Dotlogics Blog


Design 101: Key Questions to Ask When Hiring a Web Design Agency

Written by Chae O'Brien

Women engaged in an iPad user experience on a white table with plants.

Hiring the right development team can be exhausting but these simple questions should provide some ease in selecting the right partner for your digital storefront experience.

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If you want to capture new audiences and convert them into customers, you need a website that will draw them in and encourage them to engage with your content until they’re ready to move further down the sales funnel. To give your potential clients what they want, you’ll need an effective, functional and well-designed website, built by developers and designers who can understand your businesses’ value proposition, customers and target personas. But how do you determine who to hire when there’s a sea of designers and developers to choose from? We’ve developed a few questions to help steer your exploratory conversations in the right direction.

  1. Tell me more about your process for ensuring client success.

Before chatting with a potential hire, whether it’s a standalone freelancer or agency, you would have looked up their website, past work, services and so on to get a feel for their general market offering. Now is the time to validate some of the information they would have presented. Relative to the services they provide, how would they approach your project specifically? Would add-on services be needed? Which CMS platforms do they favor to build on? Have them walk you through the discovery and production processes so you get a clear sense of their strategic thinking skills and capabilities in delivering what you want.


  1. Can you draw references to some of the work in your portfolio, specifically past work which proved to be challenging but you were successful in the build?

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Anyone can talk a big game, but before paying a company to design your new site you should make sure they can back up their promises. Take a look at their past work and see for yourself whether their design team is capable of providing the quality you’re looking for.


  1. Does your process include creating a brand strategy that will ensure the digital experience is optimized for go-to-market success?

Will they analyze your industry and competitors? Will they consider your core demographic? Can they perform a keyword analysis and build a strategy around it? There are a lot of factors that go into designing an effective website, and what makes sense for one industry may be an awful design for another. Find a designer who will treat your site as the unique project it really is and put the time in with their team to determine what’s the best approach for bringing your web experience to life.


  1. Will my site be responsive?

If the answer is no, walk away. Mobile is responsible for over 70% of all web traffic, and its experience is critical for brand credibility and user trust. If your site doesn’t work across platforms, devices, and browsers, it’s not going to work for all your visitors.


  1. Do you provide helpdesk support after website delivery to ensure all the ‘kinks’ are worked out?

The worst thing is to have a functional site delivered but as the days go by, there are glitches or confusion around how to leverage some of the mechanics built within your customer’s web experience. Ask potential partners how are post-site production issues dealt with and whether there are any additional fee structures associated with it. If you’re not familiar with the CMS they choose to build on, you may want to consider a retainer agreement for ad-hoc requests or selecting a platform you’re more familiar with.


  1. How long will my project take? Can you provide me with a sample deliverable/project milestone plan?

Expect to get a general window as opposed to a specific date, but you should have an idea of how long your project will take from start to finish so you can plan and make important preparations for the launch of your new site. Key deliverables should be identified so you’re aware of when you’ll have the opportunity to provide feedback and ensure your team is available to review with enough time for said feedback to be incorporated.


  1. The most fun question, how much will it cost?

Be very specific in your request for a response. Most developers will provide rough estimates but low and high-end volatility in prices can swing in drastic ways depending on some of the requests you may make along the production process. Have the prospective vendor provide their estimate with an addendum for additional fees that may arise. Typical questions you can ask include: Am I being billed against a certain amount of hours? Will I be notified if those hours are used up? How many revisions can I make with the current costing? You need to make sure you can afford the site before you ask anyone to build it.

A quality website can be a large financial investment, and it is most certainly a significant part of building the future of your brand or business. Before you decide who your web developer should be, you should make sure the company you’re hiring can handle your project and deliver a design that’s functional, effective, and in line with your vision.


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