Find out if you will be working directly with the designer. It’s often difficult to get your ideas across when they are relayed to the designer through someone else.

  • Make sure the domain name is registered to your name and email address and you have the login information for your hosting control panel, or you don’t actually own the website and there is no way to gain access to it. It’s best to purchase your own domain name to ensure ownership, but if you would rather not deal with it, I can purchase it and have it registered to you.
  • Find out how many websites a designer has created and look at their portfolio. Does there portfolio have actual websites you can go to or just photos of the websites?
  • Ask if they outsource their work. Many cut-rate web design firms are outsourcing their work to India! I get an average of two calls a week from companies in India wanting me to outsource my work to them so I can make a lot more money without having to do the work. I guess that sounds good to some people but my answer to that is “I happen to love designing websites”. What happens when these websites need updates and the India source is gone? I’ve heard some bad stories about being charged outrageous prices for updates or no response to emails.
  • Get a written estimate that details exactly what you are paying for.
  • Get references from past clients.
  • Ask if they will supply you with all original artwork and source files (i.e. Flash and Vector Art).
  • Get an estimated timeline for the start and completion of your project.
  • Ask if there are any monthly maintenance fees, and what the charges will be for future updates.
  • Make sure SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is part of the design process and not something they will add on later for an additional fee.