9 Questions To Ask Before Hiring an eCommerce Web Designer

August 2, 2022

Are you looking to upgrade your eCommerce website?

With internet users making first impressions based on the initial 0.05 seconds of contact with your site, first impressions and conversions really do count.

And when 94% of these first impressions come from design related aspects, creating an eCommerce platform that is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing should always be a priority.

Are you using any of the following to sell products online?

-    Shopify
-    BigCommerce
-    Volusion
-    WordPress
-    Magento

If so, your design and development will be key to moving your inventory. Thankfully, the process can be simple. With outstanding results.

If you’re ready to move towards a site that attracts attention for all the right reasons, here’s what you need to ask.

#1. Do You Use Ready-Made Templates or Do You Design Custom Websites?

For the most part, many companies and designers will say they use of custom design by default to please you.

However, there is a gray area with regards to what customizing means to different design companies. For instance, do they use a template and simply switch colors, texts, and images?

That is not a custom design; it is replacing some design elements only. This is not to say that using templates is not effective. True customization, however, involves taking the templates and designing it into what you need – 100% unique website that is individual to you.

Two out of every three internet users would prefer to read beautifully designed content.

Your chosen designer should take the time and put in the effort to create custom-coded designs to ensure they meet your unique needs and expectations, thereby fulfilling your business’ objectives.

Are you looking to upgrade your eCommerce website?

With internet users making first impressions based on the initial 0.05 seconds of contact with your site, first impressions and conversions really do count.

And when 94% of these first impressions come from design related aspects, creating an eCommerce platform that is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing should always be a priority.

Are you using any of the following to sell products online?

–    Shopify
–    BigCommerce
–    Volusion
–    WordPress
–    Magento

If so, your design and development will be key to moving your inventory. Thankfully, the process can be simple. With outstanding results.

If you’re ready to move towards a site that attracts attention for all the right reasons, here’s what you need to ask.

#1. Do You Use Ready-Made Templates or Do You Design Custom Websites?

For the most part, many companies and designers will say they use of custom design by default to please you.

However, there is a gray area with regards to what customizing means to different design companies. For instance, do they use a template and simply switch colors, texts, and images?

That is not a custom design; it is replacing some design elements only. This is not to say that using templates is not effective. True customization, however, involves taking the templates and designing it into what you need – 100% unique website that is individual to you.

Two out of every three internet users would prefer to read beautifully designed content.

Your chosen designer should take the time and put in the effort to create custom-coded designs to ensure they meet your unique needs and expectations, thereby fulfilling your business’ objectives.

#2. Can You Show Me Examples Of eCommerce Sites Your Company Has Created?

Another way to gauge how custom your web designer makes their websites is to view their portfolio.

The portfolio should feature diverse website designs. If their portfolio contains layouts and features that are the same, they use a few frameworks, if not one, and just change the fonts, images, and colors. They are not custom designs.

Check out the cleanliness of their website designs to determine how dated their website designs are. Newer sites will have smooth fonts, and the colors are crisp clear. An old site may have dull and blurry colors or feature a boxy design philosophy.

You can also use their portfolio and compare their design to the website design of your competitors to see if there is a similar theme.

#3. What Website Development Processes Do You Use?

A company or freelance web designer serious with developing products that meet their clients’ needs and demands will have a proven internal protocol for designing websites. Additionally, the protocol will be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of individual clients.

The protocol should cover:

  • Knowing you and your company,
  • Reviewing your website in intricate details and analyzing its current performance before making any design changes and development decisions
  • Proper Communication during the process

A web designer worth their salt will use a step by step protocol that is shared with clients upfront. They will understand the processes and the expectations right from the beginning of the website development.

#4. Will I Be Able To Track The Website Development Progress?

A web design company worth using will use in-server domain to develop websites. Importantly, they make the in-progress development available for clients to view and track, allowing clients to make edit suggestions.

Bonus Tip: Ask your designer if you will have access to the website while it is still under development. This will make it possible to track the progress of the development.

