Questions You Should Ask Your Web Developer Before Building a New Website

Ben Tippet

Creating a website is similar to constructing a home. Just as a house needs an address and monthly utility costs, a website requires a domain name and hosting fees. It’s essential to have a functional and attractive website, and hiring a web developer, similar to hiring an architect for a house, is a smart decision. Before embarking on a DIY website project, it’s important to consider these key questions:

  • Are you aware of the necessary questions to ask a web development expert?
  • Are you clear on the goals and objectives you want your website to achieve for your business?
  • Are you clear on the needs and expectations of your customers that your website should meet?

Inquire about these things when hiring web development services

There are a lot of questions you should ask before building your new website. These are the top 10:

  1. Can you provide examples of similar projects you have worked on in the past?
  2. How do you stay current with the latest web development technologies and trends?
  3. How do you approach problem-solving and troubleshooting during a project?
  4. How do you handle revisions and changes during the development process?
  5. How do you ensure website performance and security?
  6. How do you handle responsive site design, and cross-browser compatibility?
  7. How do you approach SEO and accessibility in your web development?
  8. How do you work with a team and manage project timelines and deliverables?
  9. How do you approach testing and quality assurance for a web development project?
  10. Can you provide references, web pages or client testimonials?
  11. How do you ensure the website can handle high traffic and scalability?
  12. How do you handle post-launch maintenance and updates?
  13. How do you handle version control during development?
  14. Can you explain your development process and methodologies?
  15. How do you handle the integration of any third-party services or APIs?
  16. How can you handle website redesign?

This all seems a bit daunting though right? let’s break it down a bit further by really drilling down into the specifics. with some simple stuff that you can ask that’s PLAIN ENGLISH.

What’s your web design process?

A successful design process should involve understanding your goals, defining the scope of the project, including and excluding features, creating a site map and wireframes to visualise the layout, developing content, and conducting user acceptance testing to ensure proper functionality. It’s important to discuss the platform or content management system (CMS) that will be used for building the site, and if the design considers any necessary integrations. The scope should clarify the responsibility for providing images and written content for the pages and blogs, and if stock images will be used. Overall, it is important to have a clear understanding of what is to be included in the project, to avoid confusion, and to make the project a success.

Revisions

When building a website, it’s important to have a revision phase built into the process to ensure that the end product meets the client’s needs and expectations. The revision phase should include clear guidelines on the number of revisions that are allowed, to avoid any delays or additional costs. The revision should also specify what types of changes are allowed. For example, can the client request changes to the colors, images, layout, how many pages or content of the site? This will help ensure that the client has a clear understanding of what can be revised and what is considered a new request and might be subject to additional costs or delays. It is essential to have a clear process for revisions to avoid confusion and to ensure that the final product meets the client’s expectations and goals.

How much of a say do I get in the website design process

It’s beneficial to have a conversation with a developer about the feasibility of your new website within your budget. This can help you strike a balance between the developer’s technical abilities in web design and your own knowledge of your customer base. As you have the best understanding of your business, you can focus on making the new website easy for your customers to navigate and find what they need. This could involve working on content while the developer focuses on functionality and navigation.

How long will the project take

The timeline for building a website can vary greatly depending on several factors. The main factors that determine the timeline are the complexity of the project and the number of pages or blogs that need to be built. A simple website with a few pages and basic functionality may be completed within a few weeks, while a more complex website with multiple pages, advanced functionality, and custom features may take several months to complete. Additionally, the number of pages or blogs that are included in the project can also affect the timeline. The more pages or blogs that need to be built, the more time it will take to complete the project. Other factors can also affect the timeline such as content creation, design and development process, testing, and deployment. It’s important to have a clear and detailed scope of work, timelines and deliverables agreed upon before the project begins, so everyone knows what to expect and is on the same page.

Can you show me your portfolio

Consider whether your web developer has experience in your industry or a wide range of industries. Browse through their clients’ websites to evaluate the ease of navigation and understanding of the content, and if the site feels too complex. It’s also crucial to check the websites on mobile devices, as mobile functionality is a key aspect to consider.

Updates and changes in the future (handover)

Handover is an essential step in the website development process, particularly if you plan to manage the site yourself and avoid incurring additional costs for updates. During this phase, ask about the process for updating the site, the type of plugins used, how to upload content, and what to avoid (such as making changes to the code).

