1. What do you offer for my price point?
First off, the best place to start is with services: what do they offer and what is included in each of the pricing options? Options include website development, hosting, copywriting, digital marketing services, inbound marketing services, and social media services, and the option of any extra add ons like video that might be of interest.
If it was me, I would definitely ask the question, “Is any of the work outsourced?” What this means is the web design company might hire freelancers to carry out tasks during busy periods. I would be very weary of this practice as often standards slip if company best practices aren’t followed and the individual is outside the office.
2. Do you use custom design websites or pre-made templates?
Deciding between custom or pre-made templates can sometimes depend on your budget. Pre-made templates aren’t customised and are basic but OK. We use custom design websites, and since they are designed from scratch, it will look unique, and - in the long run - you will get better results if you have tailored each section to your business offering. With custom design templates, you also have the option of doing a specialist design to suit HubSpot, for example. It is worth asking if the company is HubSpot certified? HubSpot offer specific COS training to make sure designers are up to scratch on what is required, and to make sure they understand how to personalise your website. Check if the company has done any other HubSpot qualifications as the more areas of the platform they understand the better suited the website design will be.
3. May I see examples of previous work?Seeing a portfolio of work (and successful designs that drive traffic) gives you some reassurance that the company you are speaking to is established, trusted, and has a long term relationships with current clients. It is a great idea to read through the testimonials, and their social media profiles to see what people are saying about them. Also, you can see if the work is fitting to your expectations and use this research as a starting point to establish what style of website you need. As HubSpot COS is fairly new in the UK, it's worth asking for examples of websites not just mock ups as this can help with your final decision. It is definately reassuring to know a company has previous experience in this area and has delivered results.
4. Do you have successful case studies?Case studies are brilliant to show you the results that have been achieved on previous campaigns. If you have goals in mind, both parties need to agree that they are achievable with the amount of services being discussed. It’s similar to our example of ‘Give your brand an update’ case study; if we were pitching to a client, we’d show them our history of successful campaigns to give us the edge over competitors. Case studies needs to prove the web design company’s work and show their level of success achieved. The company doesn’t have to be a big one (or have successfully led many campaigns) to be a quality company with trusted designs, but you’ll want to see evidence that their work speaks for itself.
5. How will you generate revenue for me?This question is an important one as it is the end goal for any successful business. Are they on the same lines as you with what's achievable? Both parties need a copy of the agreed brief and the outcome after x amount of months. What happens if it fails? Do they test different aspects of the website to encourage improvement? It’s better to be clear on these considerations before you start so everyone knows where they stand. They need to have at least a quarterly plan of what they expect to achieve for you, and after that quarter, you can analyze if the results are working (even if results sometimes take a year or more).
6. Do you do A/B testing?
A/B testing - where users rate aspects of the website’s usability and improvements can be made - is key to continuous improvement on a website and we recommend that when looking for a web design company they use it. When you have A/B testing, it's worth looking every few weeks at what is working the best and learn each time what users like and what they don’t. These tests can reveal only small tweaks like moving the phone number or a call to action from the bottom of the page to the top, or it can reveal much larger problems (but if you’ve chosen wisely, hopefully that won’t be the case!). Growth driven design is the most successful and utilised method at the minute.
7. What is your competitor policy?Ask the questions: “Do you have any clients in a similar niche already?” and “What if a competitor of ours approached you would you sign them up?” It’s not best practice to work on competitors and could become a conflict of interest. I would expect a HubSpot website design Company to have one client per sector and remain loyal throughout the working relationship.
8. What is your typical timescale?Once you have decided what needs to be done, setting a time is the next step. If all deliverables are documented with dates alongside them, it can keep things moving and ensure you get what you pay for. If sign off is required at every stage, it can slow things down but as long as everyone is realistic and sticks to their word, there shouldn’t be any problems. Make sure that your web design company has realistic time goals, and delivers.
9. How important is responsive design to your company?Responsive design is very important nowadays with Google searches not only been carried out on desktops but - most often - mobile and tablets too; a website needs to be responsive and able to load all the content in each of the different devices without sacrificing quality and user friendliness. If the website isn’t correctly designed, it could cause major problems since if you are not mobile friendly, Google may not show you in search results.
10. Do you show me the design mockup first or do you code straight away?
Do they show you the design before they code it up? We believe this preview is the best process to follow so that the client can sign it off before the coding begins at it can get very complicated (and pricey) to change things after the time to code has been carried out. With website design being a very visual project, seeing the final draft can identify last-minute alterations that make all the difference after launch.On a final note, it’s important to say don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way and speak out if you aren’t 100% comfortable with what’s proposed. After all, it’s your website, and you and your web design company should be on the same page. In these easy stages, it’s worthwhile being honest and open and testing how and if this relationship should go forward in the future.