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I never know how to pick them...

Watermelons, that is.

I'm the type that walks into H-E-B, sees a watermelon...

...knocks on it (because that's what you do, right?)...

...puts it in the cart and whisks it on home with no further inquiry. None the wiser if the watermelon is sweet or not.

In reality, I don't know what I'm looking for...or what questions to ask the produce guy to pick the right one. It's always a shot in the dark.

But that's ok.

I don't have to be a watermelon connoisseur. If it's no-good...I'm set back a few bucks.

When it comes to selecting the right web designer for your business, though, it shouldn't be a shot in the dark.

This is a very important decision because your website will have a huge impact on how your business and your brand are perceived in the marketplace.

Choose the right web designer and your brand may be enhanced in the eyes of your customers...but, choose the wrong one and your website may reflect badly on your business.

How do you make sure you hire the right web designer? One that has the experience, professionalism, and follow-through that you need?

Well, here's a list of 58 questions (and a BONUS question at the end of this post) that you might find helpful when interviewing web designers for your business website.

Ask these 8 questions to get a feel for their experience

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. How much experience do you have working with clients?
  3. Is this your full-time job?
  4. What kinds of websites have you designed?
  5. Can you provide examples of websites that your company designed?
  6. What kind of results did those websites experience?
  7. What web standards and practices do you follow?
  8. Are your designs tested for multi-browser and cross-platform compatibility?

Ask these 5 questions to find out what and how to pay

  1. How much do you charge?
  2. What are your payment terms?
  3. Do you charge by the hour or by the project?
  4. What is included in the price?
  5. What is the billing procedure for work outside the project’s initial quote or agreed upon deliverables?

Ask these 11 questions to get an idea of the services they provide

  1. What services do you offer?
  2. Do you offer any digital marketing services?
  3. Do you perform other SEO services?
  4. Do you offer e-commerce services?
  5. Do you offer domain name registration?
  6. Do you offer web hosting services?
  7. Do you offer maintenance training?
  8. What support do you offer after the site goes live?
  9. What search engine optimization or marketing do you do for the site?
  10. What type of content management system do you use?
  11. I already have an established brand, will my website provide a consistent look?

Ask these 19 questions to find out how they work

  1. What does your current workload look like?
  2. How many revisions are you willing to make?
  3. How closely will you work with our company?
  4. How will we communicate during the design process?
  5. How much time is devoted to analyzing my business, market and competitors?
  6. Do you start from templates or build custom sites?
  7. How long do typical website design projects take?
  8. What assets do I need to supply?
  9. Who will write the content?
  10. How many pages will my website be?
  11. Will it be a responsive site that works on multiple mobile and tablet devices?
  12. How long will it take to complete my website?
  13. What happens if I don’t like the initial design?
  14. What do you need from me to get started?
  15. Will my website be built to expand as my business grows?
  16. Can you help me get images for my website?
  17. Will I be able to see the website as you’re creating it?
  18. Will my current site experience downtime as you update it?
  19. Will you integrate social media into my web design?

Ask these 15 questions to find out how they handle your website after project launch

  1. Will the functionality of my website be tested before it goes live?
  2. Do you offer on-going maintenance after my site goes live?
  3. How do you measure results after the site goes live?
  4. How will your design help me reach my goals?
  5. What type of results can I expect?
  6. Will I own my website once it’s completed?
  7. Who owns the site’s artwork?
  8. Can I edit the website myself, and which parts?
  9. Do you offer a warranty? If so, how long is the warranty good for?
  10. What happens if the website breaks or is hacked?
  11. Will I have access to all my design source files for internal use?
  12. What is your policy regarding building websites for my competitors?
  13. What strategies will you use to generate revenue for my site?
  14. Do you do A/B testing?
  15. Will I be able to access my website statistics without contacting you?

You may or may not use all of these questions in conversation with your potential web designer. However, a professional web designer may anticipate these questions and answer them upfront.

If you're still not sure whether or not to hire someone...don't be afraid to ask for referrals or references.

And here's a BONUS QUESTION: Do you still keep in contact with previous clients and/or provide them with continuous service?

If the answer is "no"...this is a red flag.

A good web designer keeps in touch with his/her past clients and maintains good relationships.

So, even though selecting the right web designer for you isn't as easy as picking a watermelon, the questions above should help you sift through a few quite confidently.

Any questions you think should be added to this list? Post it in the comments below.

Why You Need a Website

Let's address the elephant in the room...

...You might not need a website.

...There...

...I said it.

Few businesses don't need a website and can get by on their reputation or clientele they've built up over the years.

Others can build a relatively healthy business using social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

But...

Just because you can build a business without a website...

...doesn't mean you should.

So, let's consider 10 reasons why your business needs a website (even if you're killin' it on Facebook).

Reason #1
97 Percent of Consumers Search Online for Products and Services

According to the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration), "97 percent of consumers search online for products and services, but one out of every two small businesses is simply not there for customers to find".

It's clear...

A large majority of consumers use the internet every day to research products and businesses before choosing what to spend their money on and who to spend it with.

However, that doesn't mean that most consumers are looking to purchase something online.

Most people aren't looking to purchase a custom home, salon services, medical services, or baked goods online.

But, they are doing their initial research online.

And, in most cases, they're not looking specifically for you or your business.

So, unless you're investing in marketing and have an effective way to create awareness about your brand...

...If you don't have a website, you will lose that customer to someone who does.

Reason #2
A Website Gives You Credibility

You know you're trustworthy...

...but potential customers don't. And that can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

According to a recent survey conducted by BrightLocal (an SEO and local citation platform), 36% of consumers believe that a website gives a business more credibility.

Credibility = Trust

Trust = More Purchases

Today, consumers expect businesses to have a website. Just like they would expect the business to have a business card and a phone line.

