10 Questions to Ask a Web Designer, Web Developer or Website Design and
The following is a list of questions to ask your website development partner.
The purpose of this line of questioning is to identify any potential red flags
before it is too late. The website development industry is littered with
failed projects. The best way to become one of the statistics is to do
your homework up front.
Remember the goal of a website project is to have the following three
elements match up as closely as possible:
- What you think you are buying
- What your website designer thinks they are selling
- What your website designer actually builds
The biggest single key to success in a website project is allocating the time
to go through the planning and discovery process. This process will help
you narrow the gap between #1 and #2 above. The second key is to police
the process to verify that #3 above (the end product) matches #1 and #2 above.
Finding a company or individual who has extensive experience in doing this will
help a lot. Here are some questionst hat will help you find that company.
Setup Pricing Questions
- Do you have a standard, published way to estimate website projects?
What is it?
- Can you give me a line item breakdown of your setup fee / initial
- How much of the total price is for graphic design work?
- How much of the total price is for functionality (software) development
- How much of the total price is for content (preparation and loading)?
Ongoing Pricing Questions
- Can you give me a breakdown of the total cost of ownership I will have the
- How much am I paying for hosting?
- How much am I paying for software licensing, maintenance, and support?
Is is a flat fee or hourly?
- How much I am paying for ongoing content changes? Is is a flat fee
- Do you have a documented, repeatable process to plan and build websites?
Give me a written overview of the process?
- Have you built websites like the one you are proposing to build for me?
- Can you provide 5 website addresses of website you built like the one you
are proposing to build for me?
- Can you provide 5 references from companies you have built website for?
- How many software driven websites have you developed?
- Can you give me a list of at least 20 websites you have built?
- How will I report and track issues / trouble tickets?
- What are your office hours? How can I get issues resolved after
- If you (the primary contact) decides to not do website development
anymore, who will support my website?
- How do you handle versioning of your software? Am I forced to take
version upgrades? Do I have access to version upgrades?
- Who owns the Intellectual Property rights to the software in my website
(note: If they are assigning the rights to you - normal logic would think that
is a good thing... but in reality it is a huge red flag... in nearly every
case... it means that the software will be very feature poor and that you will
be the person / company forced to de-bug it)?
- Is the website portable (i.e. can I move it off of your system)? Who can
host the website?
- Will I get the benefit of other customers investing in future upgrades of
the software used to run my website (i.e. features added)?
- Is the software customizable (i.e. can I pay for custom modifications to
- Is the website scalable? What is involved in making changes?