Hiring A Web Designer

Hiring A Web Designer

A web site can help you expand your business, but getting one up and running can be a major project. Below we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started and steer clear of pitfalls.

Step 1: Research

Before contacting any web site designers, you should have some idea of what you’re looking for. A Google search of your industry should list a number of companies similar to yours. Browse these sites, and notice several things.

  • What kinds of functionality do the sites have? Are they purely informational, or do they offer features such as online shopping and response forms? “It isn’t good enough to have a nice-looking site; one must have an effective site.”
  • What do the sites look like? Do they use photographs or illustrations? What colors do they use: Bright colors, such as yellows and reds, or subdued colors, such as blues and tans? “Clients should pay attention to how a web site speaks to the target market.”
  • How large are the sites? A very basic site may have just a few informational pages (such as a home page, an “about us” page, an “employment opportunities” page, and a “contact us” page). A more comprehensive site may have numerous pages describing individual products and ecommerce functionality.

There’s no one way to create a good web site, so make a list of those you strongly like and dislike, and note why you feel that way about them. This list will be very useful to your designer as they try to create a site to match your business and your vision.

Step 2: Prepare

Once you have an idea what you like and dislike about other web sites, determine what information your web site should contain.

  • Make a list of the information you want to appear on your web site. For example, you might require an “about us” page and “product description” pages.
  • Write as much copy as possible before contacting a web designer. You can always modify it later if necessary.
  • Determine if there is a corporate image or brand already created, such as a logo, standard fonts, and standard colors used in printed materials. If not, will creating this image or brand identity be a part of the project? If so, be sure to discuss this with the web site designer before you’re given an estimate.
  • Decide if there will be interactive elements on the site, such as forms, polls, votes, and reviews.
  • Decide if you will you be selling products online.
  • Will the project involve application development, such as online event registration, inventory management, quizzes that show results or calculations, and password-protected registration systems? “Often prospective clients don’t understand that the development of database-driven applications and features drive up the cost of the project”

Make a list of these items. It may also be helpful to include a.) a brief company description, b) information about your target audience, c) a paragraph or two about what you wish to accomplish with your site, and d) what features on your list are necessary and what features are just ideal.

“While this does take some time, it’s a necessary procedure to ensure proper handling of your request”

Step 3: Compare

Once you know what you want, you’re ready to shop around for a web site designer.

There are many ways to find designers: If you like a particular web site, look for the name of the designer in small print near the bottom of the home page, or contact the company and ask who designed their site. Ask colleagues, vendors, and clients for referrals. A quick Google search is often times the easiest way to find a designer. You’re already here so why not contact us and see what we have to offer.

Review the web site designers’ online portfolios. Do you like their graphical style? Do they have experience creating the features you want?

Next, send your list of requirements to one or two designers. Ask for a proposal and estimate for the entire project. Review each reply and note several things. How professional is the reply? How long did it take to get? How thorough is it? Be sure you know exactly what is included. Are there additional fees for imagery? Who will make updates to the site? Who will host the site? Who will own copyrights? How long will it take to complete the site? What are the payment terms?

There’s no single way to choose one web site design company over another, but to provide some assistance, we suggests you remember that great web site design companies are a combination of graphic, technical, marketing, and consultative skills. “When contrasting one company versus another, find out what the design process is”, so you can “identify if you are dealing with a company that will deliver what it thinks is right for you or one that will take the time to truly understand the scope of the project and the market.”

As for cost … We suggest that before automatically going for the lowest bidder, you ask yourself : What is the cost of a bad or mediocre site in terms of corporate image, revenues, and opportunity losses? “This is a risk that must be calculated” , “Your web site is your company’s identity exposed to the world, and it’s hardly something you want to take chances on, so take this very seriously.”

Step 4: Enjoy your web site

If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve probably located a designer and your web site should be well underway. Good luck!


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