20 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Web Designer

Navigate your web design journey with confidence! I've written 20 crucial questions you need to ask before finding your perfect fit in a website designer.

Choosing a web designer’s a little like finding the right partner!

Maybe you need to go on a few dates, maybe it’s love at first sight, but before you take things to the next level you want to be confident that you communicate well and that you’re on the same page about your goals and dreams for the future!

And you ask each other a bunch of questions as you’re getting to know each other, right? Because it’s not just about you deciding if they are the right fit for you, it’s also about them deciding if you’re the right fit for them!

I ask my potential clients a TON of questions before inviting them to work with me, and my favorite clients ask me questions before accepting my invitation! It’s so important for me to make sure that my clients are a good fit for me as much as it is for them to make sure I’m a good fit for them!

And if I think someone would be better off with a different designer, I don’t hesitate to make a referral because ultimately, I want your project to be successful whether we work together or not.

So I went ahead and put together a list of 20 Questions (along with my answers) clients have asked me before saying YES to working together so that you can use it to interview your short-list of web designers (and get to know me a little bit better)!

Have a question I didn’t answer here? Contact me and let me know!

Q. What platform do you use?

The most popular platforms are WordPress, Squarespace + Wix. Make sure you understand the pros + cons of the platform your designer uses!

A: My platform preference is WordPress.org, the most popular and powerful open source software used to create a beautiful website or blog. The benefits of WordPress are many but the main benefits are it’s flexibility and adaptability. It’s themes offer multiple options or any type of business and the endless plugins offer extended functionality. But the biggest advantage of WordPress in my opinion is infinite scalability. It is set up for growth, ideal for those seeking to elevate their business and website to greater heights.

Q. Do you purchase my hosting or do I need to?

The cost of a domain and hosting varies, but at the low end it’s about $100 USD a year. Be sure you know if it’s included in your package or not, and know that it is a recurring cost. Using a reputable website hosting provider is essential so your brand can offer quality service to your audience. 

A: Hosting for my projects is to be purchased by my client prior to project start and is a yearly recurring cost, although I often make recommendations on hosting providers and plans to my clients. 

Q. Do I purchase my domain myself, or do you do it? 

Make sure you own your site and your web address (URL, domain name). Your web designer should not have these accounts in their name. Those accounts should be in your name with logins shared with your designer securely using a tool like LastPass.

A: Just like with your hosting, I have you purchase your domain name prior to our working together. The cost can vary depending on the name. If you need support on picking a name or recommendations on who to purchase it through, I can totally help you. 

Q. What page builder and theme do you use (if applicable)?

If your designer uses WordPress it’s important to know what page builder and theme they use so that you can find support should you ever have to hire someone else.

A: Although I am proficient in many builders, my preference is Elementor Pro, easily one of the most popular WordPress page builders available, so it would be simple for my clients to find another designer to support their websites if needed. There are a number of themes that work well with Elementor but I currently have a few favorites; Astra, Ocean WP, Hello and Generate Press. 

Q. Do you create my branding (fonts, colors, styles, etc.) and graphics (images) or do I need to hire someone else to do that?

Some web designers do branding, graphics + web design. Some just do the web design from the branding and graphics you provide for them. Make sure you know what you’re getting.

A: I offer different levels of visual branding with my website design packages depending on my clients needs; complete custom  branding branding refresh, or your selection of tried and true branding from my predesigned brand kits. 

Q. Do you do any copywriting?

Most web designers will not write your website copy for you, although some offer this service. Be prepared to write your own copy (or hire it out).

A: Similar to the branding I offer copywriting and copywriting assistance within my packages, I have different levels that I provide to clients depending on their needs.  

Q. What content do I need to provide?

Count on having to provide a logo, images, any website copy you have, links to your social media profiles, product and service descriptions and anything you want to make sure is included on your site.

