20 Questions to Ask Your Web Agency Before Hiring Them
April 29, 2022
SINGAPORE – Whether you’re building a new website or overhauling your current website — choosing the right web agency is a big decision. After all, the agency you choose will be responsible for designing and developing a website that will become the beating heart of your online presence.
Just like how you interview employees and partners to gauge their skills, capabilities and work ethic, preparing a list of questions to ask web agencies can help you choose the right candidate capable of delivering what you need. Here are 20 questions you have to ask web agencies before hiring them.
Every web development project starts with ground rules to establish costs, outline the scope, set project milestones and delivery deadlines. Make sure you ask these questions during the consultation to align your expectations with the prospective web agency.
1. What are your payment terms?
Besides knowing when payment is due and how it is structured, this question also helps you gauge the trustworthiness of your agency. Web development projects typically require an initial down payment, but no reputable company demands full price upfront.
2. How many revisions are allowed and what can be changed?
Revisions are a natural part of website development and most quotes will include revisions in their package price. To make sure that you’re on the same page, ask what kinds of revisions are allowed, how many times can you have something changed and at which stage of the project can you change it.
For example, will you be able to change your mind on the colour scheme after the project has begun? Are you allowed to add a certain number of pages to the scope of the project after you’ve signed the contract?
3. What is included in the package price? Am I able to pick and choose my website features?
It’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for and if you can customise the features on the website to meet your needs. This is also the time to ask if there are extra fees involved if you wish to add features outside of the web development package.
4. How long will it take and what are the usual causes of delay?
How long does it take to develop a website? This question will help you determine how quickly the company can deliver your website based on your requirements. The usual turnaround time for a custom website ranges from 6 to 8 weeks.
Ask your agency what are some of the usual causes of delays in their previous projects. So that you can temper your expectations and avoid anything that will push back the completion of your project.
Typically, you want the prospective web agency to have built websites for your industry, so they can better advise you on design trends and the types of content other industry competitors are including in their websites. Sometimes, your business also requires a unique website function or feature specific only to your industry.
Ask these questions to gauge if the prospective web agency has enough industry knowledge to create a website that meets your requirements.
5. Have you dealt with a business similar to mine?
Experience is valuable when it comes to building websites. While it is entirely possible for an inexperienced agency to do a good job, an agency with relevant experience in your industry will better understand what your business does and the functions your website needs to fulfil.
6. How do you do your research?
Web development is not simply slapping some features onto a website and calling it a day. Ask your web agency how they plan to create a website that makes it easier for your customers and how the features included in your package will help with that.
7. Which parts of the project are you outsourcing or doing in-house?
For the record, outsourcing does not always mean substandard work and high cost – in fact, a web agency may outsource work on your website if they need someone with a particular niche that can help with your requirements.
At the same time, you might be more comfortable knowing that your project is handled entirely in-house. Knowing which elements of your project are outsourced or done in-house can help you gauge expected response times to queries.
8. Do you have experience in e-Commerce?
E-commerce web development is an entirely different animal from pure content management websites. It involves payment gateways and requires robust security that can handle high volumes of traffic.
If you need e-commerce features on your website, you might want to seek a web agency with proven experience in e-commerce development to better protect your business and customers.
9. What do you need from me?
It’s your website, so your web agency will be asking for your company profile, product photos, content and logo files and other materials. Website development is a collaborative process, so knowing what you need to contribute ahead of time can help you prepare and make it a smooth process for all parties involved.
How They Deal With Business
Your web agency is going to be your partner as you’re building your website. It’s important to ask the right questions to get an idea of what working with them will be like so you can align expectations and have a great working relationship.
10. What is your process like? What are the steps to your website development?
This question gives you an overview of their web development process. Many agencies will have their development process laid out in stages with appropriate milestones for each stage. Use this chance to clarify any doubts you might have and understand how they will keep you in the loop of what’s happening with your website.
