Hiring a Web Designer
Are you ready to hire a web designer? In earlier posts we laid the ground work for you by showing you the Big Problem with Small Business Websites, outlining 26 Things To Note Before You Develop a Website, and even giving you 6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Web Design Agency. But there are a few more things you need to consider before hiring a web designer.
Before you go looking for someone to design your website, make “a list of websites you like and admire and why you like them.” Bill Adkins, CodeCraft
Hiring a web designer is one of the most important things you need to do to get an effective and engaging online presence. But most businesses don’t give a lot of thought to hiring a web designer. You most likely have seen the results, websites that just don’t seem to fit a brand image, don’t have engaging content, and lack the functionality that mobile users expect. And that can become a big problem for any business!
Hiring a designer or web design agency is one of the most important things any startup or existing business can do to grow their digital footprint. And as with any important task it helps to plan. Before hiring a web designer you need to consider both the results you envision or need, and the budget you have. But you also need to evaluate what type of designer or team works best for and with you, if their experience matches your expectations, and if they are a good fit overall.
The 10 Step Guide To Hiring A Web Designer
Before hiring a designer or agency you should consider all the following. Re-order this list depending on your own priorities and requirements.
The first thing you need to define is your goal. Are you looking for a simple small business website or an enterprise level e-commerce solution? Do you have an established brand or are you looking for a new design? Do you need related services such as copywriting, search engine optimization or social media integration?
Make sure that you have a clearly defined goal or goals, and that you can clearly communicate them, before hiring a web designer. If you are not sure what you need you can not explain it to your prospective designer!
Now that you defined your goal you need to look at the portfolio of prospective web designers. Does their design style match your vision? Is their work similar to the type of project that you have in mind?
Most web designers show only some of their work at the same time. If you want to see specific types of samples feel; free to ask; if a web designer has related samples her or she will be happy to oblige. And if not it is always better to find out early.
This is a great opportunity to see how well you connect with a website designer and how well you believe you can work together. Regardless if the interview is in person, on the phone, or via Skype or GoogleChat it helps to have a list of questions prepared beforehand.
Time is an important factor in any design project. This is especially true if you need your new website for a new product launch, store opening, or other milestone event. Before you hire a web designer make sure that they can handle you and your project in a timely manner. And keep in mind to consider your own ability to respond to questions and review design concepts.
Communication is key in any project involving multiple parties. Outline your own communication style and needs and make sure you understand and agree to the methods of communication used by your designer. It is also a good idea to mention up front if you will unavailable during any phase or part of the project before you get started.
You are looking to hire a professional to handle your project. Make sure you find out if their experience matches your needs. It doesn’t really matter how wonderful a web designer is if their strength is in designing blogs and you need an e-commerce site.
So before you hire a web designer ask what kind of projects they have worked on. Find out if they have worked on comparable projects for clients similar to your business.
Most likely your new website is a big investment in your business. And it has to give you measurable results. What is the success record of your prospective designer?
Find out how your web designer is planning to meet your expectations, and if their approach was successful in the past. Keep in mind that there are both long-term and short-term results, so be sure to find out about both.
The best website designer in the world is not going to do you much good if you can’t afford them! Before you hire a designer you need to find out how they charge for their work. Here are some cost expectations for different types of web design projects you should check out first.
Most design projects are either project or flat-fee based, or billed by the hour. The first protects you from unexpected cost overruns, but it works best if you have a very clear understanding of what you need. If you are not sure or want greater flexibility you may have to consider paying by the hour.
9. Asset Ownership
This is a confusing area for most people. Under US Copyright Laws the creator of a design own the rights to it. But any respectable designer or agency has no problem signing over full usage rights provided they can use the design for their own marketing purposes, such as in their portfolio.
If you have any specific usage and ownership rights concerns be sure to discuss them with your designer or your legal adviser. And keep in mind that while you may have ownership rights in most cases that does not let you to change the design without permission from the designer.
As with any complex project it helps to have a plan or process to complete it. Find out if your designer has a process, and ask them to explain it to you. Have them walk you through their process step-by-step and ask questions along the way. Here are some questions your web designer will ask you at the start of your project.
Many web designers and agencies have their process outlined on their website, and some even give clients a checklist showing the responsibilities of each party.
Where Can You Find a Web Designer
Now that you are ready to hire a designer you need to actually find one. There are many ways how you can do this. If you see a website you like take a look and see who the designer is and contact them. Maybe one of your business associates can recommend their designer. There are also a number of directories and services like Clutch, Expertise, UpCity or Yelp that can help you find professionals in your area. A word of caution if you are considering Craigslist for finding a web designer, it is usually not a place where established designers and agencies list their services.
“Do you want a highly visual, modern, trendy site? Do you prefer a more traditional, conservative site? Do you expect to make a lot of edits to the content regularly, or will the site only be updated by a developer once a year or so?” Rosie Brown, Sterling Communications
Your Responsibilities for Hiring a Web Designer
And don’t forget, it is up to you to make working with a designer or agency a success. Take a look at Getting The Most From Your Web Designer to see what we mean. If you are not sure what your web designer or agency expects from you be sure to ask them. They will prefer explaining their process to you up front than having your project derail later.
Of course, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble and include us in your consideration process. We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-friendly websites to meet (almost) any budget. From highly customized corporate sites, to responsive e-Commerce websites to small business websites and personal blogs we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever increasingly social, mobile and local consumer. Why not get started by requesting your free web design estimate?
And if you are still not sure about hiring a professional web designer or web design agency don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and find the best way for your business to get the online presence you need. That is one of our specialties, after all!