Over the years we’ve seen many clients come across to us from previous web designers or agencies where they’ve unfortunately been burnt – and are now trying to get something close to what they imagined (and were assured) this beautiful process would be. The number 1 cause for failed web design projects? The web designer took on more work that he/she/they could handle, and the completion was pushed out further and further… calls stopped being answered… emails ignored… until the client gave up and moved on, cutting their losses. Or the website was produced, but was faaaar from what the client expected, and when the client asked for changes, they joined the group of other clients described above.
There are 5 great questions to ask to avoid this (besides the obvious practicalities such as price, timeline etc.):
- Show me your other work completed in a similar budget as my proposed website – it’s a good idea to ask for similar projects the web designer has completed in a similar price bracket to yours. Actually look at these websites, check that all their links work and even contact the website owners to check they were happy with the entire process and the final result!
- Can you do my Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and assist with my online marketing? – Get a web designer or agency that also does SEO. They must be able to implement it for you and also manage it on a monthly basis, to ensure the performance of your website in years to come. The same goes for further online marketing, such as blogs / newsletters / social media and Pay-Per-Click campaigns. A person or agency that will be helping you on an ongoing basis will be much more highly motivated to get everything right the first time – as it’s in their best interests!
- Check testimonials left by past clients on the designer/agency’s website – Have a look through testimonials from past clients to make sure they are decent. Sometimes only the best ones are put up on the website, so ask for the details of the past 2 or 3 clients so that you can contact them and enquire. Not willing to give these details? Run! Also check the designer/agency’s Facebook page for reviews. No Facebook page? Run!
- Who will host my website and who will my domain name be registered to? – Try and get a web designer/agency that also handles web hosting and domain names. It’s just much easier to have everything under one roof, and avoids lots of finger-pointing later. Also ensure that your domain name will be registered in YOUR name! Often it gets registered in the designer’s name and then they go AWOL, leaving you to have to try and claim ownership later.
- How easy is communication going to be, and how many people are involved? – It can be cheaper to hire a foreign web designer on the many freelancer websites available, but many people get burnt because they end up not being able to communicate with the designer. Make sure your designer speaks your language fluently. Besides avoiding difficult conversations, you’ll avoid countless spelling and grammar mistakes on your website! Also, if it’s an agency – check how many people are involved. Often there’s 2 or 3 – a designer, account manager and sales person… but if there’s more than this or they can’t tell you… run!