Questions to Ask Your Web Developers

Published: December 14, 2016  by 

website coding on a computer screen

You’ve decided you want a new web design or website. You’re excited and a bit overwhelmed. You have a business to take care of. You don’t have time to learn all of the lingo and new technology. You’ve hired the experts for that.

While clients shouldn’t have to learn all the terminology, there are some important questions to consider before and during your website build.

Consider this a quick cheat sheet of questions to ask your web developers or agency.

Why WordPress?

While WordPress powers 27% of all websites, it’s important to know why you want to move to the platform as there will be costs associated with the move, whether it be a blank slate or migrating existing content and users.

Here are some things you can bring up with your agency.

  • List out your frustrations with your current setup.
  • What you are expecting out of WordPress (easier editing, design changes, etc).
  • Concerns about security.
  • Concerns about recurring costs (extensions, maintenance, and ongoing development once the site is launched).
  • Scalability. If your site is featured on T.V. or goes viral, will your site crash?

Why this host?

We all know that web hosting matters. It’s your virtual parking spot and you must keep your website in the most ideal location.

Ideally, your host decision shouldn’t be about money, even though we all know that’s a huge factor.

Find out why your agency is choosing this host for you. Have them list out the pros and cons in a readable fashion so that you can make an informed decision.

While some hosts are cheap, the migration process to these hosts is not ideal, so that can suck up costs in other areas.

Also, backups, security, and updates all cost money as well, and most cheap hosts do not cover this. Find a host that works with WordPress well.

What about security?

While WordPress itself is very secure, there are ways hackers can get into your site. The best solution is being pro-active with your security.

What does your agency plan for security for your website? How much will it cost? What happens in the event your site is hacked?

All of these are good questions to open a dialogue about the future and security of your website.

How fast will my website be?

While hosting plays a big role in the speed of your website, especially if it gets a lot of traffic, hosting is just part of the solution.

Google PageSpeed is an item to consider, but it’s more of a guideline. Ask your agency how they plan to utilize Google’s PageSpeed algorithm.

More importantly, ask how the agency plans to tackle overall loading time, since this is highly important. You can test your website’s loading time using Pingdom.

Will my website crash?

Again, this is highly dependent on the host. Every host has a breaking point, so if you need 100% uptime, communicate that. Depending on your answer, it’ll determine your overall hosting budget and host.

How do I tell if my website is successful?

Are you after conversions? I bet you are!

An important question to ask is How are you going to track the success of my website? It’s not just about traffic. You want more business, correct?

If a certain section of your website isn’t working, your agency should be able to track why and explain what is and isn’t working.

A website is an evolving entity and it always needs tweaking to make sure it’s as optimized as possible.

How well will my website work on most devices?

It’s 2016 (almost 2017). Your website should work on most devices, including mobile.

If you require your website to work on an older browser, say so. It informs the developers of what technology they can use and how advanced your website can be.

If you’re comfortable with your site working on most mobile devices and the more recent operating systems, please say that as well.

It’s good for a developer to know of any limitations up front, as that will determine the site’s architecture. Architecture is really tough to change after the fact, and there will be associated costs with a re-work after development has commenced.

What about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Ideally, your web developer is working with an SEO professional. While developers don’t implement SEO explicitly, the developer does lay the SEO foundation for the site.

It is very possible for a developer to make a site SEO-unfriendly, which may come back to bite you, should you decide to pursue that service.

Ask for an SEO plan up front from a development perspective.

What is the content plan?

Are we migrating your content over? It’s up to you and it’ll determine design and site architecture.

Do you need help writing the content? Ask if there are copywriting services available.

Gathering content is a tedious process, so determine how much time you’re willing to invest in content.

Will there be a discovery phase?

The discovery phase is a requirements analysis of your website build, covering every aspect of your website. This leads to a plan of what you will need to create your fully functional website.

We highly recommend a discovery phase for your project. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of your website build.

Think of discovery as a therapy session of sorts, where you walk away with a plan (blueprint) for the future.

The best thing about discovery is you can take this plan and work with another agency if you so desire.

Have something to add?

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