41 Questions to Ask A Website Designer Before Hiring Them For Your Small Business

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Are you seeking the perfect website designer to bring your digital vision to life? In today’s fast-paced online world, choosing the right designer is crucial for the success of your website.

With countless options available, it can be overwhelming to distinguish which designer will best suit your needs. Your website should be an arm of your overall business goals and growth strategy.

We’ve compiled a list of 41 questions to ask a website designer before hiring them so you can make an informed decision and do it without regrets.

So, grab a cup of coffee and prepare to embark on a journey toward finding your ideal website designer.

Questions To Ask A Web Designer Before Hiring Them – Let’s Get Started

Hiring a web designer for your small business can be a paranoid experience. You already have questions like:

  1. Will they deliver our company website?
  2. What if they take our money and do not deliver what was promised?
  3. What if the result is below satisfactory, and they charge more to change things?

The list can be endless, but StartSmall has been around long enough to know what turns a nervous and reserved experience into a successful web design project.

To help you get the most out of your web design experience, we’ve designed a simple but effective list of questions to ask a website designer before hiring them.

We have also categorised these questions into groups so your conversations can have a structure rather than a rago spill.

This list will surprise your potential website designer because they don’t expect you to be this well-versed in your questions. Ready? Game on!

I’ve designed this section to give you, as a client, more control over your web design process.

Frequently, small businesses rely heavily on their design and development partners to make key decisions, as clients may feel uninformed or overwhelmed by technical aspects.

For this reason, projects get out of hand, and expectations are not managed correctly.

Question #1: Does your agency work with businesses that are as small as mine?

Understanding this question right away is critical. Understanding the types of clients the website design company serves paints a quick picture of the budget sizes they work with.

Some web design agencies do not touch projects below a minimum budget. From our experience, that looks anywhere between £10,000-£40,000! – and they market this for small businesses!

In comparison, at StartSmall.work, we’re a web design agency for small and local businesses, but we are transparent with our pricing from the get-go so we can:

  1. Attract the right clients to our business
  2. Not waste prospective clients’ time if they aren’t comfortable with our price points.

Depending on your answer to your question, you’ll have a better idea of whether the company is better suited for you and your budget and if you are the right client for the web design company.

Question #2: Do you have some examples of client work similar in size to mine?

It’s crucial to ask potential website designers about their past projects. This helps ensure they can create something that aligns with your vision.

Similar to finding the perfect fit, a designer’s experience should match the complexity of your project.

Reviewing user experience (UX) in a designer’s portfolio is vital. A well-designed user experience (UX) makes navigation intuitive and information easy to find.

Confused or frustrated visitors are unlikely to convert, so prioritise clear and functional design.

Question #3: What would the process look like if I moved on from you?

Client turnover is a natural part of the web design industry.

While StartSmall prides itself on maintaining long-term client relationships, we understand that clients’ needs evolve.

However, some agencies make the transition process unnecessarily complicated.

  1. The website stops functioning properly
  2. Components are missing
  3. You’re charged to have the website moved

And this list goes on.

It’s better to clearly outline this process before partnering with a web designer. My suggestion is to include it in the project terms and conditions.

Question #4: During a handover, what am I to expect?

Handovers are exciting. They mark the near-close of your website project and the launch of your project. Outlining your site handover process lets you understand what to expect before the final sign-off to your site design. Before you sign off on a project, you must ensure you have all the bits you need for your project.

There are a few variables here because not all agencies work the same so that we will generalise a bit in this instance. Generally speaking, you want to have the following at the point of handover:

  1. Website login credentials
  2. Access to your Google Analytics
  3. Access to your Google Search Console
  4. Hosting access
  5. Domain Access


At StartSmall.work, we provide monthly web design services to our clients. We’ve designed our systems in such a way that we make owning a website affordable. We do this by including all the tedious things in our subscriptions so that clients don’t have to worry about them.

We believe that businesses are built from relationships.

We want our clients to have an easier time owning a business website, and the website has to work for them.

When and if clients decide to leave us, we provide them with all the help they need to migrate to a new company or run their website independently.

