Hiring a web designer or web design company to create your company’s website can be a solid investment for your marketing strategy.
However, finding a good and trustworthy designer who matches your working style and understands your needs without being a pushover is tricky. There are plenty of so-called ‘designers’ in the market that may live up to the title, so you need to be careful when choosing someone to do the work work for you, lest you end up getting less than what you’ve paid for.
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Here are a few key points to consider when selecting a competent web designer.
Decide how much you are willing to spend on creating or redesigning your website. If you don’t have any idea of how much a website may cost, you can ask a number of web design companies how much they charge for specific services, then determine the average amount that’s closest to your available budget. Make sure you also have an extra amount of expendable budget for contingency purposes.
If you’ve narrowed down your prospective designers, make sure they can provide you with references who can vouch for them. Or do your research independently and look for customer reviews online and offline. It also helps if you personally know someone who can give you firsthand information on how your prospects work.
Don’t be afraid to ask about the designer’s background, the size of their team, their best strengths and key weaknesses, how familiar they are with the latest updates in the field (you don’t want a designer who isn’t that familiar with SEO and responsive sites, for example), and how well they incorporate the newest technology into their designs. You can also ask to see their portfolio, especially sites that are similar to what you have in mind, and their most successful websites.
Content Management System
Find out if the designer’s content management system (CMS) is open source or proprietary. Open source software is free to use by the general public, while proprietary software entails a certain fee for more specialized functions. Also, ask about licensing fees because the designer might not bring them up until it’s too late for you to back out of the deal (in which case you’re dealing with someone dishonest).
Consider your prospective designer’s pricing scheme, whether it’s on an hourly or per-project basis. Ask about their payment policy and billing for extra features, as well as cases where projects go over budget and how they are handled. Remember, it’s your money so you need to make sure that all bases are clearly covered.
Ask the designer their estimated time it will take to design, build, and test your website. Include the time they may
allot for revisions as well.
Find out if your designer has a project manager to organize their workflow for you. This is especially crucial if your project is extensive and will take a significant amount of time. Also, ask the designer about how their team works so you have a basic idea of how smoothly they can run your project.
Although you ultimately call the shots, find out how much input you are expected to give, and how often. This will help you determine your designer’s ability to work independently while at the same time accommodating your needs and requests during the entire process.