A: Depending on the project, these are the items I typically ask for from my clients:

  • All passwords required to create the site
  • Any company logos or branding you’d like used
  • 1-3 professional About photos of yourself or your group
  • Any other photos/stock photos you want to be used
  • Any testimonials or referrals that you may have
  • Your free offer or lead magnet (if applicable)
  • Social media profile links
  • Product descriptions for ecommerce sites (if applicable)
  • My completed Project Planner
  • Any copywriting you already have written (or my completed Website Content Planner)

Q. How will you optimize my site for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

SEO is a whole strategy and can be a lot of work, that is why there are SEO specialists. It is not necessarily the responsibility of your designer – but at the very least your designer should be installing an SEO plugin for you, configuring it and optimizing your overall site for SEO.

A: I use an SEO plugin called RankMath, which helps me configure all the sites I design with basic SEO such as on page optimization, content analysis, redirects, rich snippets, etc.

If you are interested in more of an amplified SEO strategy, this can certainly be added to your package.

Q. Do you back my site up or is that my responsibility? If you do backups, how often?

Stuff happens, and someone should be backing up your site regularly. If this is done, no matter what happens you’ll be covered. If not, you risk losing your site. Find out if your designer is performing regular backups to your site.

A: Within each of my packages I provide a quality assurance period after design completion where I will perform regular site maintenance, which includes weekly or nightly backups, depending on how often the site is being updated. Once the QA period is over, clients have the option of moving to one of my website care packages where regular backups continue, among other maintenance tasks.

Q. Can you build a site that looks like this? (Meaning your own sketch, or a link to a site that you like).

Make sure you are super detailed if you are looking for something specific. Most designers can create any kind of design. If the design you want is more complex expect your designer to recommend a custom package. If it’s more simple and straightforward your designer may have a template option which is great for your budget!

A: Yes! My packages include a fully custom, strategic website and branding where I take your vision and turn it into reality. I also offer a customized website with refreshed branding that is strategically designed to suit your industry and speaks to your ideal client, and a smaller but powerful site that allows you to hit the ground running, setting you up as a professional so you can begin marketing your services.

Q. How do you protect my site from hackers?

Your designer should be installing a security plugin like WordFence or Sucuri. There are free versions that do everything you need, so you shouldn’t have to pay extra although there are pro versions of these as well if you are interested.

A: I always recommend my clients use reputable hosting which goes a long way to making sure your site is secure. I also use Wordfence to protect all of the sites I develop and prevent all unauthorized accesses and potential threats and keep your website safe, and as part of my website care packages I have all Wordfence alerts sent to me if there are any issues to be aware of, so that you don’t have to worry about a thing!

Q. Do you maintain my site after our project is over? (i.e. updating WordPress Core, plugins, etc.)

Find out if your web designer will be at the least, updating plugins and keeping your site to the latest version of WordPress. These actions are critical to protecting your site from hackers and keeping it running quickly and efficiently. If they are not doing this, you should be.

A: After the project quality assurance period, clients have the option of moving to one of my website care packages where I provide regular website maintenance + support to keep your website running smoothly, secure, and up-to-date.

Q. Does my site come with an email address? How do I get that set up on my phone/laptop?

Okay, so not REALLY the job of your web designer, but this usually comes with your hosting. Find out if that’s something you’ll do yourself or if it’s part of their package.

A: Most reputable hosting companies include a domain email address with their hosting package. I set up my clients domain email within their hosting account and include it on their website. I can also give you information on how to set your email to redirect to another address if that’s what the prefer.

Q. What’s your process?

If the designer can’t articulate their process to you, consider that a big red flag.

A: My process in a nutshell…

I will guide clients through my signature system that includes a kickoff call at the BEFORE project start so they know what to expect throughout the entire process, as well as scheduling strategic design meetings to review and provide feedback on the progress. This helps ensure revisions are made all along the way so we don’t get to project completion and have a bunch of changes. 😨

Because you know your business best, your involvement is required in the early stages to complete the project prep prior to our start date, but don’t worry, I guide you every step of the way.

