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Whether you are hiring a freelance web designer or agency, there are crucially important questions you need to ask.

Their answers should determine the best designer to pitch your tent with.

We’re sidestepping questions about pricing, who you will be communicating with, numbers of pages, and so on… because they are a given. They go without saying.

Instead, we’re focusing on really crucial issues. Here they are and the answers you should expect.

1. Will I have access to all accounts created in my name?

This is a must. You should have the login credentials to your domain registrar, hosting company, CPANEL, analytics account, email, live chat, online payment processor account, etc so that if you change designers you won’t be held to ransom.

2. What are the hosting specifications?

If it’s unlimited disk and bandwidth, better. If not, ask for the specific size. If it’s dedicated server, better. If shared server, it’s manageable. Be wary of agencies that host you with other clients with the same CPANEL login details!

3. How many revisions can I request for?

If you don’t like anything about the design, you should be able to request for revisions and it should be unlimited. This shows the designer is confident of delivering a high-quality job.

4. Do you accept down payment and at what percentage?

Never pay a designer in full. Ideally, it should be 50% down payment or enough to get the job started. It’s better if you use an escrow service.

5. Can I see websites you have designed for other clients?

A good web designer or agency worth its salt should have a portfolio of websites they’ve designed. Ask for their URLs and call to confirm that they actually did the job.

6. When will you deliver?

There’s no hard and fast rule to this. It all depends on your goal deadline and the type of website in question. But it should be a timeline that’s acceptable to you.

7. Do you offer “after-sales” support and what does it entail?

This is one of the advantages of hiring someone else to do your design. Any designer or agency should offer after-sales support that’s available to you at least during working hours.

8. Do you offer any warranty and for how long?

You should get at least a 30-day warranty that starts counting after the website has been delivered.

9. Who will maintain and manage the website and at what cost?

The website designer should offer a website management service at a cost acceptable to you.

10. Will my website be backed up daily?

Your website should be automatically backed up daily or every hour depending on how often information changes on your website. It should be backed up to a remote server and at least three copies maintained before being overwritten.

11. Will my website be mobile-friendly?

Your website should display well on mobile devices and tablets.

12. Will my website be SEO friendly?

It should be. Ask for the SEO best practices that will be implemented at the basic level. If you’re lost, then hire the services of an SEO professional.

13. How long will it take my site to load when tested?

This has to do with loading speed. There are several site speed testing tools online that can be used to test this. The designer should implement best practices that will make your site load fast. Agree on a target of 4 seconds max.

14. Who will create the content?

If it’s a web design agency, they should have a content writer to help you create your pages’ content. If not, a freelancer should help you outsource it and factor in the cost.

15. Will I be able to edit my website’s content?

If it’s a small business website you should be able to. The designer should train you or your staff to do this. This will save you maintenance cost unless it’s affordable.

16. What type of images will you use?

The website designer should use images that’s royalty-free or custom images. Snapping up images from Google search can land you in legal trouble. Beware!

17. What will constitute completion of the project?

Ideally, there should be an acceptance checklist stating the deliverables and their statuses. The project will be accepted as completed if the status columns are all showing “DONE” and can be confirmed.

18. Do you offer a service level agreement (SLA)?

There should be an agreement of sort to bind both of you to. These days there are companies offering such templates online. You should request for one.

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