How to pick a good Website designer (page 1 of 2)
Taking the today’s economy into stride, people are turning to social networking online to promote their online profile, or website, for almost everything. Whether you have a big business or you just manage a small online shopping site, an online profile in the form of a website can give you the necessary boost to your business. It’s definitely not a fad, the world has taken their entire lives to the online communities of the web. If you want to be in business you need a website but how do you hire a web designer and should you hire a web designer here in Fredericton or from a big city? Before we begin, lets answer some basic questions.
Why Do I Need a Website?
Consider a website a 24 hour store on a busy street. Open for business all the time, 24/7. An all night diner open for steak and eggs at 2am or a pristine coastal restaurant. Your website will, most likely, be the first place where people will hear about your business, get updated info, join mailing lists, etc The main reason why online profiles, or websites, have become almost necessary and crucial for businesses is because, today for almost each and every individual on the planet, the internet is accessible and available in some shape or form. Whether it’s from a computer or cell phone, many can access online information.
Can I built my Website Myself?
The short answer is Yes! You can for sure do it, if you know what you’re doing. Just like anything else in life. If you know how to rebuild the engine in your car, you can do that also. It’s actually pretty painless, really. If you can find the time, and know how to design your own site, then by all mean, you can do it. If you cannot, however, you may need to find a website designer and that’s where I come in. Many people like to take a look at products and/or services online prior to using products/services for offline use. A good example is this other day, I was in Wal-Mart and I wanted buy my son a new football. I looked up the model of the football from Amazon.com and found it to be less at Wal-Mart. This is a rarity, let me tell you. Things like these are why a website is imperative for small to large businesses online. Now, that things like those make business available to all the entrepreneurs online. If you want to get online with a website, then you have to find out ways of making the virtual profile of your business the most attractive and eye catching.
How Do I Locate a Quality Designer?
Before you can consider finding a quality website designer, you really have to know what to look for. So how does a small business person find a good designer without being overwhelmed?
#1 Rule….Get Word of Mouth referrals.
It’s truly the best way to get info on a website designer. Talk and ask around. Locate sites that you prospective designer has completed and ask them, or email them. Many web site designers include a small link or images to their website on the bottom of each client’s pages.Take a look at local websites that others have done and completed. Once you’ve compiled a list of Web designers and/or developers from the sources of your choice, you need to do some serious homework and if you plan to create a website for your business then you’ll want to obviously use the simplest of the ways for getting one. You will have to ask yourself this question, Do I know how to make a an effective website? Does someone know how to run my business? The answer is no. Creating your own website when you are not a website designer will result into a sub-par website which will ultimately give ZERO benefits to your business. This will usually portray a bad image for your business and services to the potential future customers. Face it, you’re all about using your new website so you can turn no profit into making profits. We need your website to be the best it can be. You cannot compromise the design for your new website because it will be accessible to almost everybody online, they will see it. Generating a an overly impressive website would be exactly what you are after when hiring a website designer.
A talented website designer can actually help take your online presence to the next level. your business to many folds and allow you to enrich higher revenues. Here, the importance and need for picking a good website designer comes in. when you’ll start the process of recruiting a website designer through online forums or companies you will be flooded with requests. But then your actual work of hiring the best website designer starts. You must ask for their portfolio, spend time evaluating them. Recommendations from past customers and the presentation of the person can really help you in choosing the best from the rest.
Web designers who specialize in designing websites for the niche you are looking for can be the perfect choice. Search out online forums, contact web designing companies online and in the real as well. There are companies which are very huge and run both online and offline. Contacting them can be expensive but rewarding in the long term. You must not pick up starters except the ones those are really talented. Do give importance to the price and your budget. Do not choose a web designer in hurry and never pick those who have earned a bad name in the industry. Always research before you file in applications for a web designer.
A web designer can either maximize your business by creating a great interactive website or can demolish it by creating a dull and unattractive website. Do specify your requirements to the web designer you choose finally. Make sure he creates the same website you are looking for.
Do I Go With a Local Designer or One From Across the Globe?