What content management system (CMS) will the website be built in

A CMS is a foundation or platform on that a website is built on. Some popular options include

Wix

Squarespace

Shopify

WordPress

. It’s crucial to understand whether the website platform needs to integrate with other systems such as email service providers, lead generation software, or payment systems. This can affect how the website operates, the functionality that’s available, and the level of control you have over the site. For example, WordPress generally provides more flexibility in terms of functionality and integration with other applications. When deciding on a platform, consider the goals and objectives for your website, and how much control you want to have over the site. It’s also important to discuss the functionality and features that are required for the website before you sign an agreement to proceed. This will help ensure that the website has all the necessary tools to achieve your desired results.

Functional requirements that the website needs for your business to achieve success online

Choosing the appropriate Content Management System (CMS) is crucial when building a website. A well-designed website can help minimise redundant tasks by incorporating automation and integration. Understanding the systems required for marketing, finance, and operations, and how they integrate can save time, money, and prevent future development issues. To determine functional success, it is important to have clarity around the following questions:

What systems are necessary to ensure a seamless process from customer acquisition to revenue generation

A good objective during website development is to streamline processes, depending on the type of products or services offered. This can involve implementing systems for tasks such as scheduling, cost estimation, job management, and even tracking customer leads and call data.

Do website systems integrate easily

Your customer relationship management (CRM) system will need to be integrated with your website. Consider how customer data will be collected through email marketing, payment options, and how it will integrate with accounting software. Some integrations may bring efficiency, so it’s important to examine which systems can work together, some systems may integrate easily, and others may require customisation or an additional intermediary system to achieve your goals. WordPress is known for its flexibility in this regard, so it’s a good idea to inquire about this when choosing a website platform.

What tools are available that can aid in making decisions based on data analysis

Utilising analytics tools like Google Analytics, Facebook pixels, and phone or call tracking applications can provide valuable insights into website visitors’ demographics, behaviour, and preferences. This can help in making data-driven decisions for your business. In addition, when working with PDE, you have the option to collaborate with digital marketing experts who can assist in utilising the data collected to improve your campaigns.

How important is simplicity when it comes to making modifications?

Familiarising oneself with the technical aspects of a website can be intimidating. Consider the changes that you may want to make to the site such as updating the colour scheme, uploading content, or adding media, and what assistance you may need. Be aware of the potential for being locked into a dependency on a web development agency that charges for every change made to the website. It’s important to remember that as the owner of the website, making minor changes should be something that can be easily completed by yourself or your team after the handover.

What customisation is required?

Higher levels of customisation can come at an additional cost, so it’s important to consider what elements are essential and which are desirable. It’s also important to consider the potential for implementing more complex features in future updates, rather than in the initial build. For example, a chatbot or special layout for certain pages may be something you would like to add later. Additionally, think about your customers’ needs in regard to customisation options, such as being able to personalise a digital product like a T-shirt, or add an image before sending it to a friend, this will also help you make your decisions on what to include in the first version of the website. Your customers needs and wants are a key focus that should be considered in your website build.

What are the specific requirements and expectations of your customers that the website needs to meet

What are the ways in which your website can help customers understand your business, establish a positive relationship, and build trust

Customers can familiarise themselves with your business by viewing project and portfolio sections on your website. This can help you attract the ideal customers while also building trust and establishing authority. This can also be accomplished by including a blog and news section, which can increase visibility and make it easier for customers to find your website through search engines like Google.

Contact points on the website

A contact us page is a fundamental aspect of any website but it’s also important to think about other ways customers can connect with you. Using contact forms that are specific to certain issues or inquiries can help customers reach the appropriate person within your business quickly. This can greatly help to reduce obstacles for customers and streamline communication, ultimately it’s about making it as easy as possible for customers to connect with you.

What are the ways in which you can keep your customers informed and up-to-date about your business

Could a newsletter sign-up process benefit your business? Collecting customer email addresses can help to maintain an ongoing connection and foster relationships. This feature can also be utilised to send out timely reminders such as scheduling service and maintenance appointments or updates on new product releases. Email list management is an effective method to expand your customer base and leverage data in marketing campaigns to attract new business.

What kind of user experience do you want customers to have when interacting with your website

Customers expect websites that are easy to navigate and provide a logical flow of information and should be quick to load, both in terms of click-through responsiveness and loading of images and graphics. The size of the files on the site, in terms of bytes, can greatly affect the download speed and the customer experience.

What’s the next step in choosing a web developer?

Reach out and connect with us, of course! We would even like to invite you to browse our portfolio of work so you can get insight into what is possible. Find your digital edge today.

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