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    46 Replies Latest reply on Sep 15, 2009 1:55 AM by studio 525

    Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer

    pdmiller Adventurer

      Before you contact a web designer, you need to make sure that you know what you want and need for your website. Asking yourself the following questions will help you determine the direction your website will take. A good web designer will want to know the answers to these questions.


      1. What is the mission of your company?
      2. How will the website support that mission?
      3. What are your top goals for the website?
      4. Who is your target audience?
      5. What does your audience want from the website?
      6. What do you want from your audience?
      7. What strategies will you use to achieve your goals?
      8. How will you measure the success of your website?
      9. How will you maintain the website?
      10. How many pages will the website contain?
      11. What is you budget?
      12. What special technical or functional requirements are needed?
      13. What is the deadline for the website?
      14. Who will manage the process of development?
      15. Who are your primary content experts?
      16. Who will be the liaison to the web developers?
      17. Who will function as the long-term webmaster or site editor?


      These are very important questions that need to be answered before you begin contacting potential web designers. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of getting the website you desire.


      Patty Miller, owner


      Affordable Web Design and Graphic Solutions

        • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
          websolutions Tracker
          not bad, I like the list, very nice, thank you for sharing, education is key...
          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
            PVGuestCheck Adventurer
            I would add to this, "who controls the domain name?". My advice is to always keep the domain name in an account you control with a password the website designer does not have.

            I've had several clients lose websites because the web person took their domain name after a falling out.

            I agree with much of what Patty says, and I would add this thought.

            My most successful clients are the people who have answered many of Patty's questions in their business plan. They pull in the website as part of a fit with the business plan rather than what sometimes becomes a stand alone and separate part of the enterprise.

            This may sound like a small matter, and if it does you are one of those folks I am referring to, but it does matter. It is hard to match up with a company where you have a strong website but weak everything else. You want the site to add to your business within the structure of what you are doing.


              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                zolacat999 Adventurer
                well that would depend on what type of business you are surly good tips by the way
                • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                  Prophet Newbie

                  One should us all their resources at their disposal to make sure their perspective web designer isn't working from a motor home ;)

                  I must admit years ago when I got my first site I used a company for hosting only later to lose my data bases when the 20 year old from Grand Rapids had his servers repose for failure to pay ...

                  The biggest mistake I find most owners making is not knowing how to access their c-panel.

                  I tell our prospects the user name and pass word to thier site is just as important as their credit card and pin numbers.

                  Use Google earth there address, use a domain search to make sure they have been in business as long as they say they have. And best yet you can go 2 steps further with an OTIS criminal search, and a salesgenie search. This will insure you are not dealing with someone of low moral character.
                    • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                      PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                      LOL, I have a customer who sells mobile homes in a small Northern Michigan town. They had a web guy from another little town and dude forgot to pay the renewal on th website. Long story short the domain name went to auction and got picked up by a porn company. The owner gets a call one day....

                      I don't think everyone is from Michigan here, right? OTIS is Michigan's criminal record checking website.

                      I think all that is a little out of hand. Just check their recent work, actually call folks up.

                      The repossession that is hilarious. Lots of people think a web designer is a generic "computer guy" or "computer gal" We are not. In any event it is better to use a national company like GoDaddy. I resell for Godaddy and love them because we can set up an account for the customer, the customer can call their customer service who answers as if it were my company, and you'd need just about a global nuclear war to take out their redundant data centers for any period of time.

                      I know a guy in Traverse City who does his own hosting and if the power goes out, all his sites go out. Given how cheap GoDaddy, or Ipower, or Network Solutions can be it just makes more sense to me to use them and let them worry about the servers. Really in the end they give you lots of great support, more options for fun tools, as well.

                      The other side is don't go crazy and invade people's privacy. People reform, I have a few friends who've had trouble in their misspent youth and are awesome people today. Me, I am jealous, I missed out on a misspent youth! What was I thinking????
                        • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                          Hymesdesign Adventurer
                          Great list, I'll amlost guarantee some version of it makes it onto my site in the near future. Thanks for it.

                          As far as hosting I agree totally with the whole godaddy approach, why give yourself headaches to prove you know something about servers when you could just leave it to someone else who is almost undoutably more realiable than the old or even new computer in your basement.

