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8 questions your web designer might prefer you didn’t ask

When you’re thinking of building a new website it’s a good to be inquisitive. Below are 8 questions that some web designers might prefer that you didn’t ask.

Do you write semantic HTML?

HTML markup refers to the code that makes up a webpage. If your developer doesn’t know what “semantic” HTML is, run away. As fast as you can.

Wikipedia provides an explanation: “Semantic HTML is the use of HTML markup to reinforce the semantics, or meaning, of the information in webpages rather than merely to define its presentation or look. Semantic HTML is processed by regular web browsers as well as by many other user agents. CSS is used to suggest its presentation to human users.”

Simply put, semantic HTML goes beyond the physical appearance of a webpage and actually provides meaning and relevance to the content contained within, which is helpful to both search engines and users alike.

Do you validate your HTML?

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) web browsers will forgive a multitude of sins and mistakes. This means that many developers take a lax approach when it comes to producing HTML markup, and this can lead to a number of reliability issues such as pages not displaying correctly for all users.

Validating HTML markup ensures that pages are error free, adhere to the correct standards and will display consistently in all web browsers.

Do you provide any warranty?

How long is your website or online store guaranteed to be fault free? Be wary of anything less than 12 months, or additional charges for fixing bugs shortly after your project is launched.

At 1st WebDesigns we offer a lifetime guarantee on all solutions that we develop. We love our customers and enjoy producing high quality website designs, and our long term commitment reflects this.

Do you ensure that your websites are fast?

With the average site now weighing in at over 1mb it’s important to optimise pages as much as possible. Whilst broadband speeds are increasing, so is mobile usage which tends to be inherently slower. Besides which, faster connection speeds are not an excuse for bloated pages, badly written scripts and heavy images.

At 1st WebDesigns you can rest assured that we follow all best practise guidelines to ensure your site will load blisteringly fast. This includes writing efficient and compact code, optimising images throughout each webpage, and fine-tuning the site’s hosting environment for maximum performance. Take a look at the Forward Trade Contracts website which has a Google PageSpeed score of 95 out of 100!

Are your websites search engine friendly, and if so how?

Not only does your site need to look attractive but it needs to generate enquiries and sales. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to make sure it is search engine friendly. You can find out more about how we approach this.

Do you offer support and how much does it cost?

As with anything, occasionally things can go wrong. Does your developer have the resource to support your business and what’s the cost likely to be?

In the majority of cases we offer free advice and support for our clients on an ongoing basis to always ensure they’re getting the best from their online presence.

Do you outsource your design or development?

Whilst there’s nothing nothing wrong with outsourcing, it needs to be managed effectively in order for your project to be a success. In-house development often means there’s less scope for delays or a break down in communication between the client and the person who is really doing the work.

At 1st WebDesigns we carry out the vast majority of work in-house. When we outsource particular elements of a project we do so to a small number of regular contractors who are based in the UK and certified for excellence.

Will my site be built using a template?

Frameworks and libraries are good – they provide standardisation and help to speed up development time. Templates on the other hand are not so good and are better suited to very low budget projects. Most clients don’t want a website design that’s already being used by thousands of other businesses.

Your requirements are, to a greater or lesser extent, likely to be unique. We feel that your website should be too.