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Finding the Right Web Designer For Your Small Business

July 02, 2024

We’ve heard many horror stories from clients about their experiences working with different freelancers and agencies to build a website. We know the process can sometimes be frustrating, can negatively impact your bottom line, and lead you to consider committing criminal acts when you choose the wrong partner.

Finding the right team to bring your vision to life can be difficult, and should not be taken lightly. It’s a big decision and investment. Your website is an extension of you and your organization—it’s who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It needs to be functional and logical while maintaining the aesthetics and character of your brand. Working with someone who understands you and your vision, provides feedback and suggestions, and can bring it all to life in a reasonable time and on budget, is important. If you are ready for a new website and would like to avoid being the next horror story, we’ve put together a list of 7 things to consider when choosing the website design and development partner. 

What is Their Web Design Process?

Understanding a potential web designer’s approach and process to website design will immediately help you decide whether you are on the same page with them. Their approach should not be a one-way street, but collaborative. They should listen to your ideas, yet also have their own. You are looking to them for their expert advice in website design, but in turn, they should be looking to you for your expert knowledge of your own organization.

Potential questions to ask:

  • What does your website design process look like?
  • How interactive is the process?
  • How involved do I have to be? At what points will I be brought in?
  • What happens if there is scope creep?

You want to know they understand how to take your vision from beginning to end without loads of time spent going back and forth.

Do They Have a Great Web Design Portfolio?

A professional web design company should have its portfolio easily accessible for you to view, such as on their own website. At first glance, do you like their design work?
Does it look all the same? Is it all for a similar industry? It’s great if all their websites are beautiful, but if they all look the same or are all for say, clothing retailers, and you’re an accountant, the aesthetic and functionality may not be a fit. Aside from the overall look and feel of the site design; usability, accessibility and how users are to convert are very important. Do their websites have a clean and simple user flow? Are there calls to action on every page? Is key information buried, or easily accessible? Finally, make sure you can see these websites in action – ask for URL’s of websites they have worked on, play around with them.

Potential questions to ask:

  • Can you provide URL’s of websites you’ve built?
  • What industries have you built websites for? 
  • What is your design process? Your user testing process?
  • Do you use responsive design for your websites?
  • How do you make sure your websites are accessible to all?
  • What do you anticipate some of the website design trends to be in the next 1-2 years?

Does Their Expertise Match Your Project’s Requirements?

While this may not be important for all website projects, ask yourself – how complex is the website I want? If you are looking for a website that may include Customer Relationship Management CRM integrations, search engine optimization, e-commerce, etc., then you may want to explore your potential web designer’s experience and credentials.

Potential questions to ask:

  • What qualifications do you have that make you the best candidate to build my website?
  • Do you work with an in house team of graphic designers and web developers? Or freelancers?
  • What is your project management philosophy?
  • Will I be able to join your project management system?

Do Your Personalities Compliment Each Other?

One thing you may not consider is whether you actually LIKE the web designer or not. Keep in mind that you may be working with this individual for 3-5 months depending on the size and complexity of the project. They are going to be your new best friend.

Potential questions to ask:

  • How did you get into this line of work?
  • What do you enjoy most about building websites?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?

Does Your Web Designer’s Location Matter?

In today’s world, does the location of your web designer matter? We say no.  Because of the wonderful technologies available now, we are able to build websites for organizations around the world. But not all are created equal. You have to make sure that the provider you choose has the systems and ability to run a streamlined project. In our experience, having a solid understanding of project management and effectively using a project management system allows us to be able to work with any organization and work well online. Your partner should also be adept at holding online brainstorming sessions, using a proven process to bring your site architecture to life and able to ask the right questions. 

Potential questions to ask:

Where are you located?

  • If local: Do you book in-person or virtual meetings?
  • If not local: How do you communicate with us on the project

Is Their Web Design Pricing Reasonable? 

Finally, the big one. Pricing. As an organization leader, it is a best practice to get a handful of quotes from various web designers. But not all quotes are created equal, make sure to pay attention to the fine print and what is being offered:

  • Are they billing hourly? Or a flat rate? What is the hourly rate?
  • Is the pricing inclusive, or is it ongoing (subscription-based)
  • What is included in the quote?
    • SEO?
    • Testing?
    • Content writing?
    • Domain registration?
    • Hosting?
  • Does the quote include ongoing maintenance?
  • How many revisions are included in the price? 
  • What is NOT included in this quote that I should be aware of?
  • Do you own the final product?

We hope this helps you with your decision to hire a good web designer. It is important to understand the time, money and effort that it takes to build a great website.

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