A high-quality website adds legitimacy to your brand identity. Your business’s online presence must extend further than just simple social media channels to reach potential customers.
Let’s assume you’re in a situation where your business needs a new website. It might be because your business is new (or a startup), or maybe because your business hasn’t had a website redesign since 2004. Regardless of the reason, you need website development services. There are plenty of professional web design companies out there — how do you know what to ask so that you get the best website for your money that makes a great first impression for your target audience? Don’t worry, because here’s a list of questions you NEED to ask any web development company:
Are Your Web Design Services Outsourced?
Plenty of web design agencies (and even top web design companies) have a local office where you can talk to management face-to-face, but in reality, they’re outsourcing their development process and even graphic design to freelancers or overseas. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can have the effect of causing delays in delivering a finished website, especially when interacting with a contractor in a different country. Time is of the essence and any delays in your website going live can potentially cost your business customers.
Who Provides Assets Such as Copy and Images?
Just so you know, “copy” refers to any words on your website, whether it’s a description of your company’s services, its mission statement, or your personal bio. Will it be up to you, the client, to provide information and images to the web design firm, or do they have copywriters and videographers on staff to create these assets for your web design project?
If you’re expected to provide those things, it may be best to hire a professional to do your writing or photography if you don’t have any experience in those fields.
Do You Build Ecommerce Sites?
These days, it’s not mandatory for a business to have a physical location to be successful. However, if you’re planning to do business strictly within the virtual realm, your website not only must have ecommerce capability, but it has to be extremely user-friendly with functionality to provide a seamless user experience from product selection to checkout.
So when you’re shopping for professional website design, ask if they have experience building websites with ecommerce features. Ask if they are familiar with the larger ecommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce, and if one is a better fit for your business than another.
Do You Build Mobile Responsive Websites?
With smartphones being in every pocket, a major part of the website design process is making sure that every site has full functionality on a smartphone or device — in fact, most web browsing now is done on a phone rather than a desktop or laptop computer. This is known as “responsive web design.” There are many sites now that only operate as mobile apps.
User Interface and User Experience
Known as UI/UX design, these are design elements of a website or mobile site that allow users to easily navigate the content of the site and find information they need without getting lost or confused. It involves the design of buttons, menus, and even animations.
To ensure that every customer has the right interactive digital experience on your website no matter how they choose to view it, make sure you know that the web design agency you choose has this in mind.
Is the Website Secure?
Website security and protection has always been an issue, for both web designers and site owners. You should ask any prospective web design agency if their services include monitoring your website for hackers and bugs. You should also ask if they’re the ones who will keep your site updated — various elements of a website, like the CMS (content management system) and plugins (which create functions like calendars and forms) need to be updated on a regular basis to keep your website secure.
Content Management System
A content management system is a software application that allows the user to build a website without having to build it from scratch using code, such as html. The look of the website, or what the viewer sees, is usually referred to as the “front end.” There are several CMS platforms out there, with WordPress being the most popular.
There’s also the issue of backing up your website, in case the worst does happen. Will your web design company be able to restore your website to a saved version in the event that all of your data is lost?
Is There Website Training or Support?
Some web design companies will be happy to sell you a website, throw it in your lap and be done with it. So it’s crucial to ask if they will provide training to you and members of your staff.
Perhaps you operate a restaurant and want to update the specials on a daily basis. Or you have a new hire and want to add a new picture and bio for the new employee. Make sure to ask about training so that you can implement minor changes if you wish.
Do You Offer Services Other Than Website Construction?
All of these questions are important, but we’ve saved a big one for last — does the web design agency also offer other services? The best web design companies don’t just build websites. They’re full-service marketing companies offering a full suite of digital marketing services, like:
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is used to make sure your website is ranking high in search engine results, making it easier for customers to find your business.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to expose your product or brand to a wider audience, and also to drive traffic to your website, and increase conversion rates of visitors into customers.
Content Marketing is a marketing strategy that consists of the creation and sharing of social media posts, blogs, and videos that aim to create interest in a particular product or service rather than a brand. Landing pages, where customers enter their email address to receive a downloadable piece of content, are also a form of content marketing.
Just like it sounds, email marketing means sending emails to potential customers, repeat customers, and members of subscriber lists. This could include sending newsletters and special promotional emails.
When you’re shopping for a web design company, ask to see case studies with other businesses, preferably ones similar to yours, that the prospective company has done work for and achieved tangible results.
Local Businesses Need A Local Digital Marketing Agency
You don’t need to be looking at a company in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to build your website and elevate your small business. Lift Marketing is a local digital agency with the talent and tools for custom website design, as well as every aspect of digital marketing and search engine optimization. We’re here to learn about you, your business, and your brand. We want to collaborate with you and elevate your small business to new heights. Contact us today!