Congrats!! You’re at the point in your business where you’re ready to hire a developer to create a website for you. There are hundreds of developers out there, and you need to make sure you’re hiring someone that fulfills your needs and more. We have narrowed down the 5 most important questions to ask BEFORE hiring someone to develop a website for you to ensure you’re getting EXACTLY what you’re paying for and not having to reinvest later on to fix issues that didn’t mean your expectations.
Can you provide examples of websites that you/your company have been involved in?
Asking to see a portfolio is one of the first things you should be looking at. Seeing a developer/designers portfolio will greatly help you see their design style, and their capabilities. There are many ways to design a website, but in the end that developer/designer has their own style. Ask yourself some questions while your looking through a portfolio.
- Does that style fit with you, and your business?
- Does that style appeal to your ideal customers?
- Does the website flow well between elements within the page?
- Is there any designs that look like they are copied/used from a template?
Be sure to click around on the sites they provide and ask questions when they come up. This can give you an idea of the User Experience (UX) that the developer/designer created for that client. Keep in mind, sometimes after a website is launched clients can go into their sites and edit things, so be sure to ask the developer/designer about certain elements if something looks off rather than assume.
Depending on the company you are looking at they may be niche specific in providing their services; which is great – however if you’re business is not within that niche it could pose an issue. We recommend finding a company that either specialized in your niche, or find one that can work on a variety of business industries.
Industry: Equine/Animal Health
Industry: Business Coach & Copywriting
Do you build custom designs, or do you use a pre-made template?
There is nothing wrong with using templates, however, you want to ensure you’re paying for exactly what is promised. If you’re paying for a custom website (expect to be investing more), but you should expect a website that isn’t identical to that of someone else. This can be seen as well within a portfolio.
Ways you can distinguish if a designer has used a template:
- Do all of the websites look the same just different colors and pictures
- Does each one look unique and fit to those websites/business needs?
- Do you see copyright at the bottom of any of their portfolio website that isn’t similar to their business name?
One confusion can be a Template vs Theme. Many themes are templates. Colors and images are changed and fit within a certain framework – not much customization can be done besides updating the content of the website. For themes such as Divi, this theme – better described as a framework, enables a developer to 100% custom the appearance of the website to the client’s needs. Elegant Themes (Divi’s creator) does include 100+ templates to use within their framework, sometimes full layouts can be used or a designer may use certain section – or inspiration for a design. When Divi is first installed on a website, this is what it looks like – a plain white website with a sidebar, their default logo. Any design elements are built on-top of this.
What efforts will be used to ensure my website is secure & safe?
A website can be pretty, but it has to work, and be safe too. One of the most important elements you want to ensure with whomever you are hiring is do they know the measures it takes to keep your website secure, and safe?
Is the designers website HTTPS?
Don’t know what HTTPS vs HTTP is, click [[HERE]] to Read About the Difference & Why You Should Care
What plugins do they use for site security?
Some well known security plugins are Wordfence, Defender, BulletProof, Securpress just to name a few.
Services that security plugins should cover are:
Active security monitoring
Brute force attack protection
Notifications for when a security threat is detected
Will my website be compatible with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices?
In today’s age, ore people are viewing websites on their phones, tablets, etc compared to those that look on a desktop/laptop. You want to ensure that the developer & designer understands and executes a technique that enables mobile responsiveness to your website can be used just as easily as a desktop visitor would be about to.
Unfortunately, there are some elements that cannot be shown as well on a mobile device compared to that of a desktop. A developer/designer should be able to use techniques that best duplicate what that element is needing to look like for mobile devices.
Keep in mind, not everyone has fast computers or a fast phonem the more flashy elements (animations, videos), the slower it can make your site load.
Do you offer on-going maintenance after my site goes live?
Depending on if you’re wanting to take over the maintenance for your website after it’s launched, or have your developer do on-going maintenance, be sure to ask your developer or designer exactly what post-launch looks like.
A website is just like that of a car, you have to keep it maintained to ensure that it runs properly, and is safe. Just like anything – when there is a hole in it, it can pose a weakness for a threat to come in, and you don’t want that.
Talk with the developer/designer and see if maintenance is something they offer or do they train you on how to maintain your website on your own?
What kind of access do I have to my website after it’s launched?
This is a VERY important question. You’ve just invested all of this money into this project, now you need to know if you can access it on your own, or each time something needs to be changed – do you have to go through the company. Be sure to ask about basics such as:
Will you be provided login to your host/cpanel?
Will you have access to make changes to your website?
Do you have to pay to make any changes to the website?
If you need to move the website, are you able to?
If I need a major update (new page, new content) how much will this be?
Why any subscriptions (domain, hosting, etc) are expiring - will you notify me?
There can be a million and one questions to ask a developer/designer, you can find lists ALL over the internet upon what to ask. Most importantly, when you ask a developer/designer a question….take notes. Keep information on ones you interview, and above all else ASK QUESTIONS. You want to ensure the investment you’re putting into a website will be worth every cent you’re putting into it. A website can be time consuming, and can even be an emotional investment, you want to make it worth it.
Our Trusted Providers
All of our clients websites are hosted on Bluehost – unless they have something else set up. It by far is our most favorite provider. Besides providing an affordable plan for hosting for as little as $3.95/month, you also get a free domain (if you don’t already have one), and even at the basic plan, you get 5 free email addresses!
Plugins & Support
WPMUDev has been a staple in every one of the websites we have developed. This package of plugins has everything from security (Defender), to image optimization, to page caching…the list goes on….111 plugins that is.
For all of our online booking we use Acuity. This platform allows us to make booking appointments easy for us, and for clients. We can elect to have different types of appointments, as well as if we wanted to do classes – this platform allows for classes to be booked.
We were going between MULTIPLE websites just to maintain my clients, their invoices, emails, where they are at in their design/site, then we were introduced to Dubsado. This LIFESAVER of a website has it all in one place, and allows you to do a lot of automation with prewritten emails, and auto-populate contracts.
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