10 Essential Things Your Web Designer Should Offer in 2020
We have seen some bad solutions being offered by local competitors as all-purpose and want to help you ask the right questions when choosing a website designer or agency, so you get the quality website built for visibility and growth.
Reveal what your next web designer's true abilities are to make your dream website a reality with some useful questions like our 10 below.
1. "What technology stack will you use?"
A technology stack means all the layers your new website will be built upon. This should be a list of solutions, frameworks and libraries, not a single name or word answer!
- Any decent developer or designer will be able to answer this with some capacity
- Avoid answers like "WordPress", "Joomla", "Squarespace" (honestly this is daylight robbery!), "Wix"... or any other solution that is an online web builder
- Exception: these may be suitable for a small portfolio website, but growth is much tougher and expensive for all of these in the long term
- Good answers should be detailed and perhaps sound like jargon, but with good simple explanations of the entire stack used
2. "Will it be CMSable or Static?"
Sorry .. "CMSable" what??
More techy jargon, we promise you it's worth asking!
CMS means Content Management System. This should let you edit portions of content throughout your website.
Static means none of the content can be edited by you and would require hourly-paid developer time to change.
In 2020 your website should be editable whenever you need. This can increase the investment cost of your website a little bit, but in the long-term will save you much time and headache.
Some may argue that a static website is "faster" and more SEO friendly. This is subjective, but you should know all modern CMS technologies should include advanced caching that nullifies speed issues, and SEO tools that ensure your content and website does match up to scratch.
Basically, avoid static website designs like the plague!
3. "How responsive or adaptive will the website be?"
Responsive - scales on mobile and desktop
Adaptive - works on mobile and desktop, with separate designs and content (usually unnecessary now)
It's 2020. Responsive websites are incredibly easy to build with popular frameworks like Bootstrap (our previous favourite), so avoid developers that claim it will increase the cost dramatically.
Perhaps we can help you, with a free consultation?
We are always happy to help you figure out what you need from a website. Please get in touch now and let's get your new website rolling!
4. "Does it come with SSL"?
This is now a forced requirement by Google Chrome, the most popular browser your website visitors will likely use. Website's without the (possibly green) padlock next to the URL get flagged with warnings when used.
5. "How will my website be SEO optimised?"
SEO - Search Engine Optimisation - the art of making your new website rank well on Google, Bing, and many others.
This is a gold question to ask and could very likely result in some common-crap answers to help you weed out the weak!
|Good answers||Bad Answers|
6. "Can I add custom pages"?
This comes down to your needs - do you need the ability to add content later down the road? If you do, deeeeefinately ask this question now as the cost could be bigger if development has begun VS planning it beforehand.
7. "What tracking do you offer"?
What you're asking here is will they provide you with a dashboard so you can see useful and interesting statistics on your website usage. These stats will help you see page views, bounce rates (ratio of visitors who immediately left), conversion rates, where your audience comes from (Search engines, social media platforms), and much more.
Whatever tracking they offer, we recommend you ask how it helps you track your main call-to-action's (like a "Contact Us" form). This is useful so you can work out if your website is performing well!
8. "What would you expect any basic web package to have included?"
Now, this is an interesting question, you're basically flipping and posing this article on them! This will highlight what they believe is critical for a good website to run. We recommend you fact check their answer afterwards.
Regardless of what they offer, these are bare-bone essentials that we'd expect any competent agency or developer to provide you with in their package, at an entry-level or higher.
- Hosting with backups
- SSL certificate
- HTTP/2 integration (a new must-have technology to speed up your website, released in 2015 and staggeringly only 45% of the top 10 million websites have yet used it!)
- Design (either matching your brand colours or a bespoke design)
- Options to refine the website before going live
- Responsive - mobile and desktop-friendly
9. "What is the biggest cost in a website?"
Everyone will likely answer this differently, so we will provide you with ours. It's certainly an interesting question to ask!
Our biggest cost is always planning and design, as it must meet requirements: like fitting your brand, encouraging user engagement through correct User Interface design, and refinements of the design after testing.
Development is usually our cheapest cost, as we use our own bespoke solutions that provide updates and enhancements for all our clients old and new on a weekly basis.
This also means we don't re-invent the wheel every-time a website gets developed! The functionality of our solutions often expands for every client we take on, providing use and benefit to our existing clients within our community.
We can spend more time on ensuring a design works for the website's purpose and will be optimised for digital marketing on social media and search engines.
10. "What happens after we go live"?
One last golden question to ask in our article. Designing and creating beautiful functional websites is only one part of having a website and a strong digital presence. The second is to get it on the internet and make sure it stays there!
Ensuring your website is always performing at its optimal is essential for any size business. Besides once your website is live, there should be monthly or yearly running costs as webspace is a "rented" slot (domains and hosting). Some agencies and web designers will leave your website to wither and age while others may offer you extras to keep your website running optimally.
It's worth noting that all websites do naturally age usually between 1 to 3 years, as the used technology slowly becomes outdated and unsupported, but with the right maintenance package, your website's shelf life should extend further with updates.
See what live web maintenance package your agency or web designer offers once live and you can get a feel for how they treat old sites. At Barr Media, we offer the following within our package.
Email and Mobile Support