There are no strings attached, no hidden fees, and no headaches. We want our clients to succeed in every possible way, and we refuse to stand in the way.

Question: #5: Will you provide me admin access to all third-party components required to build the website?

Admin access empowers you to manage your website.

This access allows you to edit yourself or grant it to another agency for updates.

While some designers might not provide it initially, having these credentials ultimately gives you control over your online presence.

Question #6: How do you handle revisions and feedback during the design process?

Revisions and feedback management are an important to any web design project irrespective of the web design companies you use. Being able to accurately document your feedback helps reduce the need for revisions. Most website designers will give you around 3-5 rounds of revisions before they become chargable. This type of policy varies between many designers so understanding how your prospective web design agency handles this will be ideal.

I remember the days where people would create large documents with screenshots and loose comments. It was exceptionally tedious, especially when you have to keep going back for clarity. Nowadays at StartSmall, we recommend clients using a free tool called Loom.

Loom allows our clients to create short videos of their feedback based on the work that we are doing. Through this, we can make relevant comments and have an exact preview of what the client is saying and expecting. It’s simple, clear, and concise.

Question #7: What training/support do you offer when the site is launched?

If you plan on managing your own website or would at least like to have some control over the content of the site at your convenience then getting hands on is a good idea.

Many web designers do not actually provide training or support after the website is launched. In some cases, you may receive a 30-day period where you will be able to make any new amendments within your launch period. Thereafter, some web designers firms have support packages that you can subscribe to on a monthly basis.

For example, at StartSmall.work we provide website updates, support and training all inclusive of one fixed monthly fee. You can initially start by not wanting to do things to your website as you have us by your side and in other cases you may want to dip your toes in to the world of content marketing and write your own website blog posts. We’ll guide you every step of the way.

Question #8: What do you need from me before the project starts?

To keep the site build process running smoothly, it’s a good idea to know what the potential designer needs from you so they can crack on with the design and development work. Freelancers or junior designers may not even ask for this.

If this question doesn’t come up, you may want to start looking into how professional they are, which raises the question of “are they the right company for me?”.

We have a checklist for you to download as a prerequisite to a website project. You can use this as a point of reference or a preparation sheet before handing over assets like brand guidelines, logo files, etc.

Question #9: What is your preferred method of communication for project updates and discussions?

Synchronicity is key. Web design partners generally communicate all over the place. WhatsApp, Instagram DMs, text messaging, emails and maybe even through the mail. Whilst we live in busy times, you also have busy lives, so having a simple and cohesive way of communicating about your project is crucial for references and your sanity when you need them.

At StartSmall, we provide our clients with access to our project portal. Here they will be able to see:

  1. Learn how they can use the portal throughout the project and beyond
  2. Reach out for support any time
  3. Chat with the account manager directly from the portal
  4. Book a direct call with me to discuss other opportunities or concerns
  5. Submit support tickets
  6. Upload any documents and files that are relevant to the project
  7. Tracking the web design timeline and project status

For now, as experienced designers, we’ve built a frictionless system that works for our clients in 360 degrees. We build on this foundation as we continue to evolve and learn more about ourselves.

Question #10: How often will you provide progress reports and updates during the project?

Ask your web designer about progress reports and updates is a smart question to ask before hiring a web design freelancer or agency. Doing so allows you to understand the status of your project as it goes along. This gives you a better outline of when the completion would be and how close you are to the end of the design and development cycle.

The best practice for managing a project would be to use a project management tool like Trello, Asana, Monday.com or Basecamp.

Question #11: How much input will I have in the design process, and how do you incorporate client feedback?

Understanding your level of involvement helps you better organise your time and manage expectations of the project. Sometimes, depending on your budget, some designers help you save costs by asking you to provide the content for the website; this includes the copy and images/videos you want to use.

Some web developers with a marketing background will ask you to leave it in their hands once they have gathered your information. The reason for this is simple, they want to implement best marketing practices to your website for better ROI.

Question #12: Can I preview the website during different stages of development?

