Say you’ve left your stressful corporate job to start your own small business in the spirit of entrepreneurship and for want of more time to do what you enjoy. Fine and good, so now that you’ve established most of the basic necessities for the business on the ground, the office, the equipment, the system, the contacts, etcetera, the next challenge is to market your small business and look forward to expansion. To do this entails more than putting up a sign board and distributing leaflets or flyers. In today’s digital age, it means making a website for your own small business.
But how to choose a web designer? Well, there are individuals out there who, believe it not, make a living out of designing those websites you visit and here are some possibly helpful considerations on how to choose the best web designer to help you.
Chances are, what you’ll do is initially ask your immediate network of friends or acquaintances if they can recommend a web designer. Another method is to post your request for proposals (RFP) on the various web designs forums or sites. You could ask on LinkedIn or socials or ask for web design proposals.
Come Up with a Design Idea (Or List Down Other Websites That You Like)
You need to have is at least a vague idea of what you want your site to look like based on the nature of your business. This is so that you can immediately express your ideas to whichever web designer you choose. If you can’t come up with a vague design idea, at least identify websites that you like.
Narrow Down Your Web Designer Candidates
Once the pool of proposals arrive from different web designers, the first challenge is to separate the strong from the weak, so to speak. As you read through the proposals, you’ll encounter those who can communicate their ideas effectively and chances are if they can do it well on paper, they’ve got a fair chance of doing the same to your website.
Conversely, discard those proposals which didn’t adhere to the requirements you indicated on your proposal or seem too casual or laid back. The former would indicate that if they can’t follow those basic instructions, I doubt you’d have an easy time discussing your ideas with them; while the latter would make them appear unprofessional and lax, remember that you’re paying for a professional, not just a part-time designer.
Do a Background Check on Your Designer Finalists
Following these guidelines, you should then narrow down your choices into the top three-five web designers and this is where research comes plays an important role. Now how to choose which web designer you should hire?
Check their qualifications by finding out how long they’ve been in the industry, and review their portfolio and previous work, see if what they’ve done in the past meet your standards and expectations. Be sure to check their references, take the time to contact former clients through or phone or email stating your intention to hire a specific web developer for a project. Ask for feedback such as promptness of work, communication and listening skills, post development support and other relevant items.
If you’re reviewing web design companies, this is one instance where size doesn’t matter; smaller companies are more likely to prioritize your project because they are hungry for recognition and expansion. Similarly, academic degrees are important but they aren’t the be-all-end-all of web design as organization, an eye for detail and creativity often stem from within.
Lastly, be sure to check if their previous project adhere to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards of web design. This so you can be sure that your future site won’t have incompatibility issues with different browsers and other similar problems.
There’s a test which can be done to check this, just visit http://validator.w3.org/ and paste the address of the desired page and see whether they pass or fail the test. If they pass, good, and if they fail, well that means its time to move on to the next designer in the list.
Determine Your Budget and Negotiate with the Web Designer
Once you’ve done your research and determined the pros and cons of each prospective web designer, it’s time determine your budget. The asking price of the web designer will play a crucial role in your decision making so be sure to ask around for the going rate for web design projects and from there, reconcile this with just how much you’re willing to spend to build your website.
Some web designers will charge by the hour others are based on the project load. Each of these have their relative advantages and disadvantages, hourly rates usually cost more that project based rates as when delays occur, whether or not they are intentional, they still come out of your pocket. This can also lead to the slow pace of the project, the longer it takes to finish the more you pay.
Similarly, the project based rates will mean that designers will most likely take short cuts to get the project done as soon as possible which may compromise the quality and integrity of the site. There’s no point in you paying less for site but having to spend additional amounts of money just to fix the bugs which arise.
Hopefully, these tips can guide you on how to choose a web designer to set up your website for your small business. Discussions on dealing with your chosen web designer and design considerations are covered in a separate article so stay tuned.
Published by Lauren Clarke