                          Pointless post on my part but I wanted to express my appreciation of your list.
                    • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                      illusionaries Wayfarer
                      Another aspect of web design that should be carefully considered is does your target audience have all the necessary software and capability to fully view your website. Unfortunately, there a lot of unaffordable computerware out there and not eveyone has the latest. Don't be taken in by flashy presentations only to have you audience not capable of viewing it.
                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                        NatOnline Tracker
                        It is a good list, perhaps you should add that web designer need to know the SEO basics, if he doesn't it could be pretty hard to be known on internet.

                        My advise for anyone is to know very well your subject, read a lot from webmaster forums before building a website, or contacting a web designer.
                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                            PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                            Another good suggestion....You can check your website designer. Learn the basics. I put a link to what Google says about SEO above.

                            SEO is really far simpler than most people think. First thing, understand no one knows the algorytms the search engines use. If they make you are promise, run far away.

                            Second, good SEO, if it EVER works can take weeks and months to get right. If position is that important, use sponsored search. The "free" SEO may never come to pass and you are losing sales when you can put yourself at the top in minutes using sponsored search.

                            Third, SEO is sometimes a game people play. Smart SEO, as Google will tell you, is about putting out great content people can use. The last thing Google is going to put up with is Dr Doofensmirtz SEO company wrecking people's experience on the web by successfully placing manuipulated sites in first place. It really is all about building a great site with great content.


                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                Iwrite Pioneer
                                As a client, you should ask yourself:

                                "What is that one main message I want to communicate with my website that will resonant with potential customers or visitors to my website? Why should they care about what I am saying?"

                                The website can be the best designed with all the latest and greatest features, including the often over-hyped SEO, and not really speak to the human being on the other end of the web and never make a sale.

                                The original list is a great one, but you have to speak to people, especially on the web. There are too many websites offering the same things that many businesses are out here selling, often times it comes down to the message.

                                Build your brand before you build your website. If you don't know who and what your business is, how are customers suppose to know?

                                Nice thread and some really great advice.
                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                    PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                    I am going to disagree a bit here....

                                    One of the great things with the search engines these days is they look at each page individually.

                                    For example my company designs websites but we also sell custom guest checks. If you Google "custom guest checks" or "custom printed guest checks" I come up 2nd on the former search and 1st on the latter. However, if you look closely the URL (web address) is not the home page, it is the actual page for that product we offer.

                                    If you google just the words, "guest checks" we come up 2nd and 3rd (today anyway) and this brings you the home page and the page for the 1 part guest checks.

                                    What I tell my clients is we want to have that main message, but you also want to promote as much of the smaller messages as you can, and you promote them strongly.

                                    Iwrite says something I wish I could convey to every one of my clients, "you have to speak to people, especially on the web." What you put on the website when you build it is nice, but talk to people. Get a sense of what they want to see. From time to time we survey people on various sites and each time they surprise us with what they want to see.

                                    And this brings rise to the thing that irks me about SEO companies with all their promises. While you can perdict what some folks want to see on your site, there is just no substitute for asking your customers questions, getting them to be tough on your website and then updating the site to reflect more of what they are saying.

                                    I love the folks who suggest they know all the key words people will use to find a website. Again they just don't know. Web people can generate reports that will tell you exactly what keywords people use to find your website. You want to read those reports and use them to build your content.

                                    As an example I have a pizzeria, a small pint sized pizzeria, and we found out people would google, "1813 plainfield pizza" which is the street address followed by pizza. How they knew the address and not the name blew me away. Still we added that to the code and brought even more people.

                                    An example of a little manipuation of search terms for me is a restaurant I have called Malarky's. When I got the account I kept misspelling the name, "Malarkey's" adding that "e" before the y. I thought about it and wondered if others would do the same thing making a google search very hard. So we added the misspelled name in the code in the site. So today if you google "Malarkey's Grand Rapids" with the misspelled name you will still find the restaurant. AND the most common search term used to find the restaurant is, Marlarkey's Grand Rapids"
                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                        Iwrite Pioneer
                                        Ah, a discussion.

                                        I am not saying SEO is useless, simply over-hyped.

