12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Web Design Company

Here's How to Weed Out the Amateurs

By Bailey Zumer

Shopping for a web design company? It’s hard to know where to start when you’re beginning a website redesign. If you’re stuck about what to ask, here are a dozen questions to get the conversation going.

12 Questions to Ask a Web Design Company

“Do you offer custom designs and template designs? What is the difference?”
If the web design company offers both custom and template designs, make sure to ask for and see both design options. What’s the difference? If you think of web design like you would a room renovation, a template is being able to change the paint color for the wall, ceiling, and trim. The structure is all the same. Make sure you understand the options of the design strategy you choose.

At LRS, template websites are quicker to launch and less expensive for our clients. But they’re less flexible when it comes to design changes. When you make the jump to a custom design, it’s like building a room from the ground up. You start with the foundation, but your imagination is the limit when the building begins!

“What are others saying about your services?”
Like buying any product, you want to hear from real people how well it works. It is nice to hear feedback from someone who has worked previously with the company. Check out the company’s online portfolio and case studies, because they are great examples of the company’s performance. If these resources aren’t online, ask for evidence, and do not hesitate to ask for references. Look at reviews on Google and social media. Reviews on Capterra are another great place to check when you are shopping.

We’ve got 25 years’ worth of customers to tell our tales! Find a sampling of reviews of our content management system, LRS Antilles, on Capterra.com!

“Tell me about your team dynamic.”
This is not a piece to overlook when shopping for a web design agency. The team dynamic is very instrumental to keeping your project on time and budget. Are projects completed in-house or are certain parts outsourced? Ask if there is a project manager and know how the group is set up.
Fewer team members may be cheaper, but it could affect meeting deadlines and workflow.

The LRS Team is a well-oiled assembly line of experts. We have teams for project management, web design, site construction, application development, and helpdesk. We will walk you through the steps of a website redesign and include you as part of the team!

“Do you offer services besides web design?”
Yes! At LRS, we call these services “Phase 2,” starting after a website redesign. For example, you could add a virtual tour, an interactive map, or an intranet? Perhaps you need a micro-site for a specific product or marketing campaign? How about ongoing SEO or marketing help? Do you need a new logo or other branding materials?

It’s wise to think of your website as an evolving part of your marketing that can grow with your company.
As new marketing needs arise in the future, it makes sense to partner with a website company that can offer advanced services.

At LRS, we have a big team because we also offer additional services to complement standard web development, including creative services, website hosting, website accessibility checks, and more. Ask yourself, do you want to have a variety of companies helping you, or do you want one point of contact, a one-stop-shop where you can develop relationships with the team over time?

“What industries do you have experience with, and do you specialize in one? What are some of the past examples you can show me in my industry?”
Having a web designer with diverse industry experience can be very valuable. Some web design companies have really targeted certain industries. While that can be appealing, remember that some great website ideas may come from a different industry! For example, a product component from a B2B agriculture company can be adapted to a retail website, a portfolio from an engineering firm could be implemented for a hospitality website, an enhanced company directory module from a bank could easily move over to a health care website.

At LRS, we’ll brainstorm the best elements from our 25 years of experience to adapt or create a solution that your company’s website needs. For example, could we adapt Chestnut’s immersive experience to your company?

“How exactly do I make changes to my website? (What Content Management System do you use?)”
Nowadays software used to manage websites are completely online (no more CD installations!) These website managers are called Content Management Systems (CMS), and this is one of the most important things to ask about when looking for a new web design company. While the free CMS companies are tempting, they’re often difficult to use, demand payments for advanced features, are hard to customize, and easy to “break” once you start adding lots of plugins. CMS options include WordPress, Joomla, and Wix, and no doubt have some attractive qualities. Just be sure to broaden your search to include other options too.

Here at LRS, we designed our own Content Management System, LRS Antilles. It’s an all-in-one platform that gives you a set of robust website modules included in the core components. Read our blogpost about how Antilles is better than Wordpress.

“Does your website company also offer hosting? What about DNS or SSL certificates?”
Sometimes you can get more for your money by working with a company that handles your web design and hosting. More importantly, they will make sure you have the correct hosting package for your business too!

Check out the LRS Hosting Services.

“When something in my website needs to be fixed, how do I reach you?”
Make sure you know how to contact the company when you need help. Don’t sacrifice personal attention for a cheap website design.

At LRS, we’re renowned for our ongoing support. Our help desk system allows you to work directly with a person, not a bot. Your ticket will be handled in minutes or hours, not days. You can log-in to the system and create a ticket, send an email with your action item, or call and receive assistance. Another thing to ask about is a warranty period for your website, and how the help desk bills you.

LRS Web Solutions has a 90-day warranty period after a site goes live.

“Can you help me make sure my website is accessible for people with disabilities?”
This one is a hot topic now. Because websites are ever-changing with photos, links, and content, it is a good idea to monitor your site and make sure you’re meeting accessibility standards. While no formal ruling has been published on accessibility, that does not mean you should push this to the back burner. Before you sign that contract, be sure to ask about a company’s accessibility standards and how they can help you maintain accessibility.

When we go live with a website, we ensure that website is accessible. In 2020, we partnered with a website governance platform, Monsido, to provide ongoing accessibility reviews and tools for our clients. 

“Can we build on my site in the future?”
If a web design company says no, that’s your sign to move on. Choose a platform that allows your website to change as your business grows.

At LRS, we are always working on new options for Antilles, and if we do not already offer it, chances are we can, or already have, built it for another client.

See how Conn Hospitality Group grew its website as its business expanded.

“What about SEO and Analytics?”
Are people finding your website when they type a search into Google? Do you know what website pages are popular and which ones need to be improved? This is where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and analytics are important to review and understand. It’s hard to make time in your workday to do this, so think about having someone send you reports and meet with you to show you how to keep your website in good health.

At LRS, SEO is built into the Pages, and we’ll add SEO to each page and show you how to do it. (Or watch a quick video.) We’ll also set up Google Analytics, teach you how to use it, and email a monthly report directly to you! We can continue to monitor your site and provide technical SEO fixes, ideas, and best practices for your website content. Remember that accessibility tool, Monsido, I mentioned earlier? It has SEO functionality too! 

“What is the process after I sign the contract?”
Don’t sign a contract unless you’re clear on the timeline, next steps, and what will be expected of your team. Understand the scope of work. 

At LRS, our process involves a lot of communication. After a contract is signed, we set up a meeting with you, the Project Manager, and UI/UX Expert to discuss the project and the process. See this infographic to better understand the LRS process.

Start Asking!

Hopefully, these 12 questions give you some solid talking points when you contact a web design company. Check out these blog posts to see how to get started on a website redesign.