Hiring someone to build you website can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Because of this I’ve put together a list of the most common questions I’ve been asked in my web design career. If you’re somewhere in the process of hiring a designer, it’s my hope is that this article helps you in your search.
Afterall, doing your due diligence when researching your options and asking the right questions before hiring a designer can save you a ton of time, money and heartache in the long run.
How much does a website cost?
Pricing and budget are usually at the forefront of anyone’s mind who’s thinking of buying a website. This totally makes sense of course, you don’t want to drop a sizable chunk of change only to find out that it was all for naught.
Asking how much it costs to build a website, however, is akin to asking “how much does it cost to build a house”—it really depends on several factors. There are many different kinds of houses and materials to build them, from traveling tiny-homes built using an old school bus to mansions of intricately laid stone; websites are similar.
- Simpler “Starter” or “Brochure” Websites that have 4 pages or less, don’t require all the bells and whistles of a more robust website, and are—for the most part —static, can start as low as $900. These kinds of sites can be a great first step since all the websites I build are done with scaling in mind so you can add to it as your business grows.
- Service Websites begin at $2,500 and may go up from there depending on the functionality required, the scope of your project, and any other additional services. If you run a small to medium size business who’s goal is to grow your online presence and intend to integrate your marketing efforts online this is most likely what would be most beneficial to you.
- Ecommerce Websites have a lot more going on in the background than brochure or service type websites. There’s product listings, categories, credit card processing, shipping & handling, taxes, user accounts, legal requirements, and automated email systems in play. These types of eCommerce websites start at the $10,000+ range. If you want to sell your products online but feel that your business isn’t quite ready for a dedicated eCommerce website there are other paths you can take while you’re growing to that point, feel free to reach out to me to discuss what other options are available.
When we discuss your project during the discovery phase, I’ll learn more about both your industry and business which will provide the information I’ll need to give you a solid estimate and the paths you can take towards your goals while maximizing your budget.
How long does it take to build a website?
To bring back the ‘building a house’ analogy, the only real answer is: it all depends.
The average time it takes me to build a website is 3-6 weeks. When we discuss your project, I’ll be able to give you a much more solid timeline to completion and this timeline will be found within your proposal.
Will people be able to find us online?
Your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and competition within your niche will be a major factor to how well your website ranks.
The websites that I build utilize best practices for SEO such as proper site structure, optimized images, title tags, and never rely on outdated practices (like keyword stuffing).
After your site launches, it will be submitted to all the major search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) which helps to expedite their indexing of your new website allowing them to serve it to those looking for your services.
Showing up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and ranking highly within them is determined by over 200 different factors. If ranking within the first page of Google is one of your goals, it’s a good idea to continue to produce new content for your website on a regular basis, ensure its content is as relevant to your audience as possible, and use analytics software to determine what adjustments might be needed to push you out ahead of your competition.
What do you need from me before we begin the project?
Everything or nothing—but usually somewhere in between. Most of my clients have a few images that they’ve used in their branding or on other marketing materials and provide them to me at the start of a project. For logo assets it’s best if they’re provided in a vector format such as a .eps file or .ai file, however if those file types aren’t available to you we can work with what you have on hand. Images provided should be high resolution, the better the quality of the source image the better as I’ll be able to modify, resize and compress your images prior to loading them to your site. This helps ensure that the photos are crisp while not increasing the load time of your website. If you have no photos to use, that’s okay too, I can help source high quality stock photography to use until they can be swapped out with your own photography.
The written content on your website—referred to as “copy”— can be written by you, with my guidance if needed when it comes to things like writing content intended for SEO, or you may hire a copywriter. I know many copywriters and would be happy to connect you with them but if you already have someone in mind that works too!
When we’re nearing the end of development, I’ll require access to your host (if you’re not hosting your website with me) and your Domain Registrar—the place you first purchased your domain name—so I can migrate the development site to its new home.
When it comes to your domain name it’s highly recommended that you purchase it yourself on your own account. This ensures that you will always have access to it should anything ever happen. If you need guidance on how to purchase your domain I’m more than happy to walk you through the process.
How do I find the right web designer for me?
There are a LOT of designers out there, that’s for sure. Choosing the right one for you can be a heck of a process, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the stress and uncertainty.
- Ask Questions: Ask them the questions found in this article and any others you might have. A straightforward designer should have no issues answering any of your questions.
- Check Their Work: Run their agency’s website and the websites found in their portfolio through free Optimization audits like GTMetix (To run a test, simply copy and paste the website’s URL on these pages.)
- Speak With Their Clients: You can reach out to their past clients and ask what it was like working with them, how responsive they were, and how their work impacted their business.
- Read Reviews: Reviews speak wonders and a quick look around the web will show you reviews from Facebook, Google, Yelp and other review aggregation sites. Don’t solely rely on the reviews on their website either as these are bound to only be their best—do a bit of digging for further confirmation.
What are the alternatives to hiring a web designer?
There are many do-it-yourself options out there—often referred to as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) websites. The major three DIY website builders are Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
For those who either don’t need professional design work, are just starting out and have a bootstrap budget, or would like to start learning more about websites and how they work they can be a great place to start.
Keep in mind that with these choices comes a couple of caveats. You’ll have full control over your website, however that also means that it’s 100% up to you to ensure it’s easy for your visitors to navigate, has proper Search Engine Optimization, complies with legal requirements, and has load times of under 3 seconds. Additionally, these are closed ecosystems which locks you into using only their tools and capabilities. Kind of like buying a car at a dealership but only ever being able to service it, refill the gas tank, and buy parts where you purchased it.
Do you provide any training once the site has launched?
You bet! When your website is launched, you’ll be given administrative access to the back-end. The first thing you’ll see when you log in will be your training videos and support documents.
These cover the standard editing and upkeep of your website as well as any training on assets unique to your particular website for you and your staff to watch and re-watch as often as needed.
Will I be able to review the website before it’s published online?
Of course! There will be multiple proofing stages during the development of your website.
For example, once the sitemap has been completed and the typography and colors have been locked in, your website’s homepage will be the first thing built. This includes the main navigation, the page’s content, and the website’s footer. This helps solidify your website’s look and feel moving forward and is used as a stepping stone to ensure a smooth development process. This is also an ideal time to make any alterations before building the rest of your website’s interior pages.
Will I be able to edit my site once it’s finished?
You absolutely can! My clients who are interested in making their own edits to their website find that the editor that’s in place is easy to use and makes adding new content to their websites a breeze.
If you have no desire to make these edits and updates yourself, that’s cool too. These updates and additions can be taken on by me and managed through my Website Care Plan.
Are there ongoing costs to owning a website?
Yes, there are ongoing costs to website ownership. These costs include your hosting, domain name, and can also include the licenses to the software that make up your website.
Time is another cost many new website owners don’t think of at first. Updating your website, keeping it backed up and secure and keeping the content fresh all takes time, which can be a limited resource for someone who’s busy running their business.
However, there are ways to reduce most of these costs. Many of my clients sign up for my Website Care Plan which includes hosting, incremental backups, security patches, and even covers updating the content on your site.
How will I know if the website is performing well?
You’ll have access to a shared Google Analytics account, or if you’re on my Care Plan, you can log into your Client Portal and view your website’s statistics that are most relevant to your goals as well as downloadable assets like your logo files, brand guide, and font files—all from a single dashboard.
Is your question not on the list?
Although these are the common questions I get, this list certainly doesn’t cover everything. If you still have questions, by all means, please feel free to contact me and ask!