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10 Questions you  need to ask your Web Design Company before you hire them

1.  Will my  website have any on-site search engine optimisation ?

On site SEO is the practise of making your new website friendly to google and other Search Engines.  Theses search engines have standards of  design and parameters for the optimal use of content . These standards are continually changing, so a good web design company would know what these are and design & construct your website within these  constraints.

2. Can you get to the top of google within 1 month ?

If they say yes, go elsewhere as they're lying.   Nobody can say they will get you to the top of google within a month .  It may be possible to do, but it's not possible to guarantee it, not within a set time frame anyway.  Getting top the top of google requires a lot of good quality on-site and off-site SEO. You also have to do a lot of keyword and  competitor analysis .  A good time to assess the possible performance of your site within google is about 1 month after it has launched - Then , and only then would there be enough traffic & keyword data available to analyse.

3. Will by website be mobile friendly ?

Our use of the Internet has changed a lot recently , and about 35% of all searches are via a mobile or similar device. Having your site mobile friendly is a definite plus - however be prepared to pay a bit extra for this. The web developer has to do a lot of extra work for this.  It may be that your site doesn't actually need to be mobile friendly, it depends what your target audience is. For instance if you're just a brochure site for a shop or a  dentist, it's unlikely that a mobile site would really be of any benefit.

4. Will I be able to edit my website ?

This should be a definite yes - If you designer doesn't offer you this option, be very suspicious. It may be likely that they will be looking to charge you every time you want to make an amendment to your site.  This is how all web designers used to work about 10+ years ago, but web design has evolved now.  Early website were only editable by people who could write in HTML . Nowadays though they have evolved to have easy to use  editors where the average user can just log in and edit most parts of their website, without any trouble .  This is what's known as a Content Management System  (CMS ), and is now standard for any website.  If your designer doesn't offer you one  ( or free access to it ), then they are charlatans - avoid them !!

5. Will my website look the same on different web browsers.

One of the biggest for web designers / developers is getting cross-browser compatibility.  This is whereby different we browsers  ( i/e chrome, Internet explorer / FireFox) don't all interpret web coding  ( especially CSS) in exactly the same way. This causes web developers into having to test websites on all different types of browser and having to write fixes to ensure they everything displays correctly for all different browser types .  Make sure your web designer test for all variations.

6.  Are you a Web Design Company, a freelancer or a part-timer ?

Web design company -  You will more than likely get the best results from these, but are likely to pay a higher rate. A company has more overheads, a premises and employees, so it's only fair that they charge m,ore. Also,there workers are more than likely degree qualified in their profession.  If you can afford it, this is usually the best option.

Freelancer -   Likely to be working from home, so can afford to be cheaper than companies. May not give yuo the confidence a professional company would, but there are a lot of good freelancers, who have previously worked professionally.  If you do your research correctly, you can get good work at a reasonable rate.

Part Timer -  This may either be a novice / starter, or  a web design professional, doing some extra work out of hours.  If it's a starter, the risks are fairly obvious, you don't know what you're getting.  But you will more than likely get a great price.  Everybody has to start somewhere.If ity's a web designer, doing some extra work from home,  you may be getting quality work, but the downside is you may be hard pushed to get in contact  with them at the drop of a  hat, should you require them.

Whoever you choose will really depend on a mix of your budget and  your expectations.

7.  Is it worth getting a website or shall I just use Facebook ?

There's a lot to say for Facebook and other social media, but it's best to just see them as tools for promoting your website /brand  really.  Anyone can open a Facebook [page and pretend they're a legitimate business.  However if you get a well built website that goes a long way to providing your business with a sense of trust and authority.  Also don't see social media as magic ways to get people to see your products / services.  It's like any other form of marketing, you either have to put the hard work into promotion , or pay somebody else to do it. There are no easy  money makers ion the Internet ( not any more !).

8.  Why do you cost a lot more than the build your own systems you can use  ?

Firstly, these type of  systems are never as cheap as they first seem. You'll find that the initial offers  (even free in some cases), soon get more expensive the more features you need, it's just that they aren't up front about them.  So you then get to use these tools to create the site yourself. So if you think about it, you end paying to get your website designed, but doing the work yourself, which seems ridiculous really.

Secondly, these schemes, just use templates, with your logo and colour choices. These type of sites stand out a mile , and can look very amateurish and old fashioned .  They would'y give you a very professional appearance, and would put potential customers off.

9. Who actually owns my website ?

Although the company has designed the site and put it on the Internet, and probably hosts it, it is you who have paid them for it, so you are the owner of the site, and will own all the material within it  - Providing you've paid them ! 

10. What happens when my site is designed and live ?

Different companies have different levels of service after the site is finished .  As previously said, all good websites now have easy user editing, so training in this area should be provided at some point by the agency.  You may also want some SEO / website promotion work doing. This is usually an extra cost to the website itself, and is best discussed after the site has been live for a few weeks, so you can get a better idea how well your site has started to perform in the Google ranks.

Whatever the levels of service your company provide, just make sure you know what they are before the work commences, so you don't have any unwelcome surprises further down the line .

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