                                        Let's look at how people use the web, most people don't conduct "blind searches." They come to the web with an idea of where they are going. If I want pizza, I have three or four places I order from at the most or I'm shopping for clothes or a book or checking up on the happenings at church - I know where I am going. Most people do. I'm not going to throw out numbers because depending on the source, they may be bias to say the least (Google makes money off of searches do you really think their numbers reflect the true picture?) but the trend has been moving towards people going to less and less destinations on the web as they build their favorites.

                                        How does SEO work when you know where you are going?

                                        If you haven't heard or read a message off-line to encourage you to do a search, how do you know to do one for a specific item?

                                        SEO is part of the solution but not the entire solution. There are too many established brands with more buying power that means lower prices to leave the success of a company up to search alone. Notice the "alone" part please.

                                        In the presence of parity, a business needs to communicate a message, sure you can have smaller messages further into the site but you need a branding message to tie it all together and set your business apart.

                                        I don't think we disagree too, much as a matter of fact I agree with a lot of what you have written. I recognize that SEO can deliver real results but so can direct mail, radio, PR, print, broadcast and interactive advertising. Leaning on any one alone places a business in a dangerous position.

                                        I have a client who has a new product no one has ever heard of, her target is small because it is an industry specific product. Her best way to reach potential customers is off-line through industry shows and conventions, sales calls and direct mail. Will her website take into consideration SEO? Yes, but the main focus of her marketing dollars should be in what is best for her business.

                                        The focus of this question was what do you need to answer before hiring a web designer, I thought. I noticed that no one was talking about brand or voice, and that is always a mistake.

                                        And people, the "human" thing is huge!!! Most people will pay your price if they like you or feel that you respect them. A strong branding message can go a long way to helping with that.

                                        PVGuestCheck, thanks for the exchange. This is fun.
                                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                            PVGuestCheck Adventurer

                                            I strongly agree with much of what you have said.

                                            The first thing I say in a sales meeting is the web site is not a magical thing. Building a website is a part of your business like everythning else and you want to manage it just like any other part of your business. As a web design guy I am not some kind of demi-god you should let do whatever I want because I know it all. You built that business and the things that make it successful should be what I follow.

                                            And you are totally right on advertising. The website for most small businesses, mine included, is not the primary advertising tool. If you are advertising in the paper, with Val Pak, on cash register tapes, on your vehicles, or whereever I think you want to look at the website as backing up these other tools. Any web guy who does the age old pitch telling you he or she has the solution that will change your businses is just tossing you a pitch.

                                            I can compare google numbers to actual server numbers they are pretty right on. I use Google Analytics which is free and separate from their sponsorerd search. It tells me traffic from everything, including Yahoo, MSN and other search engines. It really is a wonderful tool and it is free. It has some 80 different reports so you can see everything from a map of where people are coming from to the words they googled to get to the site.

                                            SEO is really, in the whole, a massive scam on people not keeping control of their web presence. I cannot see any reason when the site is designed that the web person would not inlude this as part of building the site, and the good people who do this are drowned out by all the scammers telling you what they can do.


                                            I agree with you about "blind seaches" although someone who is travelling may do this so in tourist towns it is important.


                                            You ask how SEO works when someone knows what they want...My main guest checks competitor is a huge manufacturer called National Checking. Many restaurant folks order National Guest Checks. I use their name throughout my site to compare our products to theirs.


                                            Now what I have found is tons of people do not enter a web address in the address bar, they will google what they are looking for...So if you Google, "National Guest Checks" guess who comes up under their name? And what is best about that is they sell to people like me and you cannot buy from their site. Needless to say we pull in a fair amount of traffic from people looking for National Checking and we beat all their sellers because they don't keep up on their sites.

                                            I agree on the branding, I guess what I would say is make your Brand huge, as big as possible, and then make the other messages as strong as possible. This is one thing I got myself caught in, doing websites and selling guest checks and related stuff. We have a split brand, now we are stuck with being known for two very different brands....Good and bad to it because we do have lots of restaurants and seem to attract them from all over.

                                            And will reitereate Iwrite and say the "human" thing is huge. I have built my website design company on cold calling and referrals. Very few of our sites come from the website referrals.

                                            Great stuff Iwrite!


                                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                Iwrite Pioneer
                                                I guess we are preaching to the choir. You and I understand this but read a lot of the post on here concerning SEO and you will see that folks are being mislead.

