Starting, opening, running, and operating a small business comes with many demands. Time demands, monetary demands, and of course a million decisions that need to be made. One of the more important tasks is generating sales leads. Getting your product or service to the right customer. There’s no better way to achieve that then having a great functioning, and looking, website.
How do you build, launch, and maintain a great website with all the other demands of your business? There’s only one logical solution. Hire a web designer. But with all of the web designer services out there, how do you pick the right one for you?
Setting your Budget and What you Need Done
The first and most important step is determining your budget and figuring out the scope of your work. There’s no industry standard or normal pricing for this work. However, the larger the web design project the more it’s going to cost you.
If you’re just getting started, you might only need a simple setup. A home page, about us, contact page, and pricing for services. With a limited need like this, your budget can be on the low side. Your budget will still determine the overall quality of your design and ability to upgrade it in the future.
Down the line you may want to add a running blog or testimonials from your clients. If you choose a low budget web designer, the code and layout will not be built to handle your new additions. This can wind up costing you time and money down the line.
If your needs are a bit more advanced, your budget should increase to accommodate that. How do you know if your needs are more than basic? If you need a database to store and look up data of any kind. If you need an e-commerce store front. If you need your customers to interact with the site in any nonstandard way. These would all be tasks that would require a larger budget than you expect.
That being said, there’s a lot of affordable options regardless of your budget. In fact, there are many low budget options that can produce great quality! Just make sure you follow the rest of our advice below.
Find Examples of What you Want
A web designer (any web designer) is going to be able to give you what you have in mind, when they can see what you have in mind. An easy way to do this is by starting to gather up examples. Having other websites they can use for a frame of reference goes a long way in developing your perfect website.
Having examples helps you pick the right web designer for you. Once you’ve gotten a list of web designers in your budget for your desired webpages, you should look into their portfolio of previously completed work. Compare and contrast what they’ve done before and what you’re looking for to find the perfect, or close enough, match.
Look into their Additional Services
Many web designers will have a list or be able to provide a list of their other services. While you might not be immediately interested in what else they can do aside from designing the look and feel of your website, it should play into which web designer to pick. Down the road when your business needs to expand you should have a good idea of what it will cost you to add on an e-commerce store or to provide simple maintenance to keep the site looking clean and updated.
Know What you Don’t Need
There are many services web designers offer that you may not need or want. Some business owners will want to update and maintain their own website after the designer is finished. Some will never want to touch the website themselves. How does this designer leave their project? Do they guarantee maintenance for the next year? Do they leave a template for new pages? These are important things to consider based on what your path moving forward after the web designer is finished.
Ask Questions and then Ask More
Lots of perspective clients of web designers are timid when it comes to asking questions. They worry about offending a potential designer or getting a bad name by asking tons of questions and then not booking working. To get that match made in heaven of a web designer, you need to stop being a cowardly lion.
Web designers know that it can be hard to find the right balance of artist talent and technologic competence that you’re looking for. It’s ok to ask about what languages they’re familiar with. About their past projects and how exactly they were done. It’s just as bad for a web designer to be stuck with a client that they can’t satisfy as it is for you as a client to wind up frustrated with your designer not giving you the results you’re looking for.
You’ve found a small list of web designers you like, at your price points. You’ve looked at their past projects and highlighted what you liked. You’ve asked about their technical knowledge and knew they all can do the job you need done. But what you don’t know is what happened behind the scenes. Did one of the designers take a lot longer than originally promised? Were there communication issues? Did the designer off load the work onto a coworker that was not who you originally talked to and hired? There’s one surefire way to find out all the monsters that were under the bed with these web designers.
Ask for References. While the designer will give you a list of clients that they’ve had the most success with, they’re going to be honest with you about the designer’s short comings. There’s no incentive for them to lie and tell you about how amazing the designer did when their business was negatively impacted. They’re going to tell you what they wished they knew before hiring the designer.
Hiring a web designer can feel a bit daunting. If you follow these steps, your process will go smoother than expected! Both you and your new favorite web designer will be happy with your choice.