#5. Do You Use A Mobile-First Approach To Website Development?

In other words, do they design a website that is compatible with smartphones and other mobile devices?

With 73% of Shopify traffic coming from mobiles, ensuring your products are available on smartphones is key.

For this reason, all eCommerce websites should have a mobile-friendly design philosophy. That said, it is essential to go a step further, and custom configure the mobile version of the website to enhance the mobile user experience.

According to pay-per-click experts, mobile first is one of the most valuable considerations to cover. They explain “60% of Google searches are conducted on mobile phones. Whether your customers are buying from you directly or entering the top of your sales funnel, designs that cater to the small screen are key. That means bold font, large text size and buttons that look like actual buttons. These small tweaks can make a major difference on eCommerce conversions.”

You should customise all websites to yield the best user experience possible across all devices.

One example of a mobile-friendly design is the website of small business plumbing team On Tap.

According to their customer service experts, “our mobile site features a call button that connects a customer’s phone to our hotline. If your business offers 24/7 emergency services you’ll benefit from a feature that is tailored specifically for the critical situations people have. If your customers can find and contact you quickly, and on their phones, you’ll be off to a great start”

#6. Will I Have Access To My Website Statistics Independent Of Your Personnel?

You should always get a “yes” to this question.

The design company should give you access to your website statistics unimpeded.

It would be preferable to have access to your website statistics for analytics and other performance metrics. A good web designer should be 100% transparent with how your site is performing.

  • What is your click-through-rate?
  • Are certain product pages receiving more clicks?
  • Are there people bouncing during the checkout process?

Knowing the answer to these questions can make your eCommerce platform that much stronger.

#7. Does Your Company Have A Private Server Hosting Offer?

Many design agencies offer, and in some instances, require their clients to use their server to host their website at a monthly fee.

With this in mind, you should find out whether they will provide the source files and give you access to the FTP accounts.

Private server hosting is beneficial for speed and much more. As such, ensure the company uses a private server as advertised and not a shared server.

The world is moving towards SAAS, if you are planning to use a hosted solution that is the best possible way to keep your website secured, maintenance free and scalable.

Bonus Tip: Ask your web designer to give you the source files and provide full FTP access once the payments have been completed.

#8. What Is The Full Cost Of Your Service?

The cost of a website will vary with the quality of the site influencing the final price and also the features required for the website design or customization to it.

For instance, website prices that seem too good to be true may represent low-quality and have a lot of issues impeding the performance of the website.

On the other hand, custom websites are higher-quality websites with better performance on security, SEO ranking, and necessitates little maintenance.

#9. What Additional Offers Can I Get?

It is standard for the best agencies to provide special offers to go above and beyond and help seal deals with their clients.

However, some will only do basic work with no extras. As the website owner, you need to decide which kind of develop suits you best. Our experience tells us that the agencies with extra offer provide better quality website and customer-service.

Customer expectations are constantly on the rise and quality agencies aspire to meet those expectations. This is true for any industry. The customer service experts at Any Rubbish, for example, offer obligation-free quotations and pro bono waste disposal advice right off the bat. They say, “when you hire a professional company, you should get professional services that will support you skillfully every step of the way. Great customer service is hassle-free.”

Your chosen web designer should provide client-centric services. Going above and beyond to ensure you feel elated to refer them to your contacts, to give them a 5-star review, and to trust you, should be their overall goal.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to do your due diligence before signing a contract.

Do not be pressured to make a premature decision. Using the list of questions as your guide, make a shrewd decision as to the best agency for your particular needs.

This guide will help you identify a web designer that offers client-centric services and is competent enough to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

Looking for more help and web design inspiration? As experts in:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • WordPress
  • Volusion
  • Magento

The team from Avid Brio can help. Get in touch here!

Author Bio

Luke Kurtz is a freelance writer and a student in Sydney. Passionate about writing, web design and graphic design, Luke is fascinated at the way small changes can have the largest effect. When not creating content Luke enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.