Getting Ready

Your website is the window to your business.  An excellent website can improve your reputation, bring you new customers, and help your business grow over time.  If you’re getting ready to add or update this important weapon in your marketing arsenal, then you’re already thinking about what you want improved and trying to envision how all this will come together.  As you scratch down your thoughts and prepare to meet with a web developer or designer, we want to give you some free advice.  Here are 5 questions that you really should ask your web developer before you get started.  A lot of people miss one or more of these, so we hope they will help you out.

#1   Have You Done This Before?

Ask your designer to show you examples of websites they have done in the past.  Ask them questions about what the customer wanted, and whether or not they were satisfied.  Better yet, ask for references and call them!  Even when hiring a 10 year veteran, it’s important you check references and look at past designs to make sure they have kept up with the times and can deliver on your expectations.  (Check out our extensive portfolio of website designs in Fredericksburg.)

#2   What Makes You Different?

If you’re hiring a company to do any kind of work for you, and they can’t tell you why they are better than their competition (or their difference doesn’t help your situation), you might want to compare their prices.  (you can find our differences explained here.)  By the same token, don’t just assume every one out there is selling the same item.  It’s important to know when you’re comparing apples and oranges, which brings us to question 3.

#3   What’s Included (And What’s Not?)

This is just like with your business.  The average customer doesn’t understand the details and differences between you and your competitors.  They aren’t aware that they may be comparing apples and oranges.  So ask questions about what’s included in your project, and make sure you consider these things so get the best value:

  • How many revisions are included?
  • How many pages are included and who’s responsible for the content?
  • What features are included and what extra features do they suggest?
  • Is full initial On-Site SEO included?

You should ask about future needs as well:

  • Does the price include hosting, and if so for how long?
  • Will they show you how to make changes to the website yourself?
  • Can more pages be added in the future and what will that cost?
  • What are the ongoing costs, from them or from other providers?
  • After the website is complete, is there any support included or is that extra?

#4   What If I Don’t Like The Design?

Always ask your web designer what happens if you’re not satisfied.  Do you get Reviews and Revisions?  How many?  And if you need more revisions, what then?   Do they cost extra?  It’s not unreasonable that a web designer get paid for his work, but you should know what the remedial plan is should you not be satisfied the first time around.

#5   Who Will Control My Website?

You want to be sure you’re not getting yourself tied down to a company that won’t let go.  Ask questions about who will own the domain, how you can move it to your control, who will own the website and control the hosting, and the ability and costs of moving those services elsewhere should you decide to do so down the road.

The Answers Matter

Pay careful attention to what is said and what is not said in response to each of these important questions.  Don’t be afraid to take notes and ask followup questions.  While you may be trusting the creative, technical, and even marketing workload to a professional, be sure you are confident and prepared to oversee their work.  As a business owner or non-profit leader, you know full well what happens when you blindly hand things over and hope for the best.  Avoid disaster and make sure your expectations are clear with these five questions. You’ll be much better positioned for a successful new website project.

Share Your Experiences

Have you worked successfully with a developer or designer in the past?  Tell us what questions you found helped you acheive success in the comments section below.  What questions do you wish you had thought to ask?  We’d love to hear your stories!

If you’re looking for a web development company that is prepared to answer all of these important quesitons, please give us a call.  We are located in Fredericksburg, VA and focus on providing professional website designs for small businesses and non-profits in the Central and Northern Virginia region.  You can also reach us via our contact us page, or send an e-mail to