If you’re relatively new to the world of websites, digital marketing and other online services, you will probably be working with professional freelancers or an agency to help you achieve your goals. That could be to set up your first company website, overhaul your brand image or simply reach a wider audience online. Either way, working with a web agency for the first time can raise a lot of very valid questions. Here is a guide to the most frequently asked ones, along with our best answers.

How can I decide who to work with?

It’s important not to be immediately taken in with the first company you consider. Many web hosting companies, designers, marketing agencies and so on will prioritise having a flashy website, but that does not necessarily reflect the level of service offered.

Check for past work of theirs and follow up on recommendations before enquiring, and then try to arrange a transparent discussion about what they can offer you given your budget and any other restraints.

How much should I spend?

This will vary depending on your project, but if you want to create a professional website for your business, it’s likely that you will need to spend around £1,000 on design. Web hosting, domain name registration and so on are typically much cheaper than that, but remember they are an ongoing cost which must be managed and budgeted for.

Where will my website content come from?

Usually, the writing and images used on your site will be provided by yourself. Web designers are not going to be familiar enough with your company to produce these without help, and they certainly wouldn’t include these services for free. You may be able to pay extra to have content created for you, but it’s good value if you can handle it in-house.

What do I need to know when the website is done?

Once your web design is complete, you need to establish whether your relationship with the design agency is effectively over, or whether they will continue to support you later. Ideally you should have full access and control over every aspect of your website, so steer clear of companies who would retain ownership of the site once it has been completed. You should at least know the basics of how to update and manage your website, or have someone in-house with this expertise.