Any time a website redesign is being considered or a company has decided to launch a brand new site, making sure it’s built right is absolutely important.

But, what constitutes a website that is built “right?” Is it design? Is it function? To lay the right foundation, here are 7 critical marketing questions businesses should ask their website designer before moving forward with any site development.

So, a quick warning! If a web design company is planning to make you a website mock-up before they understand your business, they are building your site backwards.

For your website to be successful as a marketing tool, you need a web designer whose design work is focused on the success of your business in your industry, rather than than on just creative design.

Before a company can create any sort of suggested design for your site, they should first be committed to understanding your brand message, target market, audience behavior, sales funnel, and revenue goals.

This is a critical part of the foundation for your business online. Be sure to ask the following questions before you move forward with a website contractor or web design company. Whether or not they have already answered these questions, or are seeking to understand these aspects of your business are sure signs of whether you should hire them for the job.


“Do You Understand Our Brand Message?”

Not all aesthetically pleasing website designs are created equal. While a certain layout, color scheme, and design elements may be generally appealing, if it doesn’t match and communicate your company’s brand message, you won’t see the performance potential your business could have online. A website that doesn’t resonate with the brand message of your company will strike a disconnect in the perception of your viewers.

If you’re a service-based business that focuses on building customer relationships, you’re looking for an inviting, simple layout that is easy to navigate and provides a helpful array of good information.

If you’re a product-based company that is seeking to boost sales by spiking consumer interest, you might be looking for a more eye-catching, vivid color scheme with flashy graphics that will make a bold impression on your viewer. Both are well-designed sites, but they must fit your brand message and accommodate the goals of your company.

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

  • They talk more about their design capabilities than about your business
  • They’re not interested in learning about your brand message
  • They don’t ask questions about how you want to impress your visitors


“Do You Understand Our Target Market?”

Your website is for your viewers, and specifically, for the viewers that will be most likely to make a purchase decision. These individuals are commonly known as your “target market,” or more specifically, your “buyer personas.” If your business’s most prominent customers are middle aged women, your website should be crafted specifically with them in mind.

  • Why are they coming to the website?
  • What layout do they find most helpful?
  • What types of information are they looking for?
  • What images or graphics would appeal to them most?
  • What colors do they prefer?

If your web designer isn’t asking you these types of questions, you may find that you’re paying for a website that won’t actually work very well for your business.

More importantly, your viewers will likely have difficulty moving through your sales funnel because the site isn’t designed around reaching and converting your target market.

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

  • They don’t display interest in understanding your target market
  • They only ask surface level questions regarding your potential buyers
  • They have no plan for analyzing your current site to learn your buyers’ interactions


“Do You Know How Our Users Currently Engage With Our Business?”

Your web designer should be actively engaging you with questions about your current website, or customer activity and expectations. Before you put money down on a web design package, make sure that your web designer understands the current status of your customers and their interactions with your company. This includes the answers to:

  • What do visitors currently click on the most?
  • What are your most popular pages?
  • What is already working?
  • What is currently not working?
  • What feedback do you get from customers?
  • What are your expectations or needs based on your industry?

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

…they don’t seek to understand what’s currently working and not working on the site you already have.


“Do You Know What We Want Our Users To Do?”

You’re not running a business website for no reason. You want to make money with it.

Before you buy a new site, make sure your designer knows what you want the website users to do. It might be one of the following things:

  • Create an online account
  • Buy a product
  • Get more information
  • Pay for services
  • Click on ads

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

…the person or team you’re talking to seems to have no interest in what you want the site to accomplish. If they aren’t about bring you the right web traffic and creating an experience built around users doing what you want them to, you’re probably not going to get a very good site, regardless of the price you pay.

“Do You Know How To Direct Our Users To Do What We Want Them To?”

There are lots of web designers out there, and a good handful of them can make your website a piece of art. But, here’s the deal: very few of them know how to make a site that actually directs people into the action you want them to take – like purchasing a product.

Creating a site is more than creating a piece of art that displays information. It also needs to include, among other things:

  • Captivating headlines
  • Strategically placed calls to action
  • Strategically designed calls to action
  • Motivating content
  • Fluid navigation options
  • Attractive page elements
  • A well-planned conversion funnel for users

See, good looks means a lot, but without business brains behind the project, your new site won’t see its full earning potential.


So, am I really saying that you can spend upwards of $20,000 on a site and have it never make you more money?

Yes, I am.

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

…before you buy a new website, you ask the designer or design company, “Do you know how to make our users do what we want them to?” and they don’t cover these kinds of real-world business topics.


“Do You Know How To Visually Present My Company To My Industry?”

Your Company Appearance

Most web designers will be cognisant of the need to build your site around the colors that you already use for your business, but not all of them will be. Some designers, especially the ones that promise a lot for a very small sum of money, are simply looking for work and won’t necessarily be too concerned about these sorts of details.

Even if you’re looking to hire an experienced company to do your site, have a conversation about your brand colors and see how they’re expecting to design your site around them.

Sometimes, however, a new site should come with a new company color theme, so be open to professional input on this. Especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve done anything with your company’s visual presentation, or if you never hired a professional designer in the first place. This can be a good time to consider updating the whole bit.

Regardless of how you approach this, make sure your design company has ideas for keeping everything matched visually and fluid.

Your Industry’s Appearance

People often have expectations of what your website will look like based on what is typical of your industry.

Consider the following examples, and read the caption for more information on each one:

Coldwater Creek, a women’s clothing supplier, utilizes traditionally feminine colors in an impressively balanced way.
Microsoft’s Surface site delivers the feeling of simplicity and style that is expected from a modern tech company. Light blue is a also common tech color that statistically appeals to both genders and all ages.
I simply don’t get this. Does the style of this site make it look like a sports and outdoors provider to you? It doesn’t to me! I certainly want to see some green to mirror the green in nature and maybe some other earthy tones, not red and blue. Props for trying pink for the Mother’s Day sale banner, but it sure clashes a lot with the rest of the site.

So what styles and colors should your site use, and does your design company know what they are? Make sure they know this information before you hire them.

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

…they don’t display interest in your current company colors, or if they never speak of your site in terms of your industry.


“What Is Your Past Experience?”

Hopefully, you aren’t buying a website from someone who’s never designed a website before, so look up their past work. If they have no experience on their website, it’s probably already time to find someone else.

If they do have their experience information readily available, ask the following things:

Do their past sites display a knowledge of business as well as good design?

A good web design business will display their past websites in their portfolio. Check out these sites and see if they have done a good job answering the questions posted in this article with their previous work:

  • Does the content on their past sites display a knowledge of their customer’s brands and target markets?
  • Are there well-placed, well-designed calls to action and other elements on the site that show a business brain behind the design as well as an artistic approach?
  • Do the colors and styles accurately match the brand and the expected styles based on industry?

If these questions can be answered with a “Yes” and the site still looks and feels great, you’ve likely found a good designer to work with!

Have they worked on a project for a business similar to yours?

While not completely necessary in analyzing a web design business, you can receive extra reassurance that you’re paying for good work if the service you’re hiring has successfully delivered for a business similar to yours.

So, Don’t Commit To Their Services If…

…they have no experience. That’s for sure.

Also, don’t commit to their services if their past work doesn’t answer the questions listed above affirmatively.

Remember, a lot of companies will take your money and make you a new site. Very few will create a site that can reach its profit potential.

This is why it’s important to ask the right questions!