Critical Questions to Ask
Before You Hire
a Website Designer or Agency
How much does it cost?
The first thing to accept is your website is an essential investment in your business - not a cost. The reality is simple: Without a professional, high-performance website and effective marketing strategy, your business will struggle to meet its revenue goals.
It's important to focus on value - not just price. The best way to compare pricing and services is to get at least two or three written quotes and be sure to verify professional references. There are other factors such as the designer's experience, communication skills and quality of work.
One thing many people overlook is the designer's marketing expertise. After all, your website is a marketing tool, not just a pretty design. It must be able to work with other marketing efforts to generate results for your business.
Why is there such a wide price range between designers?
Project complexity, integrations, and designer experience are the major factors that determine the cost of your website. Even a basic website requires hours of work to design and optimize properly for search engines.
But I just want a simple website
There is no such thing as a "simple" website. Every website requires expertise in design, messaging, marketing, structural integrity, keyword analysis, content generation, image optimization, on-page SEO, and more. That's just for the initial design-build. Ongoing maintenance must follow the same guidelines for consistent performance. There is so much competition, every detail matters.
So what should I expect to pay?
Expect to invest at least $1,895 - $3,995+ for a professional, 3 to 5-page website. Maintenance costs are additional but will protect your initial investment and save thousands of dollars in the long run by extending the life of your website design and keeping its operation optimized.
Beware of low-ball pricing. It can be a costly mistake.
A good website designer is worth the investment. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
The consequences of bargain websites
Bargain websites are no deal. A bad website design will hurt your business. More than unprofessional, poorly designed websites:
• May be difficult for your visitors to navigate, resulting in low conversions
• Rank low on search, because they are not optimized or built properly
• May violate Google Best Practices, blacklisting your domain (which is difficult to overcome)
• Won't generate the results you need to succeed
• Cost more in the long run in re-design costs
Bottom Line: If you run a serious business, don't waste time & money on a sub-standard website.
How do I choose the best designer?
Good communication is essential to a successful project. Choose a designer you feel connected to and can communicate with. This will serve you well as the project progresses & your website is maintained.
Review the designer's portfolio. A good designer customizes the design to suit your brand. Themes & templates generally fall short as few businesses fit into an "out of the box" design. The designer's style should reflect the general look and feel you want to achieve with your own site. Make sure the portfolio includes "live" active websites - not just mockups or still images. You want to see how the site operates.
Ask for professional references. Make sure the references are clients for whom the designer created and/or managed a website. This is important. You want to know their skill set is in their ability to deliver and maintain an outstanding website design. Have they met deadlines? Are they responsive?
Is the designer responsive and easy to reach by phone and email? An unresponsive web designer is one of our industry's biggest complaints. This is unacceptable and a red flag for your website project. It's easy for individual freelancers to get overextended. Ask how many projects they accept at a time. Make sure the designer can deliver on time and on budget.
Is the designer knowledgeable? Website design is not only about creativity. Technical details and optimization features are important for your website to perform well. Marketing knowledge is also important. Your website is one of your business's most important marketing tools.
Does the designer meet deadlines? This is critical. Many of our clients have come to us frustrated when they've been unable to get their website completed with another designer - sometimes for months. You may get an indication of punctuality from the first meeting. Are they on time for phone calls? Do they send the quote when promised? Do they follow up when they say they will? What is their track record for delivery? This is where professional references come in. Don't be afraid to contact clients from their portfolio, not just provided references. Any designer should be OK with that.
Is maintenance worth it?
A better question is: How long do you want your website design investment to last?
A typical website needs a re-design every 2 to 3 years. Professional maintenance can extend the life of your website for 5 or more years, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in re-design fees.
WIX and other platforms can make website design & maintenance look easy. It’s not. Proper website maintenance takes a lot of time. Fixing technical problems can be challenging. Agencies usually have priority access to web platform developers and VIP support in rare cases where there are advanced technical problems or complications that need quick resolution.
The reality? Websites maintained by non-designers deteriorate. Fast. Changes and updates by non-designers alter the original design. Pros preserve the design integrity of your website and protect your website design investment. They also troubleshoot common problems more efficiently.
How do I know I'll get the design I want?
Your designer must have a solid process to discuss your goals, design preferences, and needs. This may include phone calls, emails, and/or design questionnaires. Preliminary discovery work is essential to understand your business and produce the design you need. The best way to determine if a designer can deliver is to review the designer's portfolio and ask current and previous clients about their experiences.
How long will it take for my website to be ranked #1?
Myth: A professional can guarantee your website will rank #1. If anyone makes SEO promises? RUN.
Website rankings continuously rotate and change based on the best match between what someone is searching for and the content in a particular website. That's the fundamental way search engines work. It's much more complicated than that, of course, but here's what we know:
Simply stated - Google & BING rank your website based on how well the content of your website matches search terms and phrases your customers use to find your type of business and services. We optimize your rankings by following design, structure & SEO best practices while maintaining those website best practices with our ongoing website maintenance and management services. We use an exclusive on-page SEO tool plus additional paid servcies to ensure every element on your website is fully optimized. We monitor your Google Console data, Google Analytics performance, competitors, SEO keywords & more to keep your site updated & performing its best at all times.
How long will it take to see my website rank?
Our platform's partnership with Google instantly indexes your website at launch. However, it takes several months for search engines to fully scan & analyze all of your website content for random search. Marketing services can help expedite that process but there are no shortcuts. We've found following best practices consistently & a little patience generates the best results over time.
More Ways to Help Your Website Rank Higher, Faster
Even the best website design & on-page optimization can only do so much. Competition requires active marketing & online engagement to keep your website content relevant & ranking high. Social media marketing, Google My Business & other online business directory optimizations, customer reviews, email marketing, Google Ads & more advanced SEO services such as increasing backlinks, domain authority & other tactics help drive more traffic to your website & improve website rankings.