So, how to choose a good web designer? You’re about to put the future of your business into someone else’s hands. Scary, huh? Hiring a web designer can be a bit of a minefield so how do you know if you’ve found the right one? Here is a list of ten things that you should broach when you speak to a web designer which will give you a good indication that they are the right one for you.
How much did the designer ask about your business? A good one will want to know as much as possible about you, your company, your goals and where you see your business developing in the future. Your website will not be a success or reflect who or what you and your brand are without this kind of discussion.
Look at the designer’s online portfolio. Is there a variation in the style and design of their work or are they pretty similar? If they are similar, it may suggest they use templates which means your business may be slotted into pre-existing work. If there is variety in design it’s an indication that your website will be designed specifically for you and your business objectives.
Is there a structured project plan with defined milestones, stages and processes? The devil is in the detail and any project should have structure for it to be a success and delivered on time.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Ask what can done about your search engine ranking. It’s no use having a beautifully designed site if it’s languishing on page 17 of Google where no one will see it. Lots of things influence search engine position and a good designer will know what these things are.
Ask what their fees are but don’t ask for an immediate quote. A good designer will ask for a consultation meeting before giving an accurate price in a written proposal. If an immediate final quote is given without you offering much information, ask how that figure was arrived at. For a simple, bespoke, target-driven, quality website expect to pay a minimum of £1500 to £2000. Obviously, the amount work and functionality that’s involved will affect the price.
How will you be invoiced? This will vary depending on the company you work with. Will there be a deposit? Are there staged payments throughout the project? Will you be billed for anything monthly afterwards? Is there an instalments option?
How will the site be maintained and managed after launch? Will you be able to do it yourself or will you need to keep going back to the designer for any changes you need. Ask what you think will be involved in maintaining the site. Also, ask if there is a monthly maintenance plan if you feel you won’t have time to do updates yourself. A good web design company will offer this service.
Ask who has ownership of the website after it has been built. It should be you. You paid for it.
Do you like them? This is important because after the project has finished you will continue to have a professional relationship with them. Do they ‘get’ what you’re after? Do they seem ethical and honest? Are they offering valuable advice and insight? Did you enjoy speaking to them? A website project can be a lengthy process and you will need to work closely with your chosen designer so getting on with them is vital.
Deadlines and milestones
Good web designers are booked up a few weeks in advance and will have several existing projects on the go. Don’t expect a fully bespoke website to be deliverable in a fortnight. The best things are worth waiting for so expect a project to last between 4 and 8 weeks for a quality job. Remember, you will have things like written content, images, blogs and testimonials to collate and will need time to do it. Insist on a series of milestones to be written into a proposal, what tasks will be needed to be completed by you and the designer and when.
An effective website is crucial to your business’ success. These guidelines should help you ask the right questions, find a designer that truly listens to you and your vision and, consequently, develops a website that works and provides a return on your investment.