                                                I was talking more in general than directly at anyone. I have been doing advertising for too long and nothing sets me off like so-called advertising people who push a one size fits all approach. As the person who started this post points out, each business needs to evaluate what they need their website to do before talking to a designer.

                                                I do have a question: in the example you gave where people are entering the address in the search box, does ranking really matter? I mean, if you enter specific information like an address doesn't it narrow the search and move the business up no matter what their ranking is?

                                                I always wondered about that.
                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                    PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                    Does ranking matter? Yes and No....Many of the SEO people tell you what search words to use and then are excited when (if) they get you to the top. The question they often fail to ask is, "What search terms do the people using the site enter when they search?"

                                                    First this...

                                                    When you do a great job telling people what you do and what you are about you can go back to your statistics reports and find out all the obscure terms people are using and build in more content to those search terms. What you end up with is glidepath that follows the users of the site. I find this is far more effective than the experts telling you what people use to find sites. I would never have thought of the address, street and city for that pizza place, but as I add content I keep in mind what people are doing on the site.

                                                    Now keeping in mind a better way to do it, is it all that important? Sometimes. I have a concrete contractor and let's face it he does not get much business from the web, and these days he isn't. We still do the best for him, but he uses the site to show people his work. In his case ranking is not too important.

                                                    For my guest checks it is super important. Our rankings is worth about $1000 a month in brand new clients...Having said that keeping the old ones is even more important and that is good old fashioned taking care of people.

                                                    Of course with my site with all we sell we are really talking about many rankings and many possible search terms.
                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                    NatOnline Tracker
                                                    Interesting discussion and what this forum is about, sharing views and experiences!

                                                    I will say that a website needs to be designed for both people and search engines. You can't have one without the other.

                                                    Too often, the web designers concentrate their efforts on the design, perfect coding, and not enough on SEO structure. Once you've got a good base (design and SEO structure) you can start from there to work on your company marketing messages, articles, product descriptions, etc. Then the other very important parts off site are branding and marketing.
                                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                        PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                        Nat what Google tells everyone is do the basics right and build the site for your audience. Lots of great content.

                                                        As a website designer who also sells guest checks, napkin bands and receipt paper from my website I have pretty decent rankings. Every single customer I have has a link on every single page of their sites back to my, so you are talking a few thousand links back to my site. I work my own site almost daily.

                                                        Your focus should be 10% search engine optimization....Follow the best practices....90% is work your site to give the greatest value to your visitor. The whole point Google keeps making to people is build your site for your visitors. Google does not want the best manipulators coming up first, they want the best information to come up first.

                                                        If coming up first is important at the start then pay Google for it! You'll be there instantly, but really focus on building great content!

                                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                            SamNam Wayfarer
                                            Hi Patty,

                                            Thanks for the list, it's very helpful....

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                                            • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                              Unique_Genius Wayfarer
                                              thank you for sharing this info. Very helpful
                                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                Websites_R_Us Wayfarer

                                                Good questions to ask. So often, I have clients that don't know the questions to ask because they do not understand the importance of a website. Website owners fail to realize that a website is often the first (and only) representation a "potential customer" has of a business. They tend to have the website designed for their convenience instead of the convenience of the customer or website visitor.
                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                    PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                    I am not sure I agree with that thought. I think too often use web folk tend to "know it all" and do too much direction of the website.

                                                    I think we get lots of great content in the site, then watch how it is used. I really start out assuming nothing. Then we talk to visitors, check the reports and develop in the direction the users take us by adding more detailed information to meet the users needs.

                                                    Not sure that makes a lot of sense, it is more of a philosophy, follow the users.
                                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                        Websites_R_Us Wayfarer
                                                        I agree to an extent -- web designers DO NOT know it all, just like all professions, we can always continue learning. However, a web designer is hired for their expertise and experience. They dont know it all but they should be better informed than their customers so that they can provide guidance, quality service and a quality product.

                                                        Web design is subjective, and the opinion is in the eye of the beholder. No two websites are the same, and both design and functionality should be an ongoing process. The bottom line to me is, does the website work for the customer as well as the owner and does it have the voice of the company and demonstrate the professionalism desired. Have the goals been met? If not, what do we need to change.

