Choosing a web designer

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How to Choose a Web DesignerIf you’re thinking of updating your website – or building a brand new one – you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Do you do it yourself, using one of the DIY website tools like Wix or Weebly, or do you engage a website developer? There are many developers/designers out there to choose from. But how do you find the right one?

Working with the right designer can transform your marketing and boost your online presence. Working with the wrong designer can be a logistical and financial nightmare.

Just as when hiring a new employee, it’s a good idea to interview a number of candidates, review a number of portfolios (never choose a designer who doesn’t have a solid portfolio of work to show you) and contact references before making your final choice.

With that in mind, here’s five key questions to ask when seeking a web designer:

1. Do you want to work with a local provider?
There are excellent web designers located all over the world. With phone and Internet access, you can work with a designer who’s across the country or on the other side of the globe. You can often get a better price if you work with someone further away, but how comfortable are you with that arrangement (especially for ongoing communication, drafts and payments)? How important is it to have face-to-face meetings?

2. What is the cost estimate and how will the billing process work?
Depending on what you’re looking for in terms of capabilities, (e-commerce, blog, new domain, creative graphics, integration with other software etc), the price will vary, but once you discuss what you need, your designer should be able to give you a firm cost.

Ask if the designer (or team) will bill hourly or for the entire project, if there will be payments made as key milestones are reached, if an initial deposit required, and what will happen if the work is not done to your satisfaction or starts to go over your budget.

It’s also a good idea to establish how you’ll communicate with each other during the design process. Will you have a weekly meeting or call? Will you get email updates on progress? How often will you see a draft?

3. Has the designer worked in your field or industry before?
How much does the person/team know about your company or industry? This may or may not be critical, but you’ll definitely need to make sure they’re asking the right questions about what you want to get from your site, what your goals are and what needs to be conveyed to your website visitors.

4. How will updates work in the future? Can your team make them?
Your website should be flexible and grow with your business. No matter what kind of site you have, you’ll need to make changes once it’s live. Announcements, new products and services, changes in staff, etc., will all need to be added or updated. If your designer uses a blog/CMS platform like WordPress, someone in your organisation should have access to the Admin section and be able to make basic text and image changes. Determine who will make changes in the future and what the cost will be.

5. What’s the time frame?
Make sure you’re clear from the beginning about your deadlines. It takes time to build a high-quality site – especially if you need e-commerce capabilities – but it’s important that both parties are clear on the schedule and what will happen if deadlines are not met. Keep in mind, too, that you’ll often be responsible for providing images and text information for the site, so be ready to hand that over in a timely manner.

Still have questions about choosing the right web designer for your business? Contact Breathe Marketing today.

PS – Happy with your current design, but concerned that your website isn’t working for you as hard as it should? Before you do a complete redesign, consider doing a full website audit/analysis to determine what really needs changing. Sometimes content updates alone can make a huge difference in results. Contact Breathe Marketing today to ask about a website audit.


Anna Nixon-Smith

All stories by: Anna Nixon-Smith