of your website.
9. Will your web design agency accept monthly or milestone payments?
Most web design agencies have standard terms of payment. It is common for web design clients to either pay their designer at milestones in the project or once per month for its duration.
Other design agencies will offer an option to split the payment into six or twelve monthly payments. Different options can work well for you depending on your situation but just beware of any agency that wants the entire payment before they have done the work for you, or else the price is divided into just a few extra-large installments.
10. Does the web design agency offer ongoing support?
This question will help you and your designer stay aligned after your site goes live.
Will they be available for you to ask questions even after they are technically finished with your project? Expect them to have a plan for how they will continue the relationship or not. If they seem in a hurry to do the work and brush you off, that is a warning sign.
Even though ongoing support can sound expensive and unnecessary, especially if you like to DIY most things on your website, there’s always another side to the coin.
If a web design agency doesn’t want to continue the relationship, it might mean they don’t stand behind their work and just want to end it so they don’t have to deal with you when your website falls apart.
If your website is confusing, It’s time to get a business website that brings you a steady stream of customers
Your website could be making money for your business. Watch our free website training 5 Reasons Your Website Doesn’t Create Sales and you’ll know how to increase sales, create fans of your business, and stop losing to the competition.