                                                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                            Iwrite Pioneer
                                                            Now you're talking!!

                                                            Websites_R_Us, I think there is a misconception of what a designer or art director is and does and should do when creating a website. A designer/art director is not a programmer. And I don't think they should be, they are two entirely different jobs.

                                                            "Functionality" is a term that I don't hear that often here. People are concerned with SEO and page placement and totally ignore the importance of "user experience."

                                                            There are things we can argue about all day long but anything that makes the visitors to your website work harder to find what they are looking for or figure out their way around your site is bad. The web is evolving at an amazing rate and to continue to throw up webpages crammed with tons of information, screaming at folks like bad used car salesmen is not the best use of a website. How many of you would shop at a brick and mortar store with no decoration that was stocked full of product and hard to walk around, and salespeople constantly asking you to buy something? Then what makes you think people will enjoy a poorly designed website?
                                                            • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                              PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                              Being the dominate company in the market I tend to be the target for the new guys coming on. They make their pitch by starting out telling my clients how dumb I am. Oddly enough they come with knowledge and promises that, upon reflection, really show their lack of connection with the people they want to sign on with them.

                                                              My message is always that our job is to compliment what the business is doing now. Business owners are wary of the sales guy who comes in and tells them how much they need their services and how much their businesses success will depend on the service or product they are peddling. Most of us dismiss these people. We know our success depends on how much hard work we put into our business, not the next person showing up to save us with their product or service.

                                                              Yet, oddly enough, the web person who shows up with a similar pitch is given a certain deference. The only reason for it is he/ she knows about technology and the business owner feels inadequate.

                                                              The bottom line, for me, is we want to follow the direction of the company while providing options and opportunities to the owner. We want to explain the options and opportunities leaving the decision to our customer.
                                                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                zolacat999 Adventurer
                                                                yea i agree that they are different jobs, but when making a website for a customer i always tend to advise them because more often than not they are unsure and im sure that you'll agree after designing sites for so long you sort of get an idea of what looks good.
                                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                    Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                    The question we are talking about is: "Are we order takers, executing what the client mandates or we advisors, delivering the client a solution that meets their needs but may or may not be what they were expecting?"

                                                                    I position my business as advisors, it is where my experience lies. There is nothing wrong with being either but the client deserves to know what you are. The expectations that comes with each is different.
                                                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                        PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                        Yeah, I am not sure I can agree with your business advisor position.

                                                                        I bring a lot of experience to the table, but I can never assume my fund of knowledge is superior to the client's experience as the owner of their own company.

                                                                        I prefer to present options and opportunities. It is a matter of educating the client, if I am good at helping them understand what I am thinking, it allows them to weigh that against their own objectives.

                                                                        My premise is that I do not possess the total best perspective on my client's business. I have found many times discussion has led to changing my mind, and there have been occassions where the client did not follow my advice and I can look back and say the client was correct.

                                                                        I was willing to educate and let the client use my services the best way they knew.
                                                                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                            Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                            That's okay that we disagree, it makes for better discussions.

                                                                            It doesn't have to be one or the other, I take into consideration what the client wants but I also understand how to take a product description and turn it into a consumer benefit. And isn't that what the client wants? Someone to convert their information into a message that speaks to consumers.

                                                                            No one said they "possess the total best perspective," but I am not the companies cheerleader. I take an objective look at the client's business and ask the hard questions. I don't accept and convey claims without support. Those who do are responsible for people believing advertising is nothing but lies. My client come to me wanting to market their business better, that is different than wanting a website or tv commercial. And it requires a different skillset.

                                                                            I know my body better than anyone else, I live in it 24/7 from the day I was born but I can't pretend to go to the doctor and tell him or her what is the best treatment for me. Advertising professionals are for lack of a better term, image or marketing doctors. Clients come to us with a condition (some life threatening, other not so serious) and they want us to help with the treatment. Do we listen to them? Yes. But it falls upon us to take in the information and formulate the best course of treatment. We are a service industry.

                                                                            This is not all one way or the other. It depends on the client, but from your example aren't you doing more than fulfilling an orders?

                                                                            In the end, the decision rests with the client but my job is to present them with the best options. There is no right or wrong to this discussion, simply different ways of doing business.

