5 Questions to Ask Your Web Designer Before You Sign a Contract

Getting that read-to-launch feeling? To be sure you’re getting what you need (and what you paid for) ask your web designer these 5 simple questions…before it’s too late:

1. Is my site mobile responsive (and not just mobile friendly)?

A website built with mobile responsive design is essential. Mobile responsiveness means that your site looks and functions differently depending on the size of the screen it is on – an iPad versus a laptop versus a smartphone, for example. And not all responsiveness is created equal – just because your site can appear on mobile devices doesn’t mean it’s a good experience for your customers. If your website is going to be “mobile friendly” it’s not going to be very friendly for users at all.

2. Is it easy for me to update?

You should be able to access and update your own site. These days there are multiple platforms that, with minimal training and enough computer savvy to email and use Word, you should be able to manage your own content without being beholden to a designer – saving you both time and money.

3. Is the design SEO & user friendly?

User experience is key – make sure that your site follows the “three clicks and you’re out” rule – overcomplicated sites requiring a physics degree to navigate might look impressive but they won’t get used. Keep it simple.

SEO (search engine optimization) doesn’t only refer to the words on your page – although those are important. Equally important are meta-tags, alt-text on images, and SEO programming. Your designer should be able to explain exactly how their code will help you rise in Google rankings.

4. Are you my host? Are you my domain holder?

It always amazes me when business owners don’t know who holds their domain. Your domain is the most important piece of your web presence, and having it under your control is key. Your domain name should be registered by you as a company or personally, however if you choose to have another company register it for you, that information should be right at your fingertips.

Hosting is another beast altogether. Your website host can determine how much speed you get, how many users can access your site at once, and they also determine your “up time” – how much of the year your website is visible. You should have 99% up time, with the 1% down time being for maintenance or unforeseen issues.

5. How much training and support will I receive? (And how much will it cost?)

Once your site is ready to go live, it’s too late to figure out if you can run it on your own. You need to have a plan in place to take control of your site (if you wish) or at least have made the decision to pay for ongoing support and training. Too often business owners assume that things will be taken care of for them when in fact there have been no provisions made for simple things like posting new promotions, etc.

Asking these questions (and doing a little bit of research) will take you an hour today…but will save you both time and money (not to mention unhappy customers) down the road.