Great advice Lucky. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Does anyone have any other tips or advice for creating/hiring website designers?
When getting a web developer its important to look into the following:
- Look at their previous work.
Most designers have a portfolio of work they have done before. Their portfolio will show you whether you like their designs or not.
- Ask what do they use to create the website.
There are many web development tools available online that can be used. The problem is many web design solutions require experience to edit. If the web designer/developer custom codes the site or uses a program like WordPress or Joomla, you will want to know if you will be able to edit the site your self or if you will need to hire someone to edit the site. A website you can edit on your own will save you money in web development costs.
- Does the developer respond quickly to your inquiry's?
Creating a Website can be time consuming. The last thing you want is to have long drawn out communications between you and the developer. The quicker a developer reacts to your inquiries the better.
- Do they meet Deadlines?
The worst developers make you wait and wait with no real goal for completion. Make sure the developer can complete the task on specific deadlines.
- Can they be trusted to access your server/personal information?
In many cases, developers will need to go on to your server where your web, database, and email files are stored. Restricting the developer can be difficult depending on the server environment that your website is hosted on. Make sure you can trust the guy or you can restrict them to only FTP and Remote MySQL access on your server. If they require too much personal information to develop then you may not want them to do the work.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for sharing such valuable information inmotionhosting!
- Look at their previous work.
I am Jason a web designer with many years of experience. As you mentioned above for clients is important to look at the designers previous work and ask some basic things about deadlines, do they know the latest webdesign trends etc. But I can tell you that many client don't know what they are looking for what they want. They just need a website but no further notion. A blog, an eCommerce site, a simple business page? So it's not easy for us to figure out what a client want. I would recommend to "clients", make some research, get inspiration and contact your designer with concrete ideas.
Great suggestion, Jason. I can see how it may be hard for a client to know what they want from their website if they haven't really spent a lot of time researching & finding out what their options are. Like most things, you can decide one day you want to have something, however, it takes a good deal of effort on your part to make whatever it is you want happen for you.
Many times, it helps to be able to sit down with your web designer in person. That said, if you can't it always is a good thing both you and the designer speak the same language, fluently which will curtail the opportunity for major communication gaffaws. Outsourcing, which has become very popular because of the theoretical cost savings to the client, is not always the best route to take, especially for someone who has not had a web presence before and is new to having one.
Next, it helps to know what kind of website you want, as has been mentioned. If you don't know what kind of site you will need, that will come out in the discussions. When you talk to your designer about your needs, hold nothing back; the more the designer knows about you and your business, the better your new site will look. The site needs to look like your product or service as well as have the look and feel of you, the client. The site has to present itself to the prospective buyer as if you are standing in front of them, making your sales pitch.
Designers need to be able to to switch direction if the need arises. Case in point, I am working on a site that was supposed to be an informational site and is now turning into an eCommerce site...not a problem. Why? Because we built the site with the ability to be flexible.
Lastly, although there are a lot of free, DIY site builders out there, you have a business to run and build, which is why you are looking for a web professional in the first place. If you find one who charges $200, then all you can expect is an "out of the can", generic (read Yellow Pages) website which will, in one way or another cost you more money in the long run. Hire a professional who is willing to work with you to make YOUR site yours, in feel and experience.
Having a web presence is not an overnight process, nor is garnering customers from having a web site something that happens immediately. The process takes time to get it right and it takes time for the site to do what you paid good money for. My suggestion here is to view your site as an extension of you and your already-established sales process. Think of your site as a 24/7 business card that has more information that a business card or pamphlet could ever have with more reach.
Remember that COMMUNICATION is paramount to having a good experience and a great web presence.
Michael Breslow, DigitalOatmeal
Thanks for sharing your knowledge & direction with us LordMerlin.
I am a local web designer and I help small business owners with their goals by listening to what they want to achieve with their website. Its not about having a great looking website if no one can find you and it does not promote what you do well with your business. You also have to know your target audience and appear to what they are looking for.
Check out my website for more information of Business Websites.
The problem is starting with the wrong assumption that things begin with web design. Many people think the first thing you do is web design.
An entire marketing plan should be in place before even thinking of design. You should already know the method you are going to use to close sales and generate leads. You should already know how you plan to drive traffic to the website, which social media sites you will use, whether you will be using video, free downloads, etc. to generate interest in what you have to offer.
The content can be put in as the site is developed or even after if the plan is already in place. The whole marketing plan is something you need to share with the designer. If they are good at what they do, they will facilitate all of the facets of your marketing plan while designing the site.
Whoever helps you develop that marketing plan should work directly with the designer to avoid poor communication which causes most problems during the design process.
If you have the whole picture in your mind before you start, it's much easier to be successful.
The mess happens only when you know nothing about website or WWW Rules & regulation, firstly hire a good web designer, then get your website listed on some online sites which shows low error, fatal errors, coding error, internal linking error, and weather it obeys WWW or not.
If all this goes good off course you have a great website built & it will also be GooGle Friendly.
As soon as you say the word "website," people start to groan.
One recurring horror theme is, "My web designer didn't deliver." Or, "I spent xxx thousand dollars and my website is a mess." Or, "I've got a pretty site but it's not bringing me business."
You can almost always avoid these horror stories when you create the message and copy before talking to a designer.
When you hire a web designer it helps to know exactly what to ask for and to speak their language.
When you write copy, offer to include instructions to the web designer. Both client and designer are grateful. Competent, ethical designers will tell you they love working with business owners who arrive with their copy.