                                                                            Isn't this fun.
                                                                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                                I disagree because your persective always bring you back as the person who knows best. Your approach begins and ends with you, mine begins and ends with an informed client. If I have informed the client to the best of my ability then they remain the decision maker and more comfortable standing up to anything I may present. This keeps me on my game.

                                                                                As an example, I am a reseller for GoDaddy. Through this platform we can set up accounts for each client we have. They retain control of their domain name and hosting account. While they do not possess the skills or software to work the website I feel this addresses two key issues. First, in our industry there are lots of web people who get annoyed with clients and refuse to give up the domain name when someone new comes along. I heard about it and had to bring in lawyers to deal with it for clients. Second, it answers the question I sometimes get, "What happens to my website if you get hit by a bus."

                                                                                My creating client accessbile accounts with customer service serparate from us we gave everyone more confidence across the portfolio. Sometimes clients even go into their accounts and look around to see what's there; then I get phone calls. We've lost a few people because we'll have a conversation about something and they need to test out their power to get rid of me, but these tend to be problem clients.

                                                                                This does bring tension, an empowered client asks hard questions, and sometimes I have to go find the answer....Yet in the end it forces me to do a better job.

                                                                                Not a big fan of the doctor analogy...The problem with the doctor analogy is our business is always changing. There are good people, but the best are the folks who learn and teach, in my humble opinion.


                                                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                    Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                                    You reading something that I haven't said. I say I talk with the client and ask questions, which means there is plenty of feedback and answers. How does that make me the one who knows best? It means I do my research. How is that a bad thing? I make no apologies for knowing my craft, that's what I'm paid to do.

                                                                                    We are comparing different services. I don't own a web design company, I own an advertising agency - I freely admit that there is a difference. I take a long view with my clients, our relationship is extended over a period of time and includes helping develop and grow marketing strategies.

                                                                                    This is why I said early that client expectations is important. My clients expect more from me than a website. This is not a slight on what anyone else does, it is my business model. I respect what anyone else does with their business, that is their choice. I decided this is the best path for me. No judgement there. Do your thing.

                                                                                    For me, the doctor analogy works pretty good. But different strokes for different folks.
                                                                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                        PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                                        Ehhhh. I disagree....It is less about what you do than how you approach your work. I think you set yourself up when you see yourself as a doctor when you are the advertising firm. As a business owner I expect vendors to bring me the best information they have so I can make a decision. It is hard to want to hire someone who sees their decision making skills for my company as superior to my own.

                                                                                        You are coming across that way to me.
                                                                                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                            Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                                            I figured as much but that's cool.

                                                                                            Is your accountant or lawyer a vendor? If either one of them tells you not to do something do you ignore them and do what you want?

                                                                                            I know marketing and advertising look easy to do but if it is that easy then why are so many businesses struggling with successfully marketing their business? Too many people who know more than the professionals. Because you know a program doesn't mean you know marketing and advertising.

                                                                                            Do me a favor, go back over my posts and see if I ever said I know the client's business better than they do? I didn't say that. I do know advertising better than them, it is what I do.

                                                                                            Also notice that I never said what you come across to me.
                                                                                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                                                Absolutely, both my lawyer and accountant do as I do, they offer their best advice and I make my call.

                                                                                                I am not addressing your knowing your business, where I disagree is the view that what comes from you is superior. My lawyer is my advocate, she does not place her judgement as superior to mine. This is where you blow it because this view takes in less information to add to your what you know from the client's point of view.

                                                                                                I do not think marketing and advertising is easy, quite to the contrary.

                                                                                                I think if you have a lawyer who says, "do this" because I am the lawyer is not giving me the oppotunity to make my best decisions.
                                                                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                    Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                                                    I didn't say that. Please read my posts again, I said I ask questions, which means I talk with my client before giving them my recommendation. Did I say I simply tell them I know best and go from there? No. You build websites and I build advertising campaigns, they are not the same thing. The process is not the same and neither is the outcome.

                                                                                                    I think you are reading between the lines.

                                                                                                    You really believe that your lawyer or accountant don't believe they know the law or accounting better than you? I will stick to my doctor analogy because it works for me. It still is working. It helps me weed out the clients that I do and do not want to work with.

