10 Questions to Ask Your Web Design Agency Before Hiring
1. How will you maximize the return on investment that we get from our website? How will it drive more business?
Your website should be more than just a “beautiful design”.
To enhance your bottom line, your website needs to be built strategically.
Your web design agency should be able to clearly explain how they intend to maximize your return on investment.
This topic deserves an article of its own. Check out our Top 8 Ways to Maximize Your Website’s Return on Investment for actionable tips.
2. Do we have a direct line of communication to the person who’s implementing the work?
Many web design agencies don’t provide you with direct access to the person who is actually implementing the work.
This is problematic for 4 reasons:
1. It causes miscommunication (a “broken telephone” effect). If you tell the project manager something on Zoom, they might accidentally tell the web designer something slightly different (or they’ll forget to mention something entirely).
2. It causes delays. Since you’re not in direct contact with the actual designer, there will be a lot of extra back-and-forth communication. This extends the timeline and causes unnecessary headache.
3. It increases the cost. When you have a “middle person” relaying information back and forth, you’re paying extra for another person’s time.
4. There’s a good chance that your agency is outsourcing the work to another agency. If they refuse to provide a direct line of communication, it usually means that the person implementing the work isn’t even a part of their agency. However, in some cases, it could also mean that the person implementing the work has poor communication skills and they want to keep that a secret.
3. How many rounds of revisions do you provide before launch?
The answer should be “unlimited”.
You’re not fully satisfied by your agency’s work and you’d like to make a few changes.
But then your agency says “you’ve already made the maximum number of revisions so you’ll need to pay extra”.
Does that sound fair to you? Of course not! You hired them to make your website perfect, so why should you pay extra if they failed to meet your expectations?
Make sure that your agency provides unlimited revisions… or you might end up paying much more than you expected!
4. Which web development platform do you use?
We recommend using WordPress for 2 main reasons:
1. It’s the most flexible platform on the market, allowing you to achieve any design or functionality that you require. Even if your requirements are super simple right now, we recommend using WordPress in case you ever need to add something more complex in the future.
2. It’s by far the most popular platform and it’s what the vast majority of professionals use. So, if you ever needed to switch agencies halfway through a project or at any point in the future, it would be much easier to do so on WordPress compared to other platforms.
5. Do you offer hosting and maintenance plans?
WordPress websites come with two types of ongoing fees: hosting fees and maintenance fees.
Hosting is what allows your website to be “live” on the internet, and maintenance is what allows your website to run smoothly and free of any errors, glitches, hacks, etc.
It’s best (but not critical) to have your website maintained by the same agency that initially designed and developed it.
This is because they’re already aware of all the specific nuances of your website, which might get overlooked by other agencies.
If you’d like to learn more about maintenance plans, check out our Top 7 Reasons Why You Need a WordPress Maintenance Plan.
It’s also best to have your website hosted by the same agency. This is because it’s easier and faster for the agency to make updates and troubleshoot any issues when the website is hosted on their own servers.
6. Do we have full ownership of our website and the ability to easily make edits ourselves?
Too many agencies unethically “handcuff” their clients to their ongoing hosting/maintenance fees.
In these cases, if you’re not happy with their ongoing service, you won’t be able to leave and take your website with you… because it’s theirs.
The fine print should state that the website is yours and can be transferred to a different hosting/maintenance provider at any time.
On top of that, make sure that the website is relatively easy to edit yourself (or you’ll end up overspending on ongoing edits).
You should be able to easily add blog posts, edit text, swap images, etc, by yourself, regardless of how “technical” you are. You should only need a professional for extensive redesigns, complex functionality, etc.
7. Are you a solo freelancer or an agency?
If your budget is small, then choosing a solo freelancer is a great choice. Solo freelancers tend to have less overhead costs, allowing them to charge lower prices.
However, if your budget is reasonable (ie. above $10,000), then choosing an agency is typically the best option for 3 reasons:
1. They provide long-term stability. While solo freelancers come and go, agencies tend to stick around for the long haul and have more reliable systems and better response times, which is especially important for your ongoing hosting and maintenance plans.
2. They have more “eyes” on your project. During the initial design and development stage, although most of the work might be implemented by 1 or 2 people, an agency will typically have a few extra people reviewing the work and providing feedback, ideas, etc.
3. In many cases, they can provide complimentary services to enhance your bottom line, such as copywriting, video production, search engine optimization, and more.
8. Do you use templates?
Your website deserves to be 100% customizable and designed from scratch, allowing you (and your agency) to make your website perform at its absolute best.
Before moving forward with an agency, make sure that your website won’t be restricted by any templates!
9. Do you offer any complimentary services that will enhance our bottom line?
Web design & development is just one piece of the digital marketing puzzle.
For optimal results, it’s best to also invest in related services like professional copywriting, video production, search engine optimization, and more.
You could always hire separate agencies for each service, but keeping everything under one roof is more effective in terms of time, cost, and receiving a high-quality cohesive product with a unified strategy.
10. Can we call some of your clients to learn about their experience?
Start by checking the agency’s portfolio, reviews, awards, recognitions, etc.
Then, once you believe that the agency could be a good fit, ask them to send references for you to call.
Speaking directly to an agency’s clients and asking your own unique questions is the best way to find out whether the agency is the best possible fit!