How to Hire a Web Design Firm: Ask These Questions Before You Invest

How to Hire a Web Design Firm: Ask These Questions Before You Invest

When hiring a web development firm, we here at Cleveland creative agency Go Media are firm believers in looking before you leap. Make the right decision and your financial investment will pay dividends for the long term. This is one serious decision! Knowing that, you’ve got some serious questions to ask to potential firms. Ask this list of exhaustive questions and you can feel confident about your decision.

And of course, all consulting for a new website is free when you come to Go Media, so feel free to start your new search with us!

Recommended Questions for Other Firms:

Get to know your team:

At the end of the day, you want to know if the team handling your work is a cohesive one. You’ll want to ask if they have been working together for years on a reliable web solution, or figure out if there is a middleman that will cause disruption or confusion in the process. Try asking:

  • Where is your development team based?
  • Is all of your development work handled in-house?
  • What is the size of your team?
  • How long has your team been working together?

Get to know the technology:

Ask potential firms to give you a little back story on the technology they’ll be implementing. Really get a gauge on their history with the technology and their familiarity with it. Then, get a feel for the back-end. Trust us, you’ll need to have quick and easy access to your website, as well as be able to edit it without having to contact your web development team. Not only will that be an aggravating experience, but an expensive one. Ask:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your history deploying similar websites and what my user experience might look like?
  • What might the back-end of my experience look like?
  • Can I take a peek at some sites you’ve deployed in the past?

Request it be Responsive:

As over half of websites are now viewed on mobile devices, this is a must-have. This one is simple. Say:

  • Will you build my site responsive or mobile ready?

Check into CMS:

Dig deep into the content management system, or CMS, used by the web development firm you’re interviewing. As there are so many on the market, as well as varying fees associated with each, you’ve got to take note. If you ask our opinion, you’ve got to go with the most inexpensive, widely adopted technology that gives you the most functionality. That, to us, is WordPress.

  • Tell me about your content management system and the associated fees. Is the CMS proprietary or open source?

What is the warranty?

Because the web is constantly changing, your site will require constant maintenance and upkeep to stay up to the times. Talk to a future web design firm about things like their warranty, maintenance plan, service plan and web hosting. This way, you can feel safe knowing that the firm you have hired for web development will handle this support in the best and the worst of times. Cover these questions:

  • What is your warranty, what does it cover and what costs are involved?

Talk Pricing:

This is important, now. When talking pricing remember to ask, ask, ask away and never, never assume. Here are some questions you’ll want to ask right out of the gate to ensure you are communicating clearly and leaving nothing to imagination.

  • Tell me about your pricing system?
  • Are you project-based or hourly?
  • What is your policy for payments?
  • How frequently do projects go over budget?
  • What happens when extra features are added or work is added over the projects initial scope?

* Side note: many times our clients tell us our proposals are bigger than the average bear. Why, they ask? Well, it’s simple. We get down to the nitty gritty, giving our clients extremely detailed discovery and project scopes, leaving nothing to the imagination. We want to make sure we nail deadlines and accurately meet the budget outlined. Honesty is the best policy. If the web design firm you are speaking with doesn’t provide you with full details, run!

Take a look at the timeline:

Gain an estimate of the time it will take to build the site at hand. Take note, then check with a reference. What’s the estimate they gave their reference? How long did it actually take to build the site? Do some of your own research and be the judge. Does their internal team have the technology down this to a science or a third party at play here?

  • What is your estimated timeline to build the site?

Process, process, process:

You want to be sure the firm has thought through their process, as this is crucial to their, and your, overall success. Process, to Go Media, equals quality, consistency and reliability. We have our own detailed 32 step web development process mapped out. But that’s us and we love process!

  • Talk me through your design process?

Find out who owns the source files:

You’ll want to know, upfront, if you will have access to your design files upon project completion. Do you they belong to you? The design firm? Should it end badly for some reason and you no longer have access to the files, you’ll wish you would have asked this question earlier.

  • Will I be able to access my files upon project completion?

Track Success:

Once your website is launched, you’ll want to track its success. Make sure the firm you’ll hire has metrics built directly into the site, whatever those might be (sales, conversions, traffic, etc.)

  • What ways do you track the success of the websites you deploy?

Look out for the Long-term:

Once you’ve made a commitment you’ll want to settle in and stay for the long-term. Choose a company that has some size, stability and staying-power. We suggest a company of six or more. With a firm this size, there will most likely be a couple designers and a couple developers. Even in a pinch, when someone is out sick, you’ll be covered.

  • How long have you been in business? How large is your firm?

Ask about the Project Management Piece:

You’ll want to know if a dedicated project manager will be assigned to your project. If so, you’ll have someone on your side building timelines, scheduling meetings, coordinating feedback, reviewing and organizing content, etc. If not, you’ll have some more work on your plate.

  • Do you have a dedicated project manager that will be managing this project?

Ask for References:

Last but not least, don’t forget to ask for some references. Like any investment, this is a natural and normal request.

To learn more about Go Media’s  web development services visit us at!