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February 21, 2014

Questions Clients Should Ask Web Design Firms

Web design is possible from so many different avenues these days that it can be hard to know what to look for. I’ve put together six critical questions you should be asking of any Web design company when you are asking for a proposal.  All six elements are likely missing from DIY platforms, in case you were wondering.  So, what are the six questions companies should ask Web design companies when looking for a proposal?

Make sure you ask these questions before you get a Website proposal

1.   How are you going to optimize my Website for search engines?
Having your Website programed in a way that makes it easy for search engines to do their job is important. There are best practices that should be followed when building a Website. Ask the firm what on-page SEO tactics are they going to use in developing the content for your site?

2.   Are you going to use HTML5 semantics to structure the pages?
Following HTML5 semantics gives your site the best chance to render properly on modern browsers. HTML5 also gives the search engines a clearer picture of your Website; it’s cleaner code, easier for robots and humans to understand with elements such as <header> and <nav> instead of non-descriptive <div> tags. HTML5 has also made a big difference to the at least 15.5 million potential internet users with hearing or sight impairments.

3.   Are you going to use Microdata?
Microdata is most useful for businesses that can help their search results page listing stand out and be more valuable than their competitors. For example, a local bakery can include Microdata in their Website that displays the store’s hours on a search page. This saves the potential customer time and hassle of calling to find out the hours. Microdata also helps search engines understand the Web page’s content, which in turns helps the search engine do a better job delivering the best results to every search. This in turns helps the site in the long run.

4.   How are you going to make my site responsive?
Websites today are seen on all kinds of devices and screen sizes. TVs, laptops, smartphones, monitors, tablets. Giving each visitor a delightful experience has to be part of the Website deliverables. And that means making sure the site is understandable and useable on the most popular devices and screen sizes today. Be sure to have in writing which screen resolutions your site will be designed for. Keep in mind the more screen sizes the site is designed for the more programming time is needed, which in turns equals a higher budget.

5.   Which operating systems are you going to ensure my site works on?
Just making the site’s layout fit into a certain size screen is half the battle. The other half is making sure your Website is compatible with the major operating systems of today. OS X, Windows, Android, and iOS. Get this in writing. This will affect the budget.

6.   Are you going to build my site with Google Analytics goals in mind?
If you’re wanting to set up goals to track a Website measurement plan like how many users downloaded a white paper for example, you can save yourself some money by making sure your designers have a page the user lands on after downloading that pre-sales activity. For example, if you have a javascript overlay for confirmation that a user downloaded a key metric, tracking this download is a bit more tricky than if you have a “thank you for downloading” page.

Do you have an experience to share – maybe another tip to keep in mind from your experience? Please share them below in the comments.


  1. What marketing concepts will be incorporated into my website?

    What security measures will be built into my website?

    A far more useful question then #4... Do you build both responsive design and mobile websites?

  2. Thank you Mr. Ramthun for commenting on our post! We agree that there could be a big difference between a mobile Website and a responsive Website for mobile. We visit mobile Websites and responsive Websites on a client by client basis...depending on their business needs. What kinds of security measures would you be interested in having for the general brand awareness Website?

  3. ...And much more... E.g.: How will the design respond to the objective I have set for my new website? How will you account for the user's journey, user experience, how will you ensure the user will click where I want them to click? How will the design incorporate emotions? How will design respond to the specific target market? ...

    1. Thank you Ms. Giusca for contributing to the post. I agree with your questions focused on design. We too have a user-centric design process that involves the target users early and often. Have you had experience with design sprints?