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Which Questions to Ask a Web Design and/or Marketing Firm



photo-1416339684178-3a239570f315Sadly, we’ve had several clients come to us after having a poor experience with other designers and marketers. It’s sad because they’ve been ripped off and treated poorly.

It’s happy, because we get to help them and make things right.

So, whether you’re in the middle of a project with a firm you’re not too pleased with, or you’re considering a firm, here are the questions you need to ask:


Questions for Web Design Projects:

  1. How long will the project take?
  2. How much will the project cost?
  3. When can I expect to see the first draft?
  4. Will the site be mobile responsive?
  5. Will you meet with me to kickoff the project?
  6. Who owns my domain and/or hosting?
  7. What happens if the site breaks, is hacked or malfunctions?


  1. How long will the project take?

Any design firm you go with needs to provide a project timeline of some sort. You need to know when to expect the project to be finished and reasonable benchmarks along the way.

You need to ask whether any deductions will be made if the project goes longer than planned.

The firm needs to communicate the timeline so you know how long to wait and when to expect parts of the site to be completed. Asking this question opens you and the firm up to communication about completion—this holds everyone responsible!


  1. How much will the project cost?

Of course, this is a huge factor in your decision-making process. You need to know exactly how much the website design is going to cost and you need to sign the quote or contract. This locks you and the firm into a confirmed price without the possibility of the firm tacking on extras at the end.

Ask the firm to pay half (or a smaller portion) up front, but wait to pay the reminder once you’re satisfied with the work. This will hold the firm accountable to finishing everything.


  1. When can I expect to see the first draft?

This goes along with the project timeline. The firm does not need to send you the first draft at the set finish date. You need to see the first draft prior to the end date. When you see the draft, you’ll probably find adjustments that need to be made and that’s part of the process.

Also, if you see the first draft sooner than later, you can determine whether the design is headed in the right direction or not.


  1. Will the website be mobile responsive?

You MUST ask this question. Today, you should never accept a website design that isn’t mobile responsive. Just this year, Google made mobile responsiveness a ranking factor for its search engine. Bottom line – must be responsive.

Say no to anything that’s not!


  1. Will you meet with me to kickoff the project?

It’s a must around here at Genesis that we meet with all incoming clients. Why? First, because we like to get to know our clients. Second, we want to know how to better serve you and your business.

The design firm you choose must have some sort of kickoff meeting. You need time to go over the scope of work and the overall concept. If the firm doesn’t have a kickoff meeting, then you can expect they don’t care too much about you personally. Instead, they’re more about making money.


  1. Who owns my domain and/or hosting?

If you’ve had a website in the past, then you probably own and maintain ownership of your own domain and hosting, or your previous provider does.

If you’re just now developing a website, then we’d recommend getting your domain yourself. Then you can pass along the details to your design firm and they can upload everything correctly.

You can get hosting on your own, but it might be easier for you to go through the firm. Although, you need to sign a contract saying that the website files are yours and not theirs. This is to protect you in the event the firm holds your website hostage (and yes this has happened!).


  1. What happens if the site breaks, is hacked or malfunctions?

This is a crucial question as well. Here at Genesis, we’ll repair anything that breaks on a clients’ site—current or past client. However, not all firms are as nice. So you need to ask them if they’re responsible for breaks, hacks or malfunctions.

Many will fix your site if something breaks, however, many will not fix a hack.

Again, you need to double check this because a break or hack in the future could destroy your business.



Questions for Online Marketing Projects:

Just like the web design questions, you need to ask about cost, project timeline, kickoff meeting, and a few others:

  1. Is it one-size-fits-all or custom?
  2. Do you provide regular reporting?
  3. Which platforms are you promoting me on?
  4. Can I see the work – ads, content, etc.?


  1. Is it one-size-fits-all or custom?

Some marketing companies only do one-size-fits-all type of work. Typically your large firms because they’ve gotten so large.

You don’t want that sort of work. Your business is unique and will flourish in some areas rather than others. The marketing firm you pick needs to know your business and tailor its strategy to you.


  1. Do you provide regular reporting?

The worst marketing is the marketing you can’t view metrics on. The marketing firm needs to provide you with regular reporting (weekly or monthly) in regards to website traffic, leads, conversions, followers, etc. – based on your particular campaign.


  1. Which platforms are you promoting me on?

Again, not all online platforms fit your business the best. For example, a client came to us for help and their previous marketing firm was spending a bunch of money on Facebook. The problem = they are a B2B (business-to-business) company and their audience isn’t particularly on Facebook. They needed to be active on LinkedIn.

Make sure you get feedback on where your business is being promoted.


  1. Can I see the work – ads, content, etc.?

You should never, ever be in the dark. We send our work to clients for approval unless they’ve stated otherwise.

Review the ads the firm is running for you. Take a look at all of the content they’re generation. Provide feedback. Help them market you better. And if they’re not showing you much, it’s because they’re not actually producing anything. So ask!


Okay, take all of these questions with you as you begin new projects or are in the middle of current projects. Hold your design and marketing firm accountable for what you’re paying.

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