When you ask this question, request a “staging link” from your website designer. Pro designers set up a staging environment where they will design, build, and test your website before it’s launched. This isn’t only applicable for custom web development; it’s applicable whether the technology used is WordPress, Wix, or Webflow. With the staging link, you can preview the different stages of your website design and development.

Question #13: Do you provide contact information for previous clients for reference?

Due to GDPR, web designers might be unable to share client information directly. However, a good designer should be happy to provide a link to a website they’ve built for a similar project. This allows you to see their work firsthand without compromising client privacy. Feel free to contact the company to reference the designer’s experience.

Question #14: Do you provide a formal contract outlining project scope, timelines, and deliverables?

The key difference between amateur and professional web designers lies in their approach. Professionals have a clear structure and process, ensuring a smooth project experience for you. By asking critical questions about contracts and scopes, you gain clarity on timelines, deliverables, and responsibilities for you and the designer. Professionals further solidify this by providing contracts and showcasing their commitment, experience, and expertise.

Question #15: What is your policy regarding project cancellations or delays?

Asking about the designer’s policy regarding project cancellations or delays helps you assess their professionalism, reliability, and ability to handle unexpected situations, contributing to a smoother and more successful project experience.

Question #16: Do you have a project management system in place?

By asking about the web designer’s project management system, you can gauge their level of professionalism, organisation, and readiness to handle your project effectively. It demonstrates your commitment to a structured and well-managed project process, which is essential for achieving successful outcomes.

Technical Details and Design Process-based Questions To Ask Your Web Designer Before Hiring Them

Question #17: Will you be handling the web hosting and management of the website?

It’s wise to discuss website hosting with your web designer. This clarifies if you’ll need separate hosting or if it’s included in their package. Some agencies offer free hosting for a period, while others like StartSmall.work may have it as part of their web design plans.

For your convenience, we include website hosting and management in our pay-monthly web design packages. This way, you avoid the hassle of managing another subscription and dealing with website maintenance.

Question #18: Will my website be backed up? Do I have access to my website?

Backups are essential to prevent data loss from hacks, plugin malfunctions, or other mishaps. Even existing websites without backups are vulnerable. Ask your prospective web designer: “How will my website be backed up?”

This clarifies if backups are included and avoids relying on third-party plugins or your hosting provider.

Question #19: Will you teach me how to edit parts of my website if required?

Learning to edit your website is optional. Some clients want their site to generate leads and prefer to leave website management to professionals. However, if you’re interested in making edits, discuss training with your web designer upfront and include it in your contract. It will depend on whether your chosen designer is inclusive or at a cost. Gaining clarity over this would be a good way to stay organised.

Question #20: Will you be designing from scratch or using a template?

A crucial question to ask potential web design agencies is whether they create custom websites or from website templates. This seemingly simple inquiry offers valuable insights. Firstly, it clarifies the level of customisation available to personalise your website and reflect your brand identity. Secondly, understanding their design approach allows you to consider the cost and timeline implications better. Finally, knowing if it’s a custom or template-based process provides a clearer picture of the overall design workflow and your level of involvement.

Question #21: What technologies do you use to build the website?

Understanding the technologies used can influence your website’s platform. E-commerce platforms like Shopify or Squarespace might be ideal for selling products, while WordPress caters well to service-based businesses and local shops. Ultimately, your designer’s experience and expertise will guide you towards the most suitable platform for your needs.

Here is a breakdown of the most popular types of web design platforms that your designer could probably use to create yours:

  1. WordPress
  2. Wix Studio
  3. Squarespace
  4. Shopify
  5. Webflow

You do not need to decide on the platform yourself right away. It’s better to seek a consultation before choosing one that works for you. We can help with that at StartSmall.work. Book a free consultation with our web guys, and they’ll guide you in the right direction.

Question #22: What is your process for understanding our business needs and goals before starting the design process?

A website is more than just an online brochure; it’s a powerful tool to achieve your business goals. Your web designer should be a partner, actively involved in understanding your target audience, brand message, and overall business objectives. This in-depth user research phase is essential for crafting a website that attracts the right customers and effectively delivers your brand story. Initiate a conversation with your web designer to explore how design choices and technology will help you achieve these critical goals.

