Foundation for the Scotland School for Veterans Children web site

By Catherine Lockey, CEO of

Your web site is your global storefront and your most valuable marketing tool. You simply cannot entrust the creation of this invaluable asset to just anyone. That’s why I’ve created an essential list of questions for business owners to use when interviewing prospective design companies.

How do I Know Who to Choose?

The best web design company is a “Jack of All Trades.” Great web design requires design expertise, technical expertise, writing expertise, marketing expertise, and good customer service practices. Important: No one of these elements is most important. All are equally important.

Look For a Conversion Page

Go to your potential designer’s web site and look for a conversion page. A conversion page is an easy to fill out online form found on the front page of a web site. See mine here – look for the ? in the upper right corner. If they don’t have a conversion page, they don’t know even basic online marketing practices.  Ask to see their blog.  If they don’t have a blog, then they aren’t familiar with social media marketing which is an integral part of SEO.

Ask These Questions

So how do you find the best web design company? Ask the right questions and pay attention to the answers you get. The most important question is: May I see your portfolio? You want to be sure this person/company can produce. If there is no portfolio – move on. Click the links on their portfolio page. All examples should send you to a live web site. If their web sites all look the same, are incomplete or are not functioning properly – keep shopping.

More Questions

Ask, do you start with a pre-made template or will my site be a custom design? How do you determine my preferences before designing my web site? What program will my site be designed in? (answer should be CSS).  Can you create my site in a CMS (content management System) so I may update it myself?  Do I own my web site once it is published? How much do you charge for annual hosting? If there is programming on my site, what guarantees do you give for its long-term functionality? Do you write the text for my site? How will my site attract new business? Can I view my site as you are working on it? How much do you charge to make changes to my design while you are working on it? What do you do to insure my site shows up on the search engines? How much do you charge to update my site after it is finished? How long would it take you to update my site after I contact you with my update request? How much do you charge for web site updates? Can you create self-updateable areas on my site? How quickly will my site download on your server? Can I track who visits my site? How? Does this cost extra? Are there any other costs or fees involved which you have not mentioned? Are you willing to put your answers in writing?

Expect Excellent Customer Service

The company you choose needs to be honest, personable and responsive – no one wants to deal with intricate voicemail systems or overseas “customer service” when they need assistance. The questions I listed above will help you sift through this and so much more. A great web design company will make your life easier because you know you can rely on them for effective marketing, stunning design, compelling text, and responsive customer service.