The great thing about the internet is that it’s worldwide and many things can happen even without even knowing people. The question is does it really matter if they are local here in Orange County or half way around the world? That really depends on what you need, what you want and what they offer. At this point, don’t rule anyone out. I have worked with many people from war away lands as in India, Amsterdam and even Croatia on projects, they have all been great and honest people. Make a list of potentials. A list of about 5-10 designer who you are considering.
What to Look For?
Taking on the task of hiring a website designer isn’t easy but there are many things to consider:
- Take a look at what they have designed before
- talk to them and ask yourself these questions:
- Navigation: Can I easily navigate around sites they have done? or client’s sites?
- Is there any broken images?
- Is there any broken links?
- Is their style what I am looking for?
- Are their pages consistent when using Firefox and/or Internet Explorer?
- Is the information easy to find?
- Are things aligned properly?
- Are there any spelling errors?
- Is the text sized properly?
- Do the pages load fast?
– Now, ask yourself…is the answer “YES” to all of these? If a designer can’t build their own site properly, can you really trust them to build your business’s site?
– Now, it’s time to visit some of their customer’s sites. Do you see any designs that strike your fancy? Can you visit several client sites and see consistent quality, attention to detail and eye appeal?
– Now lets look at their experience. Have they built any sites for competitors of you? If so, how did they do? Good job?
If their website has testimonials, read them and find out what clients thought of the skills and services of the Web designer.
Single Designer or Design Firm?
Now, ask yourself, do I want to work with a single person or do I want to work with larger company. The benefits to each are difference and you’ll quickly find that both offer excellent services. Usually firms will charge more, but the positives are they you can hold them more responsible for not getting your design done properly or on time.
It’s now time to put together an RFP (Request for Proposal) and learn more about their abilities.
The Request for Proposal
A request for proposal (referred to as RFP) is an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. Webdesign in this case. A bidding process is one of the best methods for leveraging a company’s negotiating ability and purchasing power with suppliers. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront. The RFP purchase process is lengthier than others, so it is used only where its many advantages outweigh any disadvantages and delays caused. The added benefit of input from a broad spectrum of functional experts ensures that the solution chosen will suit the company’s requirements.
There are some basic questions you should ask, information you should provide and resources to include in your RFP.
- A detailed description of your business
- Summary outlining your company
- Client information and target markets
- Sample URLs of styles you like
- Your logo, branding, product details and images.
- Time lines and technology requirements(database needed?)
- Do you need:
- website hosting
- content writing
- advertising ideas
- marketing ideas
- monthly or weekly maintenance
- Budget for the site(s)
- Terms and conditions
Working Through and Reviewing the RFP’s
Once you can get the RFPS back, make sure you look closely at the pricing, timelines and guarantees. Some web designers will “nickle and dime” you for this and for that. Make sure you are getting exactly what you are paying for. Try not to select a designer on just a low ball pricing alone. Make sure you are getting what you pay for, plus what you actually want.
- Ask questions and review the all content, feedback and testimonials
- Do a search for bad info on the designers you are considering
- Contact and check all references
- Ask the designers for a few references and call them.
- Talk to previous clients and ask important questions:
- Is the prospective designer polite on the telephone?
- Did they deliver websites on time for previous clients?
- Does the designer listen and work with your needs?
- Did the pricing change through the design?
- Was the pricing in-line with other client’s sites?
- Did they treat you well along with others?
- Would you work with the designer again?
- Did they deliver what they promised?
- Are they pleasant to work with?
- Were they reliable?
- We they professional?
- Did they return calls or emails promptly?
Never be afraid to contact a previous customers of a prospective website designer, it’s common place nowadays. In fact, they usually want you to do your homework so you know a little more about them. Email them, call them, get all the info! You can usually just get all the info from the designer’s portfolio online. Designers are not shy with this information.
The very last thing you want to do is get together with them(if you are going with a designer that’s close to your proximity. Based on the references, portfolio, examples etc that you have found, now it’s time to look closely. Don’t be lazy at the amount of work it might be, you will find that it’s worth all the work you put into it and you will get out exactly what you put into it. Remember, you are relying on a designer to convey your message online, wether it’s an online business or just a personal message.
About the Author: Tony Eden is the president of AR WebSolutions, Inc. He runs the design company of www.3MultiMedia.com and www.SurfCityHosting.com. He has created over 300 websites in his 10+ years of designing websites.