Question #23: Will the website be mobile-responsive and optimised for various devices?

Mobile internet browsing is dominant. Most website traffic comes from smartphones; users often share links through mobile apps. Ensure a seamless mobile experience by working with a designer who prioritises mobile-first design. At StartSmall, all websites are built to be responsive, meaning they automatically adjust to display perfectly on any device, desktop, tablet, or mobile.

Question #24: What is your approach to search engine optimisation (SEO) and ensuring our website ranks well on search engines?

Imagine your website as a magnet, attracting new customers through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. SEO optimises your website to rank higher in search results, bringing in qualified leads organically.

Unlike paid advertising, SEO offers long-term value, delivering a better return on investment (ROI). A strong SEO strategy is essential to stand out from competitors and ensure your website is the first stop for potential customers.

Question #25: Will you be integrating Google Analytics?

Understanding how visitors interact with your website is crucial for success. Integrating Google Analytics lets us track key metrics like website traffic, user behaviour, and conversions. This valuable data will inform future marketing strategies and website improvements to maximize your return on investment (ROI).

Ask your web design agency if Google Analytics integration is included in their services.

Question #26: Will you integrate Google Search Console and submit a sitemap on my behalf?

Knowing how search engines see your website is essential for SEO success.

Ask your web design agency if they’ll integrate Google Search Console and submit a sitemap on your behalf. This free tool provides valuable insights into your website’s search ranking and potential issues.

A submitted sitemap helps search engines discover and index your website pages effectively, leading to better visibility in search results.

Question #27: What is your estimated timeline for completing the website design?

Understanding the timeframe for your website’s completion is crucial for planning. Be sure to ask your web design agency about their estimated timeline for design completion.

This will help you manage expectations, align the project with your business goals, and ensure a smooth launch process.

Knowing the timeline also allows you to plan for content creation, marketing efforts, and any internal team coordination needed before launch.

Question #28: What is your pricing structure, and are there any additional fees we should know?

Transparency around costs is key to a successful project. Before moving forward, discuss the web design agency’s pricing structure and any potential additional fees.

This ensures you understand the complete financial picture upfront. Knowing the pricing structure allows you to compare agencies effectively and make an informed decision that aligns with your budget.

Be sure to ask about things like stock photo fees, copywriting services, or ongoing maintenance costs so there are no surprises down the line.

Question #29: How do you handle security measures to protect our website from potential threats?

Website security is paramount for protecting your business and customer data. Don’t hesitate to ask your web design agency about their security measures.

A reputable agency will implement best practices like secure hosting, regular software updates, and backups to safeguard your website from hacking attempts, malware, and data breaches.

Understanding their security approach gives you peace of mind and ensures your website remains a trusted platform for your business.

Question #30: Can you assist with content creation, such as copywriting and image selection?

High-quality content is essential for a website’s success. Explore the web design agency’s capabilities by asking if they offer content creation services like copywriting and image selection.

Including content creation can streamline your project and ensure a cohesive website experience.

Even if you plan to create some content yourself, the agency’s expertise can be valuable for crafting compelling website copy and selecting visuals that align with your brand identity.

Question #31: What is your policy regarding ownership of the website design and content?

Clarity on ownership rights is crucial. Before signing a contract, ask the web design agency about their policy regarding ownership of the website design and content.

You should own the final website design and the content you provide. A reputable agency will transfer ownership upon completion of the project.

This ensures you have full control over your website and the content it displays, allowing you to modify or update it freely in the future.

Question #32: How do you measure the success of the website design in achieving our business objectives?

Aligning your website with your business goals is key.

Ask your web design agency how they measure the success of the website design in achieving those objectives.

A data-driven approach that tracks relevant metrics like website traffic, lead generation, or conversion rates will demonstrate the website’s effectiveness.

Understanding their measurement process allows you to hold the agency accountable and ensure the website design actively contributes to your business success.

Question #33: How does your approach to website design set you apart from other designers or agencies?

Understanding what makes a web design agency unique empowers you to make informed decisions.

