6 Things to Ask Before Signing a Web Design Contract

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Many business owners are thrilled with their newly designed web page, but it seems like just as many have horror stories. This turns many small business owners away from getting a professional website design that will make all the difference in their brand. Luckily, there are a few questions you can ask that will help you be another satisfied customer.

1. Will they incorporate your existing branding? This is the most important question you can ask, because a website that doesn’t go with your brand is worse than none at all. Some (rather unprofessional) web designers want to follow their own artistic spirit rather than giving you a site that meets your needs and caters to your target audience. That is why this should be the first question you ask.

2. What will the navigation structure look like? A poorly designed website will frustrate and confuse your prospective customers, but a simple, intuitive navigation structure prevents this. A professional website designer will be able to explain how your site will be designed, which will prevent it from having that thrown-together feeling that sends customers running. Alternatively, you could put a little but of thought into this and supply the web designer with a simple site map of your most important pages.

3. Can I add pages later? Some designers will design a website at a bargain price but restrict your ability to add pages and new elements. Instead, you will have to pay them inflated fees to do it. Once your website is complete and the check written out, you should have absolute control. Many web designers will go the extra mile and include a Content Management System that allows you to update without being a master of html.

4. Can I make global changes? This refers to the ability to make changes that affect every page. If you make subtle changes to your logo or want to adjust the colors a little, you should be able to do it in one simple move. There are ways of designing a website that make this easy, and a website designer should offer them. This boils down to standards compliant xHTML code and robust CSS implementation.

5. What interactive features are available? Modern people don’t want to merely read a website; they want to customize their experience, play games, interact with other users, and more. A good web designer can explain how your website will keep customers coming back. These things may cost a little more upfront, but they are worth the expense because they help customers identify with your brand.

6. Will it be search engine optimized? This is one of the most important questions you can ask. There are ways of designing a website so that relevant traffic is funneled there without even paying for advertising. This includes keyword placement, page descriptions, and submitting the page to search engines. A good web designer will offer you the option of having your page designed to bring as much traffic as possible with good website SEO practices (perhaps at an additional cost).

These six decisions can help you make an informed decision and know exactly what caliber of website you are getting for your hard earned money. Being informed is the key to being a good consumer. A legitimate website designer will be happy to answer your questions and put your insecurities to rest.