When you consider a website design, there are a few options on the table.
You could tackle the website design in-house.
You could hire a team of freelancers.
Or, you could hire an agency or a professional web design company.
If it’s your first time hiring an agency or professional company, it can be intimidating.
You’re putting the success of your business in someone else’s hands, so there’s a lot to consider.
How much will the website cost?
How much experience does the agency have?
Of course, when you ask any company these questions, they’ll answer them correctly. Similar to when you go on a job interview, design companies pretty much know what questions you'll ask them, and learn how to answer those questions with confidence. That's why you need to dig deeper.
Otherwise, you may hire a company that won’t deliver the type of website you really need.
Revealing Questions You Need To Ask Any Professional Web Design Company
Another way to think about hiring a web design company is to a first date. When you've dated enough, you know that there are certain questions people always ask.
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
What are your hobbies?
You're always going to have a polished answer. Neither party will tell the other enough to make a judgment call on whether or not you should become a couple. But when it comes to your website, you need to make that call much sooner.
In my experience, preparing for any conversation that you have with a professional web design company is critical. You also want to have a solid understanding of your business goals and priorities, as well as your expectations for your new website.
From there, there are four critical questions you want to ask any professional web design company:
1. Can I Get Client References?
Any web design company is going to put their best foot forward. You won’t necessarily get the answers you need if you only skim testimonials or watch a case study video. You want to choose a partner that previous clients are ready to praise, outside of material the company uses to land clients.
That’s why it’s not out of the question to request personal client references, or even to speak to former website clients. If a client provided a testimonial, they should be fine with hopping on a call to talk about their experience. If your potential professional web design company is willing to accommodate this request, it's a very good sign.
2. What's Your Website Process?
If you want an idea of how long it’s going to complete your website, you need more than just a launch date. You need an overview of the phases of your website design, as well as insight into the actual website process. The best professional web design companies can provide a timeline with a break down of each phase, as well as an expectation of how long they’ll take to complete.
For us, providing our website process and timeline upfront is helpful for the client as well. You can review dates and plan to work around any time you plan to be out of the office. You can also anticipate any gaps you may have on your team. For example, if you know you're going to need to provide additional graphics, you have a window to find a designer, if you don't already have one.
If you want more insight into what a typical website project plan entails, you can check out our recommended process steps.
3. Who Will I Be Working With?
Often, the person you talk to at a professional web design company during the early hiring stages isn’t always who you will work with. During the hiring process, ask who will be the point of contact during the website project, as well as anyone working on the design. Depending on the company, you may not meet additional team members until you start the project.
We have team members that worked on website projects for many different agencies in the past. Despite being the project manager, they weren’t always client-facing, which meant that updates and questions were sent through an account manager. At Lean Labs, our team meets clients right away, and it’s preferable, as we can get to know each other and can onboard to their brand quicker.
4. What Do You Need From Me?
A positive, collaborative working relationship is the key to any successful website project plan. During the website projects I’ve worked on, the smoothest launches happened when the client was communicative and accessible. For us, that includes getting on Slack, putting brand assets in Google Drive, using Zoom for meetings, and learning how to use Monday.com for content.
If you want the best experience with a professional web design company, ask questions upfront about your role in the project, communication expectations, and any software or platforms you’ll be required to use.
What You Need To Know About Web Design Companies
There’s a pretty significant risk when you hire a web design company. To minimize that risk as much as possible, you want to establish clear expectations with any potential web design company. It could be the difference between growing your business and remaining stagnant.