Ask them, “How does your approach to website design set you apart from other designers or agencies?”

A strong agency will highlight their differentiators, such as a focus on user experience (UX), a data-driven approach, or a specialisation in your specific industry.

Knowing their unique selling proposition (USP) allows you to choose an agency that aligns with your project’s needs and delivers exceptional results.

Question #34: Will you be outsourcing this project?

Transparency regarding project workflow is key. Ask the web design agency if they plan to outsource any part of your website project. Understanding their approach allows you to gauge communication channels and potential delays. If outsourcing is involved, inquire about their experience managing external teams and ensuring quality control. This clarity helps you decide about the level of control and involvement during the website development phase.

Content, SEO, and Legal Compliance

Question #35: What is your process for marketing research and competitive research?

Understanding a web design agency’s research process is essential. Inquiring about their methodology regarding marketing and competitive analysis is also important.

A reputable agency will undertake comprehensive research to grasp your target audience’s needs, scrutinise your competitors’ websites, and pinpoint prevailing industry trends.

Such in-depth research lays the groundwork for crafting a website that appeals to your ideal customers and strategically positions your brand in the competitive market.

Familiarity with their research approach helps you evaluate their dedication to developing a website that embodies a distinct strategic vision.

Question #36: I need to have branding done for my business as well. Can you help with that?

Cohesive branding strengthens your online presence. If you haven’t established a brand identity yet, consider asking the web design agency, “Can you help with branding as well?”

A well-rounded agency can offer branding services like logo design, colour palette selection, and typography.

Maintaining a cohesive brand identity on your website and other marketing materials helps establish a professional image and build trust with your intended audience.

Question #37: Do you have a terms and conditions agreement?

A clear understanding of terms protects both parties. Before signing any contracts, ask the web design agency for a terms and conditions agreement.

This document outlines crucial details like project scope, payment schedules, revision policies, and ownership rights.

Reviewing the terms and conditions ensures you’re on the same page regarding project expectations and potential liabilities. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear to avoid any surprises down the line.

Data privacy is paramount. It’s vital to ask the web design agency, “Will the website comply with relevant legal requirements, such as GDPR for data privacy?”

A reputable agency will ensure your website adheres to current regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), depending on your location and target audience.

Compliance protects your business from legal repercussions and fosters trust with customers who value their data privacy.

Question #39: Do you provide terms of service and privacy policy templates for the website?

Having clear legal documents is crucial for your website. Ask the web design agency if they provide terms of service and privacy policy templates.

These documents outline the user agreement for interacting with your website and how you handle user data. While some agencies might offer templates, it’s essential to understand their scope.

Be sure to inquire if the templates are basic or require customisation to comply with specific regulations or your business needs. This clarity helps you determine if you need to invest in legal consultations for a more tailored approach.

Question #40: Can you assist in developing a content strategy for the website, including content organisation and hierarchy?

A well-organised website with a clear content strategy is essential for user engagement.

Ask the web design agency if they can assist in developing a content strategy for your website, including content organisation and hierarchy.

This ensures your website’s content is structured logically, guiding users towards your desired actions.

A strong content strategy improves user experience, navigation, and the website’s effectiveness in achieving your business goals.

Question #41: Do you offer guidance on creating engaging and SEO-friendly content?

Understanding an agency’s content expertise is valuable. Ask them, “Do you offer guidance on creating engaging and SEO-friendly content?” A well-rounded agency can offer more than just website design.

Look for an agency that can advise on crafting content that keeps visitors engaged and helps your website rank higher in search results.

This can include guidance on keyword research, content structure, and calls to action.

Having this support ensures your website looks great, attracts organic traffic, and converts visitors into leads or customers.

Conclusion

I hope this comprehensive list of questions to ask your website designer before hiring them helps you make better and more effective decisions during your hiring process. It’s not uncommon for small businesses to go for cheaper-priced agencies, and sometimes they are good at what they do. But to look at things in a professional angle, it’s important to ask all the grey area questions which can cause potential issues later down the project process.

If you’d like to consult us here at StartSmall.work regarding your web design project, please book a free consultation with us using our link here.

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