Not all web design agencies are the same and neither are the results that they produce. Once you have taken the time to find a company that can provide you with great web design in Birmingham, how can you be sure that the end product will be exactly what you need and want?

There are lots of tech people available on the web and they all call themselves different things. Web developers, web development agencies, web designers, web design companies, web design agencies – the list goes on and on which makes it all that little bit more important that before you choose a web design agency to work with, that you ask the right questions to ensure they are the right fit.

Getting it right first time

There is one way and that is by asking 10 essential questions before your website development begins. What you don’t want to happen is to be in the possession of a great site at the end of the allotted project time, only to find that your traffic is down and that there are issues with the way the site was put together.

Many times, this can be avoided by asking the right questions before work starts and being absolutely clear on what you need the web design service company to do for you.

You may think that getting the old site redirected to the new one and optimising all content with keywords is so obvious that it is bound to be included, but what if it is not?

Not only can you find yourself stuck with a website that is not performing well (and so losing you customers) but if work to rectify is outside of the perimeters of the original project, you may even find that you have a bill for additional work. So, now you know that all website creation projects are not necessarily the same, what questions should you be sure to ask?

Ten of the best questions

Here are ten of the best questions related to web design services but do feel free to add your own as you go along:

1. What is the project cost and timeline?
Make sure that the price you are quoted is a proposal and not an estimate as you don’t want to find yourself paying more than expected. Agree the budget and timescale in advance and be clear that you want the price for the web design set in stone, with agreed functionality and features included.

2. Do I need to get involved in the process?
Find out whether you or other members of your team need to take part. Will you need to put forward design ideas; what about page navigation? Do you need to take a proactive hands-on approach your will the web design company in Birmingham that you have chosen take full control of everything?

3. Where will the keywords for SEO come from?
Is this something that you will need to work on and research or will the web design company do all of this? Very often you might have an idea of what type of keywords prospective customers would use to find you. On the other hand, carrying out in-depth independent keyword research can bring to the fore a totally different set of criteria. Having the right keywords and phrases in place is essential if the right type of visitors are to find your site so make sure that you know who is in control of this from day one.

4. Who will write the content for the site?
Are you expected to produce it or will the web agency take care of this? Will they outsource the task to a professional copywriter or do you need to take responsibility for this? Whoever handles the copy, the words on your site need to be carefully and precisely written and directly related to your product or service.

5. Who will create the content for your blogs?
This also applies to blogs; if you use them on your site to attract browsers, make sure that you follow a list of set subjects that are relevant and interesting. Don’t forget that your copy should contain suitable keywords in order to take your site to the top of the search engine listings. Always get blogs professionally written, only writing them yourself if you have sufficient talent and expertise.

6. Your site needs to be fully responsive and viewable on all devices – will it be?
Make sure that your new site can be viewed on tablets, smartphones and desktops. This is a biggie as a large proportion of visitors to your site will be browsing on a mobile device. Failure to take account of this will mean that viewers will get frustrated and go elsewhere as instead of your site working perfectly on all screen sizes, they will be left panning in and out and scrolling, eventually giving up.

Remember that there is a huge difference between a mobile website and app development. You don’t necessarily need to work with an app developer or app development agency to build a mobile website as a web designer or mobile web designer will be able to do that for you with ease.

A mobile website is basically a website that is accessed through your phone’s web browser such as Chrome or Safari. A mobile app is a standalone application that is download to your phone, programmed in a completely different language and although the two can be designed too look very similar they are technologically worlds apart.

If you are working with a mobile app development company then they are likely not the right people to develop and design a mobile friendly website for you.

7. How will you be able to keep the new site content up-to-date?
This is essential if you are to keep your marketing and the content current. If it is possible for you to take control so that you can make the changes in-house, go for this option as with a user-friendly Content Management System in place, you can modify, add and delete when you need to. If any special skills will be required in order for your staff to do this, you can plan in any training or arrange to purchase additional software. Alternatively, if your chosen web design company in Birmingham are going to do this for you, what will they charge and how often will amends be made?

8. Will the new site be integrated with your current CRM system or any other back-office systems?
Again, this is critical as you don’t want to be entering data twice; when staff enter into forms on the website, this needs to flow through. Find out how your website design company is going to handle this integration and check that the cost is included.

9. Will the site be designed so that you can easily add new landing pages?
If you want to add regular blogs or new pages, this facility is paramount to success. You don’t want to go back to the web designer each time you want to add a page so check that you will be able to do this yourself without the aid of any additional technical resources.

10. Who will own the site once it is complete?
This may sound like an odd question but if you get a website built using a cheap hosting company, it may belong to them. This is a no-no so make absolutely sure that the site you are going for will be owned by you and only you.

Your website needs to not only look great but bring in plenty of new leads, working hard for you 24/7 whilst you are focusing on other things. Don’t get carried away and choose a web design company in Birmingham purely because their portfolio of sites looks amazing; your site has one goal only and that is to bring in plenty of customers on a constant and ongoing basis. If your chosen website provider cannot guarantee this will happen, they you may need to look elsewhere.

By asking these 10 essential questions of your web design agency before development begins, you will be getting off to a good start. This way you can make sure that there are no hidden surprises or unexpected costs that will rear their heads along the way and that all that you need is being taken care of.

Kicking off your website development is just the tip of the iceberg in the whole design, development and online marketing picture.

A key thing to keep in mind when working with a web development company is the difference between website design and development.

Web developers use a different side to their brain than website designers as if requires a different skill set – So it’s an idea to check and be clear on who designs and who develops your website as you ideally want a web development specialist than a 50/50 web designer/web developer.

Developing your website could take weeks or even months depending on the features that you require to be developed so it is important to keep that in mind and ensure it is in your plan.

Testing new website developments between your live and development website can sometimes be tricky – one great way to do this is to use a webhost that offers a staging server, this allows you to do all your new website development on a separate server and then push it live at the click of a button once you are ready to go live.

What may or may not affect you is whether your web design agency outsources or white label web development to other web design agencies.

Usually this isn’t a problem for clients as it allows you to get more expert resources on your project and it’s highly likely that your web agency would have been working with partners for many years so there shouldn’t be an issue with quality.

The only issues come when you are dealing with a sales office that just basically tender for projects and then find a company to outsource to without any prior relationship – So keep an eye open for that.