Almost every article about hiring the right web designer was written by a web designer.
Why? Because good web designers have invested in building their skill-set and their reputation. They know their trade and what makes for a positive experience between a client and a designer.
As a web designer myself, I have heard my share of horror stories (i.e. missed deadlines, budget overages, poor communication and poor results) while meeting new clients. I may be the right designer for you, or I may not. Either way, I want you to have a good experience in planning and launching your new website. That is why I have provided a few tips below to help you not only eliminate the bad apples when hiring a web designer, but also pick the sweetest Honeycrisp out of the bunch. (As a Nova Scotian, I can personally attest that Honeycrisp are the best of the best when it comes to apples.)
1. Take a good, hard look at their website and ask these four critical questions:
- Is it aesthetically pleasing to you?
- Is the information organized in a way that makes sense?
- Is the content professional and of value?
- Is its navigation functional, including any links?
A busy carpenter often has a home filled with unfinished projects, but she’s not usually using her own home to attract clients. If a web designer tries to explain away an unattractive, unprofessional or poorly functioning website – run.
2. Look to their portfolio (and it should be easy to find!)
A designer’s portfolio provides a wealth of information about what you can expect they will produce for your project.
- Don’t just look at the pictures; click through the links and explore the websites critically for functionality.
- Variety in a portfolio demonstrates flexibility and likely a desire to create something that is client focused. Your business and your business goals deserve your own unique website – not a one-size-fits-all approach.
3. Have a conversation
Pick up the phone and talk to the web designer personally. Ask questions! If you hire him, you’ll be communicating with him on an ongoing basis for a while, so be sure he’s likable and that you feel confident in his abilities. Trust your gut. And yes, every designer should speak to experience and professional qualifications – briefly. However, if he does not spend most of the time asking you questions about your business and your goals, again – run.
4. When it comes to references, go right to the source.
Don’t just read the testimonials, ask for past client references. Then, of course, talk to those references. Find out whether the project was completed on time and on budget. Was communication timely and professional? And don’t forget to ask if she would feel confident in referring the designer to a close friend!
So…do your homework, and get ‘hopping’ and you’ll save yourself time, headaches, and some cold hard cash and arrive at a fantastic website that helps your business grow.