So you’ve decided to get cracking on your internet marketing and the first step was to contact a web design company and get a quote. The first thing I would say is that if you’re getting a quote for just a website redesign, you should consider whether you’re pursuing partial inbound marketing. And if you’re comparing a website redesign quote versus an inbound marketing proposal, you may be trying to compare apples and oranges. Here is a list of ten questions you can ask the web design company in order to check on their level of inbound marketing knowledge.
1) Can you describe how you perform your keyword research and how they will apply to the design of my website, the structure of my content marketing and any advertising I may do?
Most reputable web designers understand how to perform keyword research and apply it to the architecture of the website. However, that’s only one part of a comprehensive keyword strategy. Inbound marketers employ a three-tier stragtegy:
- Foundation Keywords are a short list of keyword phrases that will form the skeletal structure of a website. Achieving top ranking for these keywords is a key performance indicator.
- Long Tail Keywords form a longer list of keyword phrases that will be incorporated into the site’s pages. This list will form the skeletal structure of the content marketing strategy.
- Opportunity Keywords are narrow search phrases that are highly targeted but typically have low search volume. These phrases can frequently be both easy to dominate and also deliver very high conversion rates. They will be incorporated into paid search and the content marketing strategy.
2) What off-page SEO services do you offer?
There are two parts to SEO; on-page and off-page. The on-page optimization means designing the menus, pages and titles and other components correctly, which most designers know how to do. But the off-page stuff is where the hard work gets done and if your designer hasn’t mentioned the word “blog” or “content” then I would be very concerned. A well-designed website by itself will not get you ranking well on search engines. You need quality links pointing to your site and strong social signals in order to get their attention.
3) What CMS technology do you use?
No business should be shackled to a static, HTML website that can’t be easily updated. There are a number of open source and commercial content management systems available. Be sure to choose one that has a feature-rich, easy to use blogging feature. I’ve found that WordPress is a great choice for many businesses large and small but there are always situations that warrant other choices.
4) Does this quote include a mobile-friendly design?
The future is getting smaller and smaller every day. Tablets and smart phones comprise more and more web traffic every day. It’s critical that your website feature a design that reads well on mobile devices.
5) How many landing pages does this include?
This is kind of a trick question because most web designers don’t really know what a landing page is. These are the most important pages on any website. They are where you turn visitors into leads and the entire strategy needs to be built around driving conversions. If your designer never mentioned the word conversions, I’d be concerned.
6) How will you measure my conversion rate?
The answer here should be “Google Analytics Goals” or some other equivalent feature from a web analytics package. If you’re not measuring the conversion rate on your landing pages, it’s like driving a car without a speedometer. Goals allow you to tell Google Analytics when a conversion has occurred, like a download of an eBook or newsletter signup.
7) How will you measure the effectiveness of my calls to action?
Once you’ve created some great landing pages, you need to place calls to action (CTAs) on your web pages and at the bottom of your blog posts. The web design project should include both design time for these CTAs as well as a module or plugin that will provide you with the analytics you’ll need in order to keep track of impressions and click-through rates. This is critical functionality for inbound marketing but rarely included in website proposals.
8) How will you measure the ROI of paid campaigns and social media channels?
The answer here should be that you can calculate this using the goal values set up in Google Analytics using a custom report by referral source. When you configure goals, you can assign a conversion value. For example, an eBook download is worth $50 because you think you can convert 2% of those leads to customers and your average customer value is $2,500. Then it’s a simple calculation to compare what you’re spending on each channel against the conversions you’ve obtained.
9) What are the components of your content strategy?
This probably isn’t included in most web design quotes, but without a content marketing strategy, you aren’t doing inbound marketing. I’m not saying that you necessarily want this to be part of the proposal but it must be on the table. As mentioned already, the keyword strategy must take into account the website design, your content strategy and paid promotion strategy. Your content strategy will also impact the design of the site itself. Having a site that is heavily focused on video content would likely be designed differently from one with just a single, high-value eBook download, for example.
10) Do you manage Google Adwords campaigns? If so, are you a certified Google Agency?
This is a bonus question. Some would argue about whether or not paid ads qualify as inbound marketing, but either way they should be part of most website launches. If the web design company isn’t going to handle this, then someone should.
So what am I missing? Have you had an experience recently that led to wish you had asked a different question up front?