So you're ready for a new website?!
There are things you should know when hiring someone to design or redesign your site to BUILD IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. From there, it's much easier to update.
I always compare branding and web design like building a house. Once you have a functional blueprint and you've laid a solid foundation with concrete, and cinderblocks, and indestructible materials, THEN you can build the walls, and paint the door.
Does this sound like you? You have had the same site for 5 years and it’s outdated. You are ready to UPGRADE. You are looking into design and development teams and feeling a little overwhelmed. Who to choose? What makes them the best fit? How to prepare?
You’re in luck. We are sharing with you our recommended QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DESIGNER + DEVELOPER WHEN STARTING A NEW SITE:
1. Ask YOURSELF if their portfolio fits your style. Designers typically have a niche they work in. If you are a construction firm, hiring someone who typically designs fashion boutique sites might not be the best fit.
2. ASK ABOUT THEIR PROCESS. If your designer or developer doesn't have a process, this is a good sign the project could not go smoothly.
3. Ask about timeline and START EARLY. Most design and development projects take time, and if the firm or designer is working on current sites, they will likely need to wait a few weeks to start your site. They may start some background + discovery for your site, but not the actual build until their schedule allows them to dedicate to you fully.
4. Ask about their team. There are many roles that make the site happen: designer, developer, copywriter, SEO, ux/ui, integrations, photography, etc. Most individuals are not experts at all of the above, so it's likely they have a team in place to facilitate everything your new site needs.
5. BUDGET: You should have one. A website is typically not one package price. Depending on number of pages, platform, hosting, code needed, customizability, content, and more - you could pay $5k for a site, or $100k. It's a BIG range, so be realistic and ask questions about this early on.
6. Edits. With the budget, make sure you are clear on how many revisions or edits are included in the process and the quoted price. This causes you to be more organized as well. If you have a few cooks in the kitchen, organize everyone's feedback into one doc, revise it and THEN send to the designer or developer so all edits can be made at once. If your internal team is going to be managing the site, be sure you are picking a platform and a CMS your team can manage.
7. Maintenance. Be sure you have access to your site and have logins to servers, hosting, etc. In the event you use a different creative in the future, you will want to be able to access the important back end deets. Ask the design team about long-term maintenance packages or what maintenance is included and what other maintenance you may need to budget for.
8. Design files, also known as native files typically belong to the designer themselves. If there are custom design pieces to your site, your designer is probably using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. If you need to make edits to these custom graphics in the future, you will need these files. In addition, if you want to use these graphics on other collateral, you will need these files. Some designers charge for the native files and the rights to them, so negotiating this in the BEGINNING of the project is key.
9. Contract. Be sure there is a signed contract in place and you agree to the terms. This is to protect BOTH of you.
10. NOW, get your ducks in a row. Communicate your goals to the web team, what you need the site to do for you long-term.