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4 Questions to Ask before Hiring a Web Designer

Are you hiring a web designer to create a website for your business, or update your existing one? Make sure you ask this person some tough questions prior to signing any contract or forking over any of your hard-earned cash.

Before I give you the list of questions, let me explain why I’m writing this article today.

I met with a local service provider last week who is trying to compete against some major players in his industry. He just spent over $30K to revamp his website and was frustrated that he wasn’t getting the phone calls he expected.

When I looked at the website, the content itself was fine. But I saw right away that it was missing a key element.

Local Businesses Need Local Content on their Websites

The website contained barely any mention of the fact that this business was located in the Orlando, FL area. In order to attract customers who live in Orlando, as well as surrounding communities like Winter Park, Lake Mary, and Windermere, that information must be in the website copy and meta tags for the search engines to see.

The business owner also told me that his new website wasn’t mobile-friendly either. This shocked me because most consumers are using mobile devices to search.

local search stats

What’s worse, 57% of users won’t recommend companies with poor mobile websites.

I’m not sure where the communication broke down between this business owner and his web designer. The company is well-known in my area, and prides itself on building websites that generate leads for its clients. I suspect the biz owner just assumed the web designer was going to optimize his website for local search. But as my mother always told me, it doesn’t pay to assume, because you just make an ass out of “u” and me.

What to Ask Your Web Designer about Local Search

Here are a few questions you should ask to help you decide whether to hire a web designer or internet marketing company:

1. How will you optimize my website for local search?

The answer you’re looking for should include statements like this:

We will. . .

    Do keyword research for the terms you want to be found for.
    Write title tags and description tags for every web page you want a prospect to find you through search. Those tags will include cities and keywords related to your business.
    Write new (or edit) existing content to add geographic based terms
    Write new (or edit) local landing pages

2. What other steps will you take to ensure my website gets found by prospects in the cities I’m targeting?

The designer or marketer should say they will build your local search profiles, starting with claiming business directory listings in Google, Bing and Yahoo. They will add keywords, categories and descriptions to those business listings.

3. Do I need to be listed on review sites and if so, can you handle this for us?

The answer to this question should be, “Yes and Yes.” Here’s why:

A survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents who read online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions.

online reviews survey

The web designer should list, claim and build profiles for your business in these review sites:

    Yelp.com
    Insiderpages.com
    Citysearch.com
    Local.com
    Merchantcircle.com

    If possible, you should have a link embedded on your website that goes directly to Yelp, for example, to allow web visitors to read your reviews.

    4. If I want to edit the website’s content, can I do it myself?

    The answer will tell you a lot about the company you’re hiring. If they’re reluctant to let you edit the content of your own website, be very careful. When a designer builds a website on a platform that doesn’t have an easy customer interface, you’re going to wind up paying $150 an hour or more to get anything changed.

    This is one of the reasons why so many businesses have opted to have their websites built in WordPress. The platform is very easy to use. You don’t need sophisticated coding knowledge to be able to update content.

    I know this article was called “4 Questions to ask…” but there is one more important question to ask:

    5. Will my website be mobile-friendly?

    If the web designer wasn’t planning on the site mobile friendly or responsive – so it can be viewed across a variety of devices, ask why not. And if you dn’t get a good answer, find someone else. It is worth the investment to make sure your prospects can find information about your business on a phone or tablet.

    I’m glad I was able to educate this business owner about local search. I’m proud to say, he’s a new client. I’m looking forward to optimizing his website for local search, as well as editing his blog articles.

    If you are trying to reach a local market and you’re not getting the results you hoped for, contact me today for a free 30 minute internet marketing breakthrough session. We’ll come up with a plan to make sure you can accomplish your financial goals.

    Image courtesy: Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

About the Author
Gloria Grace Rand is an award-winning SEO blogger, former writer/producer for the PBS-TV news program, “Nightly Business Report,” and the owner of Web to Wealth Marketing. As an internationally known leading expert in internet marketing, Gloria develops innovative workshops and masterminds that help creative professionals and service providers improve their online visibility and profitability. She is also a Contributing Author of three best-selling books, “Unscripted: How Entrepreneurs Leap and Find Success,” “Conceived to Lead,” and “Connect: 100+ Mind-Blowing Strategies to Use Social Media and Drive Business Growth.”

2 thoughts on “4 Questions to Ask before Hiring a Web Designer”

  1. Your first questions seem more like marketing questions than design questions.
    Questions 4 and 5 are a given by a good designer.

    Most designers are capable of doing all of this stuff as it is not hard, it just takes time. The challenge is getting the clients to pay for the extra time it takes.

    I would think as a marketing expert you would want us to just recommend someone like you to handle the first three problems.

    • That’s a good observation. The company my client hired to do the website was an internet marketing company, so I suppose I probably should titled the article differently. I’d be happy to accept recommendations for work. 🙂

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