Choosing the best website designer for your business is a very important decision. First, do some research on them. Then, ask them questions and take notes. There are many website design firms available for you to choose from. Be weary of designers who offer incredibly low prices, because you may be sacrificing the quality of your website for a few bucks. You want to go with the best because your website will represent you and your business to the world, not to mention that your website designer is in part your business partner. You want to choose a designer that takes approaches the job professionally and takes your business seriously.
Like the owners of most small business, you probably have little to no website design experience. Building your website will take time and work, so choosing the right designer from the start is key in order to avoid do-overs which can be costly and time consuming.
What questions should you ask? The following list includes important questions to ask when choosing a website designer for your business.
1. What kind of web experience do you have?
It’s important to know what kind of design experience your potential website designer has. Has the designer created sites similar to yours? Do they have professional industry experience? If you want to sell products through your web site and accept credit card payments through an online store, it’s essential that the designer also have experience building ecommerce websites.
2. Do you have a portfolio?
An experienced web designer will have a solid portfolio of sites that they have created for other clients. Ask for the link to the designer’s portfolio online, or for links to the websites they’ve created. Take note of the look and functionality of each site; does their style appeal to your business needs?
3. Do you have any references?
Don’t be afraid to ask your designer for client references. The clients can give you an unbiased description of their experience with the designer or company. Were they happy with the end result? How long did the process take from start to finish? How friendly and responsive was the designer with questions? How much did they pay, and did they get what they paid for? Would they recommend them for website design services?
4. How much do you charge?
The most important step in pricing with any service is to make sure that all of the prices associated with the service are outlined and understood up front. Don’t agree to a deal until you completely understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Ask the website design company how they manage payments. If they respond in a professional manner, it’s a good sign that they’re approach to their work is also professional. If they throw out answers along the lines of “We’ll take care of that later,” there may be trouble brewing ahead.
5. Do you have experience with SEO?
Most small business owners do not have enough in their budget to hire a separate marketing firm to work on search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is imperative to the ultimate success of your website because it can determine the amount of traffic that it receives. A website designer that also has SEO experience will save you time and money in the long run. A good designer will know that the design and marketing of the site go hand-in-hand. A website designed for search engines with efficient code that utilizes cascading style sheets (CSS) is vital when it comes to getting your site indexed in leading search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
6. Do you have experience with social media marketing?
Social media marketing is very important in this age when social media sites are at the fingertips of millions of internet users. Make sure that your potential website designer knows how to work with social media websites such as creating a Facebook business profile, desiging a customized Twitter page, or creating an Instagram account. It’s essential to create a seamless look and feel for your business throughout these separate social media outlets, because your website and social media pages should complement one another and reflect the professionalism your business offers.
7. What is your design process like?
An experienced designer will know that there’s a difference between building a website and designing a website. Building a website is a more technical process, while designing a website is more creative. Many design firms specialize in website design which can even be done using pre-made templates and doesn’t necessarily require web development skills. Other design firms might build a website and outsource the creative portion of the project. Make sure you understand what the process entails for the designer you’re considering for your business website.
8. How long will the process take?
Once a designer or design firm understands the scope and scale of the project, they should be able to give you an idea about the amount of time the process will take. If you’re on a time constraint, the designer may be able to work with you to deliver the results you need within the time that you need it in.
9. What happens after the site is launched?
If your design firm does not offer website maintenance upon completion, you might want to continue looking. Most reputable design firms will offer “post-launch” maintenance for companies that do not have an in-house website professional. Do you want to be able to edit and maintain your site yourself, or would you rather have your designer take care of it for you as your ongoing website business partner?
Do your research before settling on a website designer.
Good designers are both technical and creative people that think out of the box. Finding a good web designer is getting more difficult everyday because many good designers are being snatched by agencies and large companies. They are overloaded with work and often don’t have the time or need to work outside of their company with freelance jobs. Make sure your chosen designer is reputable and fits the needs of your budget and business perfectly!