When they don't find a website...a red flag goes up.

When that happens...your credibility is questioned.

And this doesn't only affect potential customers. Many banks will withhold providing loans or financing to small businesses contingent on them having websites.

Having a website is not about vanity.

It's about being transparent and accessible...and that builds credibility and trust.

Reason #3
A Website Improves Your Visibility On Google

I could have said it improves your visibility on the search engines...but we know Google is the search giant.

With over 3.5 billion searches on Google per day, many of them possibly about your products and services, you want Google to display your business as a solution to those queries.

Remember, Google is where most people's initial research begins.

They don't search for products and services on Facebook. That's for killing time looking at pictures of friends and family.

And the odds of your business appearing as one of the top results on the first page of Google for specific search queries increases as your website continues to grow.

It's even possible, and quite common actually, to appear multiple times on the first page of Google...in addition to any social media platforms you might be on.

This improves the chances a Google user will click on your website and improves your chances for gaining a new customer.

Reason #4
A Website Can Showcase Your Products & Services 24/7

Do you have a portfolio of products or services that you show to each prospective client?

Make life easier for you and them by sharing it on your website.

It's a lot easier, time-saving, and gas-saving to give someone a link to your website than to coordinate a time to meet at your office or local Starbucks to go over your portfolio.

At the same time, people still doing their initial research can find you and look at your portfolio at their convenience.

This provides them with value upfront, answers their questions, and convinces them that you're the one they want to do business with.

Reason #5
A Website Gives You Control Over Your Brand

The sky's the limit when it comes to how you choose to display your brand on your website.

You have complete control...

You can share as much, or as little, as you'd like on your website.

Share your vision for your business.

Share your mission statement.

Share testimonials and case studies.

You can't get that kind of control on social media profiles. You have to play by their rules and their terms & conditions.

If Facebook decides to change the layout of their pages, or change how they want their platform used...you have no control over it.

Having a website ensures that you will still have control over your brand regardless what any social media, or third-party platform decides to do.

Reason #6
A Website Can Enhance Your Customer Service

Your customer is probably not going to send a support ticket or ask for help on Facebook.

That's a very public forum.

You can enhance your customer service by providing a dedicated "Contact Us" or "Support" page on your website.

Doing this tells your customer that you care...

...That you want to provide the best customer service that you can by giving them a private channel to reach you through.

This has the added benefit of being easy to remember and be indexed by Google.

Reason #7
A Website Can Help Automate a Sales Process

There's a lot of things that we would like automated...

...cooking...

...laundry...

...your sales process?

Yes.

If you have a repeatable sales process, then there might be some steps in that process that can be automated.

For example...

If you have a questionnaire that you typically go over with each client, why not have them fill it out on your website?

Do you require clients to send you files or images before you can provide a quote?

They can do this on your website.

Are there questions that almost every client asks before hiring you?

Set up a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website that you could direct your customers to.

Tired of printing and mailing invoices to your customers and waiting weeks to get paid?

Let them do it on your website.

There are many more ways that a website can save you time and energy by helping to automate your sales process.

Reason #8
A Website Can Help Grow a List of Prospects

You've probably read or heard that a person needs to be exposed 7 times to a business before they decide to purchase from that business.

I don't know how accurate that is...

But I do know this...

They need to be exposed at least more than once.

That's where most people assume that having a Facebook Page is enough for their business.

Under the false assumption that every fan of the page is notified when the page posts something.

Did you know that Facebook Page posts only reach about 2% to 4% of their overall audience?

That's dismal...

And certainly not worth the effort.

In other words, if you have 1000 Facebook Likes only 20 to 40 people are notified of your updates!

Of course, you can improve these numbers if you pay to promote your posts.

That's not a bad thing.

But, more and more, Facebook and other social media platforms are becoming pay-to-play for businesses.

However, your website can be a powerful tool in generating leads and keeping in touch with them to expose them to your business again and again.

You can have an email signup form on your website.

And as your email list grows...

Your reach will grow.

In other words, if you have 1000 people on your email list all 1000 will be notified when you send an email.

And in most cases, sending an email will cost you nothing.

Reason #9
People Are Spending More and More Money Online

According to DigitalCommerce360 "U.S. e-commerce sales reached $105.10 billion in the second quarter, a 16.3% jump compared with $90.40 billion in the second quarter of 2016. That’s the highest year-over-year increase in online retail sales since the first quarter of 2012, when e-commerce sales increased 16.8% over the prior-year quarter."

In plain English...

People are spending a lot of money online.

And there are no signs that this is going to slow down any time soon.

Online shopping is not a fad.

We're in the age of Amazon Prime where more and more people are comfortable with giving money to online merchants.

You can put your business in a position to benefit from this growing trend by giving people the opportunity to shop on your website.

You can decide how simple (a PayPal button) or elaborate (full e-commerce solution) your shopping experience can be.

Remember...with a website, you're in control.

Reason #10
Many of Your Competitors Already Have Websites

Don't Have a Website

This isn't about joining the bandwagon...

...there is no bandwagon.

The internet is not a fad.

Having a website is not a fad.

This is business.

And your competitors have come to the realization of all the reasons above to establish a website, a professional online presence...

...to enhance their brand,

...improve their visibility online,

...and be in front of their customers, and potentially your customers, when they're searching online.

You could be losing customers to your competition simply because you don't have a website.

It's not about vanity...

It's about being visible and taking advantage of every opportunity and tool available to get exposure and drive awareness for your business.

Having a Website Is Just the Start

Whatever your reservations have been for not having a website...

... there are many valid reasons why you need a website for your business.

And that's just the start.

Once you've established an online presence with a website, you can use it as a marketing hub and take advantage of many other digital marketing strategies to grow your business.

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