You know you need a website, but it’s all a little bit overwhelming.  You decide to hire someone to help you with it – but where do you even start with that?  Finding the right web designer for you gets a lot easier as long as you know which questions to ask.  Here are the top 5 things you want to know before signing on the dotted line with a designer.

1. Time Frame

A competent web design professional should be able to give you a pretty good idea of how long it will take them to get your site up and running.  Keep in mind though that you will need to set aside time at the beginning of the process to meet with the designer and hammer out exactly what they are going to build for you.  Which brings us to number 2:

2. What’s Included? 

I think of building websites kind of like building a house – meaning there are ALWAYS going to be things come up that no one saw coming.  As long as the little bumps in the road don’t result in major changes, most web designers can handle them, but you absolutely want to know what services will be included in their quoted price, and if you need extra time from them, how much will that cost you?  Most designers will provide you with a fairly detailed contract that will lay out exactly what is included, and how much any extra time or features will cost you.  

Laptop on pink couch

3. Will my site be responsive?

This is an absolute must-have.  A responsive website is one that loads properly on all devices: phones, tablets, desktops and anything else with a screen and an internet connection. There are few things more annoying than trying to navigate a website on your phone that isn’t properly re-sized for phones. These days, having a responsive website will be something that almost goes without saying – but it’s best to make sure!

4.  Do you offer maintenance and hosting?

 Many designers will give you the option of having them host your website.  There will be a monthly or an annual cost for this service, but in many cases hosting packages will include  a certain amount of time per month for making any core updates (updates from WordPress and any themes you are using), as well as security updates.  You will want to ensure that you retain ownership of your domain name however, so that if you want to, you’ll be able to easily switch hosting providers.  This can often be a really simple and affordable way to take the worry about possible tech issues off your list of things to worry about!

5. Do you provide training so I can make minor updates to the site on my own?

Especially if you aren’t planning to invest in an ongoing maintenance package with your designer, you are going to need to know how to make simple changes to your site without having to call someone (and pay them) to help you.  Many designers will offer you a training session close to launch time, so you’ll be able to handle those simple updates. 

desk cluttered with paperwork

Honestly, there are SO many things to consider when hiring a designer, but probably the most important thing to learn about them is how well you think you can work together.  Designing a website requires a lot of collaboration between the client and the designer, so you want to make sure you get along, and have enough mutual respect for each other to speak up about any possible issues.  Sometimes how well you get along with the designer can make the difference between a decent, solid website and a site that blows you away with how well it delivers exactly what you want, and how amazing it makes your little chunk of the Internet.