Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to hire a web designer

Is your company about to design a new website or planning to revamp your existing one? Finding a web designer to do it can be a challenging process; with so many to choose from. However, before you start looking around for one, you should already have a detailed understanding of what your website will be like. Take the time to plan your requirements for the site including the business goals. Some other questions that you should ask are:

• Is your website going to be powered by a Content Management System (CMS) such as Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla?

• Do you have a site map ready?

• Do you know the style including branding, logos and colours that your website should look like?

• What is your project deadline?

• And finally, how much are you willing to spend on your website?

Once you have created your brief, you can then start choosing a designer. Here are some of the points that you should consider:

Portfolio: A designer’s portfolio is the best way to gauge their experience and skills. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions about their work that is represented and make sure that it can be verified. Ask for client references and find out:

o what their professional relationship was like;

o was there open communication;

o was the project done on time and to satisfaction?

Also, choose the portfolio that has work similar in scope to your project. For example, if you’re looking for a Wordpress site, make sure that the designer you choose has done multiple Wordpress projects.

Style: Each designer has their own creative eye. This creativity can be seen in their designs - see if they are flexible in all their work, or does their work show the same, repetitive style?

Communication skills: For any project to be successful, there has to be clear communication channel both ways. Make sure that your requirements are understood clearly by the designer, and secondly, that the designer can communicate clearly any changes or problems that may occur during the course of the project. It’s better to over-communicate than make assumptions that could be wrong. There should be a process where both of you can easily update each other during the course of the project including having regular meetings. There also should be multiple ways to communicate with your designer, when reaching them is critical.

Are they knowledgeable: A consultant should always tie their services to the needs of your business. They should spend the time in learning how your business works, what you offer, and what kind of clients you work with. With that knowledge, they can design a site that will reflect your business and not what they think it should be.

How much does it cost? Get a full breakdown of the costs in creating your site. Features such as a blog, email newsletter system, ecommerce functionality and others should be listed in the quote including time taken, resources used and any sub-contractors hired. Understand their billing process – will they bill you monthly, or are payments based on milestones

Your website is essential to the marketing success of your business. By interviewing potential designers, you’re more likely to pick one that:

• Is skilled to do the type of work you want,

• Communicates and listens well,

• And is budget conscious.

By keeping these tips in mind when searching for a website designer, you should be on your way to starting a successful website.