That’s where I take over, creating strategic branding and copywriting in a strategic layout and design focused on making an impact, engaging your ideal client, and creating leads.

Throughout my entire process, clients are able to follow their project’s progress within my project management system set up in Asana.

After launch there is a testing and quality assurance period to ensure everything is functioning optimally as well as training to ensure that you are empowered to manage + update your new site and integrations post-launch.

I also offer website care plans if you wish for me to take over your sites ongoing maintenance for you.

Q. How do revisions work?

Your designer should have a clear process for getting feedback from you and making the revisions you request, and your designer should tell you if any of your requests are out of the scope of your original project and give you the choice of moving forward with out-of-scope revisions or not – before just doing them and billing you for them!

A: As stated above, I have design meetings with my clients that take place at strategic times of the project to provide their feedback up to that point. Prior to project completion we have a final meeting to go over everything for final revisions prior to website launch. 

If there are any out of scope requests, I will always provide options for completion and get approval for any costs prior to completing them. 

Q. How long will this project take?

If the designer can articulate a clear process, they’ll likely have a clear timeline that they stick to easily. If not, that’s when projects can drag on for months longer than you’d expect.

A: The timeline will ultimately depend on the package chosen and any additional deliverables required, but for a basic design my highest level (Elite) projects can run from about 6-8 weeks, my mid-level (Evolve) projects run from about 4-6 weeks, and my lowest-level (Essential) projects run from about 2-4 weeks. 

After a website consultation where I find out exactly what a client requires, I can provide a clearer project timeline.

Q. What’s your price range?

This is a hard question for any website designer to answer without all of the information because each project has different requirements.

A: I hesitate to answer this question for the same reason mentioned above, often clients don’t know what they need until we have a website consultation and I am able to draw that information out of them. After our consultation, I provide a proposal with different levels of packages and pricing options based on the deliverables that we have discussed.

I always try my best to flush out all the requirements in advance but if, during the project, something comes up that is out of scope, I will always let the client know and give them options before moving forward.

Q. What are your payment terms?

It’s normal for a web designer to require a deposit to reserve a spot on their development schedule, and even to require the balance to be paid in full before an exclusive booking (like if you booked them for a specific day) but it’s NOT normal for a web designer to require the entire balance of a long-term project up front. There should be milestones that are met during the project before you are invoiced for the next part of the project, just like building a house!

A: I require a ⅓ Deposit to reserve a spot on my development calendar,  2 equal installments during the course of our project. For a longer project I can extend the schedule if needed.

Q. Will you train me on how to update my website?

Your designer typically won’t update the content on your website unless they offer a specific content update package, but you should expect your designer to empower you to understand your website and make your own updates. If they won’t train you, consider it a red flag.

A: I provide training that walks my clients through how to update and maintain their site on their own. I also offer options for content updates to be done through me if that’s what they prefer.

Q. What if I need help after the project is over?

Find out what options your designer has for hiring them to do more work after the project is over. Can you book them for an afternoon for tasks? Do they have a retainer option and if so how does it work?

A: I have several options to do continued work with clients. The easiest and most popular are my VIP Design Intensives. I may also create a custom retainer package for clients, depending on whether their needs are consistent and recurring. If it is a large unique project, there is also the option to begin an entirely new project with a new proposal.

I hope you feel more confident in choosing the right web designer for your project!

And if you’re a coach or consultant who struggles with putting yourself out there, and wants to feel more like a confident professional by having a website that you can be proud of so you can market yourself effectively and ultimately attract your dremium clients, I’d love to chat more about working together.

Click here to check out my web design packages or schedule a free no-pressure consultation!

Hey Friend!

I’m Lisa and I am a visual brand and website designer. My goal with this blog is to provide tips and tricks to empower you to grow your business. Feel free to reach out with questions or to see if we are a good fit to work together. In the meantime, I hope you find the information  supportive in transforming your biz. :)

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