In today’s hectic business climate it is important to work smarter. But when you have to choose an important service provider such as a website designer you need to slow down and make a deliberate, careful decision. This is particularly important when you are getting ready to put your company’s face on the World Wide Web in a new or newly-refurbished web site.
Firstly what is a website designer? We’re talking about an individual who is going to “get you up and running” on the web. This often means more than simple design.
Here are the ten things to look for when choosing your website designer:
1) Experience You will need someone with all the techniques, tools and tricks that will help you prepare your website and accomplish your online goals. Ask all prospects for a portfolio, ask if they can “hand code,” find out how many years of experience each has, etc. Take due time to get more important insights as to the individual’s character, level of expertise – and how well your personalities mesh. You will be working closely together, after all. 2) Customer Service Orientation How important is customer service? If a designer/developer is too busy to answer e-mails or phone calls, will they be able to keep the production schedule?
3) Creativity Your designer may need to help you with some of the “big picture” questions, such as marketing, web copywriting (for search engines) and how to generate traffic. You want someone creative, but not a “diva” who won’t follow instructions or work with your ideas to bring them to fruition.
4) Communication Skills Don’t hire anyone who insists on speaking to you in “computer-speak” or won’t explain unknown terminology. You have to communicate with this person about things that are important to your very survival, so you need to be clear at all times.
5) Original Copy and Graphics Creating professional and 100% original web graphics separates the adults from the kids every time. A talented designer will demonstrate knowledge of page layout, have a way with colour and know how to place elements on a page for best appearance and web site performance. Take a good look at a number of the sites each prospect has built, and make sure no one is using “templates” or “starter pages” that come with some software programs or are available (even free) on the Internet.
6) Marketing Experience The easiest way to find out if your prospective web designers are good at marketing websites is to view their site and their portfolio. That you are considering selecting them to design your site is a good first indicator that their designs convert. You’ll further want to ensure that you can find what you’re looking for on their site quickly and easily and that you can do the same on some of the sites in their portfolio. 7) Cost Pricing for a professional website of 10-15 pages with the standard features runs all the way from $997 to $25000. For a full picture of all the costs involved in the project, ask for all the costs to be broken out individually – domain name and hosting, graphic design work, marketing fees and web development matters. You may need to place a deposit if the job is large enough, and you should have all payment terms worked out before work starts. You can work out an hourly rate, a flat fee or some combination of the two. Get details in writing, including deadlines and how many revisions are included.
8) Full Service There may be one or two things that your designer/developer cannot do, but for the most part, you should be able to find a reasonably-priced professional who can handle just about everything.
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9) Job Timeline After you ask the developers how long the process will take. A basic web site may take as little as a week, while more involved and technically challenging sites could take a month or more.
10) Availability Are these prospects full-time web professionals? Or are they moonlighting from some other job, even a completely unrelated one? No matter what decision you make, you must be able to get hold of your designer. Use all of this knowledge to narrow down your list of candidates, but don’t be afraid to use your intuition to get a feel for each person’s honesty, integrity and character. Following this procedure thoroughly should result in your finding a good match for your Internet needs. I have 25 plus years experience as a website designer and would love for you to consider me for your project.