                                                                                                    You are right. There I said it. You know more about your business than I ever could. Okay?

                                                                                                    This has gotten so far off subject that it is a shame.
                                                                                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                        PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                                                        My point and you keep reinforcing it is you come across as suggesting your opinons are superior by comparing your advice to that of a lawyer, doctor or accountant. I've owned a business for more than 20 years and, yes, I was the guy running the advertising. You support my concern by trying to dismiss me as not being experienced. Don't you get it? You keep coming back showing why you are smarter than I am. It got across to me a long time ago.

                                                                                                        The President of the United States is not an expert on everything. He has to get advice from people and he makes the decisions. Those people respect their role in the process is subordinate to the President. I miss the sense of being suborinate to the people you work for, I see no evidence of it.

                                                                                                        There are times I get second opinions from lawyers, accountants and certainly doctors.

                                                                                                        I honestly understand you are missing what I am saying, and if you really want to get it, you want to go back and reread. Show it to your friends...I get what you are saying, I just fundementally disagree with you.


                                                                                                          • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                            Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                                                            I agreed with you. Why are you still going on?
                                                                                                              • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                                PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                                                                I had something to say? Is there a reason you get to decide when I am done?
                                                                                                                  • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                                    Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                                                                    Funny, I had the same thought about you trying to tell me how I should run my agency.

                                                                                                                    Your agreeing or disagreeing with me is of little concern to me.

                                                                                                                    You don't like the way I do business, fine, don't spend money with me. Oh wait, I didn't ask you to be a client. Nor will I.

                                                                                                                    So, we are good. This is one area where we disagree. I have also agreed with you on other posts. Such is life.

                                                                                                                    Here, you can have the last word. Swing away.
                                                                                                                      • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                                        PVGuestCheck Adventurer
                                                                                                                        I suggest a philosophy that I find works for me...Client's interests first through collaboration. If you want to extend my opinon to a judgment of your business I think you only make my point.

                                                                                                                        Bottom line is my philisophy allows what can be tough discussion...I wonder if your model allows such discussion, or if the owner must first bow to her adveritsing guy...
                                                                                                                        • Re: Questions you should ask before hiring a Web Designer
                                                                                                                          studio 525 Adventurer
                                                                                                                          If I were a business (and I am), the number one question I would ask before hiring a web designer is what kind of specific sales results do you get for your clients. This doesn't seem to be a question that's asked much. Or maybe it's never answered.

                                                                                                                          Most good web designers have great technical and design skills, but they don't have the sales, marketing and copywriting experience to get good sales results on the web.

                                                                                                                          Case in point. I just finished re-writing several web pages for a new client. The client had just had his website completely redesigned by a leading web development company only one year ago. It looked great. But conversions didn't improve much. They were still way under 10%. After I finished re-writing the Home Page, Newsletter Page and creating a new Special Report as an incentive, results improved dramatically.
                                                                                                                          1,875% increase in Newsletter signups.
                                                                                                                          1,250% increase in Seminar Enrollments.
                                                                                                                          909% increase in Phone Consultations.
                                                                                                                          And 688% increase in sales.

                                                                                                                          We're not online magicians or miracle workers. We're just people who understand how to market and sell online. From the experience of our clients, many web designers and developers just don't understand how to do this. So our results seem very impressive.

                                                                                                                          The most important question I'd ask anyone who creates a website for you is what kind of solid business results can you promise me and what evidence can you show me of similar results for your other clients. With Google Analytics, all this is available. We take full responsibility for our results. If we don't improve sales results, you don't pay us. It's that simple.

                                                                                                                          Just my opinion. But what good is a beautiful website that doesn't help your business?

                                                                                                                          If you want to make sure a web designer is going to help your business, why not give them a Free copy of our e-book The Complete Online Sales System: +5 Proven Steps That Turn Your Website Into A Powerful Sales Magnet+? Ask them to make sure they follow all 5 steps. You can download the e-book for free on our website. Here's the url

                                                                                                                          In my opinion, too few clients seem to be asking about sales results. And isn't that what really counts?


                                                                                                                          Peter Cutler
                                                                                                                          Principal / Creative Director
                                                                                                                          Studio 525

                                                                                                                          We don't just create websites.
                                                                                                                          We create results.