As a business owner, you should definitely ask questions as you interview website design companies to create, update, or completely overhaul your website.
The common questions like:
- Who supplies the images?
- Who writes the content?
- How long will it take to complete the web design process?
- How will the website drive traffic and generate leads?
- What kind of research will you do on our business?
should most certainly be asked, and are important to know! But this article is not intended to cover those common questions. See Indeed, Design Powers, Thrive, Boss Mag, D. E. Awards, or CirclesStudio for those general questions above.
What you don’t know WILL hurt you.
The website design and marketing industry is constantly evolving. A standard used just a year ago may no longer be the standard today and may lead to full website redesigns in the near future. So, the questions below will focus on the technical questions you should ask your website design company before you hire them. These questions will help you understand if they are keeping up with the newest advancements in WordPress.
By asking these questions, they will also help you weed out the “fly by night” companies that won’t be there in a year or two due to mismanagement, lack of knowledge, or the worst…the website they created has the inability to bring in and convert visitors for their clients.
Technical Website Designer Questions
The questions below are more technical/in-depth that you probably didn’t know you should ask unless you were “working in the trenches” of the website design industry.
- Will you use a CMS (Content Management System) to build our website? If so, what one will you be using?
- Odds are the designer is going to say WordPress, as it currently powers 39.6% of the internet or 60.4% of all CMS-built websites. The second best is Joomla, with 5.2% of CMS. WordPress is well-supported and is actively being updated today and years into the future. It’s highly flexible and is perfect for almost all website and marketing needs.
- Will we be able to edit our website once it’s built?
- If it’s WordPress, the answer should be whomever you’d like to have editing abilities on your website. WordPress can be set up so different users can access different editing levels. So if you give content writers access to edit text on a blog, that is all they can do. This is just the tip of the iceberg for user controls.
- When hiring a website designer who creates WordPress websites, one of the more critical questions today is: Will you use a page builder or a block editor to design the website?
- Back in 2021, we could say it didn’t matter, but it’s 2023 (and beyond), so Gutenberg Block Editor! WordPress core supports it, and the sustainability of page builders, in our opinion, is questionable at best.
- Another reason you should go with the Gutenberg Block Editor is that the website load speeds become blazing fast, which is a ranking factor on Google.
- Security will become an issue in the future for all non-supported page builders.
- What is the difference between Page Builders and Block Editor? Years ago, page builders were more flexible and could create stunning websites, while the block editor was released on December 6, 2018, with highly rudimentary design ability. However, that is no longer the case today.
- Am I locked into hosting with your company?
- With WordPress, your website can be hosted on just about any hosting environment, and you are NOT locked in with any website design company. We do not recommend using a shared hosting environment, but practically any cloud hosting, virtual private server (VPS), or dedicated host will do. Also, is the server running LSWS (LiteSpeed Web Server), NGINX, or Apache?
- Should your website go decoupled (also known as “monolithic” by separating the CMS from the delivery channel), use the less recommended headless, or use Gatsby.js, which is fast and static? A basic WordPress installation is enough for most clients, but there are options at several hosting companies.
- Is there a fee to get my website files if we leave? If so, how much and in what format?
- For us at Big Ten Web Design, it’s 100% free. You get your files in a zip format containing your entire website plus the MySQL database that makes it run. Either your next website designer or your next hosting company will be able to help with this process.
- Who does software updates on the website? Who covers the cost of fixing issues on the website that arise over time, especially when updates are done?
- We recommend getting a website maintenance plan that covers weekly software updates and fixes that can crop up.
- Who covers cleaning up a hacked website if that does happen?
- We think this should be covered in the maintenance plan as we prefer to make security improvements before they happen and enforce secure passwords and 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication).
- Is the website able to integrate with (name your software) or give me the ability to do (name your feature)? If the website is designed using WordPress, it’s a yes and for less than other CMS options.
- Payment gateways
- PPC ads integration for e-commerce image ads
- CRM and email marketing like Salesforce, Hubspot, ActivecCmpaign, Mailchimp, constant contact, etc.
- Create Landing pages
- YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
- Other marketing tools
- Schedule tasks in WordPress with cron jobs.
- Much more.
- Is the website search engine optimized for improved online visibility/SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
- Some of Google’s ranking factors are that the website needs to be
- What hosting environment will the website be on?
- Hosting environment options:
- Shared hosting (NOT recommended due to issues of “noisy neighbors” taking up resources, cross-site scripting/XSS hacks, and more.)
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting
- Cloud hosting (think AWS or Google Cloud)
- Managed WordPress hosting (typically a VPS or Cloud).
- Dedicated server hosting
- Hosting environment options:
The future (and now) of WordPress hosting is Gutenberg Block Editors, as they are fast and have tremendous flexibility to be shown on multiple pages without needing to edit content. They are incredibly dynamic and powerful and fully supported by the core WordPress.
We will do our best to stay on the cutting edge of upcoming technologies and keep you informed along the way.
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