11. Will I be able to see progress? If there’s something I don’t like, how do we address it?
A good web agency will have implemented regular checkpoints in their development process to give you an idea of how the project is going at each stage. These checkpoints are a must-have to ensure that the website is headed in the right direction and to address any changes you might want to make. Any web development agency that doesn’t set aside room in their web development process to provide regular updates should raise red flags!
12. Can I reach out to your other customers for their testimonials?
When you work with a web agency you’re not just concerned about their output — you care about things like professionalism, trustworthiness, reliability, responsiveness and whether they’re a pleasure to work with. Ask your web agency if you can have testimonials from their former clients for an impartial review.
Don’t be shy about asking technical questions just because you lack any knowledge in the matter. You’re hiring a web agency for their expertise after all. Their ability to answer your questions and explain them in a way you can understand is a good gauge of how well they know their stuff.
13. What CMS are you using?
CMS stands for the Content Management System – the software platform that you will be using to upload content to your website. Popular CMS platforms like WordPress and Wix are user-friendly with a wide variety of 3rd party plugins to help you customise your website.
If you or someone in your team is familiar with a certain type of CMS, it can be worth going with a web agency that builds your website on the platform you are familiar with. This way, you will have an easier time managing your website.
14. Are you using a template or are you building from scratch?
Templates are useful if you want to build a website quickly and on a budget. If you have specific requirements for your website that cannot be replicated by templates, then you need a custom build that can take up more time and money. Make sure you clarify how the web agency will be building your website during the consultation process to manage your expectations.
15. How often will you update and maintain my website?
Once your website is up and running you want to keep it that way, especially if it is critical to your business functions. Most web development packages will come with some form of web maintenance services, like updating plugins or features essential to keep your website running optimally. Ask this question so you know when you can expect updates and how they will be performed and communicated to you once your website is live.
16. What is your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy?
SEO is the process of making your website search-engine friendly so it is more likely to appear on the first page of search results pages. Ask your web agency how they will consider SEO when building your website — at the very least they should help you create a site structure that makes sense so search engines will know which of your pages are the most important.
This is crucial as a robust SEO strategy can be the difference between a functioning website and a successful one that achieves its ROI.
Some web agencies continue working with you to maintain your website after it is launched, while others leave you to your own devices. If you are managing the website on your own, then you’ll need to know how to perform tasks like updating pages and reading analytics. Ask these questions so you are clear what your web agency will be doing to prepare you to handle your website before launch.
17. Can I update my site myself?
Asking this question gives you an opportunity to learn how to perform small fixes on your website so you’re not reliant on third-parties should anything go wrong. You also do not want to have to wait for the web developers to get back to you just to change little things. Check if the web agency provides user training before handing over the website, especially if your company’s team is not well-versed with the CMS.
18. Will there be Quality Assurance testing?
Your web agency should conduct quality assurance testing to ensure your website functions the way it should before and after launch. Ask this question to find out what tests they will be conducting, how they will be carrying them out as well as whether you will get to test the website yourself.
19. How can I check my website’s analytics?
The main purpose of your website is to make your business more profitable. To see if your website is doing its job, you need data. To enable analytics for your website, your web agency needs to help install a tracking code so Google can read your website’s data. Take this chance to have them run you through how to access your website’s analytics so you can be sure it is installed and working properly before launch.
20. Who owns the website?
Website ownership is not always straightforward, especially so for custom websites which can be made out of many different parts. It’s not unusual to run into problems with licenses or proprietary materials that a new web agency cannot retrieve because it is locked with your former developer.
Make sure you clarify who owns the domain registration, source files, style sheets and HTML to your website. At the same time, ensure you have access to your hosting account and back-end with full administrative rights.
Hiring a web agency can make your life so much easier, but you must be sure that they can meet your requirements to prevent a dream from turning into a headache. Your website is a crucial part of your business, so why not hire a competent, reliable and professional web agency to help you establish your online presence?
As Singapore’s most experienced web development agency with over 10 years of experience and 5,500 clients, FirstCom Solutions offers a range of web design and development services to help you drive leads and increase revenue.
Speak to a consultant today and let’s discuss how we can help develop your online edge.