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How to best choose a Web Designer…

September 10, 2012

Everyone knows how important it is to have a website.  The question is who do you use for your web site development.  It’s almost like a mechanic or a lawyer.  When choosing a web designer or web developer check out their credentials.  Look at other websites they have developed.  Call the people they have worked with and ask GOBS of questions.

There are several things you should consider when hiring a website designer.  First, do they have other sites that they have done that include the functionality that your site requires.  You don’t want to recreate the wheel.  If your site is an easy five page site and doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, you can have a site developed for you very economically. If you have a site that requires video, search integration, lots of forms and more, look for a website developer in Denver that already develops websites like the one that you envision.

We caution against having someone develop a site for you that requires a monthly fee to “rent” the website.  If you and that company have a falling out, your website falls out too as soon as you stop paying the monthly “rent”.  You want to own your website and have a developer that you can work with for years to come. Having a website designed costs more upfront, but will save you plenty in the long run.

Talk to your website designer about what they will do to initially put Search Engine Optimization into your site.  Yes, SEO is something that you should do on a monthly basis ongoing, but working with a reputable website designer that includes this will give you a jump start.

Be very clear in the language of the contract.  Make sure that your website designer includes a line item for each portion of the site that you are requesting.  Make sure all forms, videos, pages and more are outlined from the beginning.  Are pictures included in your website?  Do you need to provide them or will the website developer.  Do you need to hire a copywriter or will the website design company provide copywriting as part of the website?  Include time lines for you and the website designer.  Most website designs stall because of the client, not the designer.  Be sure you have the time to gather all the materials to send to the website designer in a quick fashion.  Otherwise, your website design will stall and you want this website to go live!

Be sure to talk about access to the website’s back end.  Do you want to make changes to the website yourself or do you want to the website designer to update your website on a quarterly basis?  How much will your website developer charge per hour to do this.  Make sure you get passwords that you can change for your website so if you do have to move your website in the future, you have access.

I know it’s tempting to hire your brother’s whiz kid son to develop your website for a few hundred bucks, but remember this:

Your website is truly your first sales person.  If it looks bad or doesn’t function correctly you have lost the trust of the consumer and they will move on in a heartbeat.  In other words, it’s more cost effective to actually spend some money on a website designer than lose the sales.

Don’t hire the first person you come across.  Yes, we have excellent website designers on but hiring a website company is a personal decision.  Our hope is that you have a relationship with your website developer for many years to come.  Personalities have to match.  Expectations have to match.  Meet with the website designer and their staff, discuss timelines and expectations, talk to their past customers and make an informed decision.  You wouldn’t hire a sales person for your business without thoroughly checking them out right? is a great start to finding a website designer, but do your homework too!

Many people hire the first name they come across. Few realize that hiring a web designer is just like hiring for any other opening. You must investigate and make sure the applicant is qualified. With that in mind, here are some helpful hints that will help you find the web designer that’s right for the job you need.

1)Decide what will be on your site.

Before you even start searching, you have to decide what will be on your site. Will it be an online store, a company brochure, or a informational site. This decision is crucial, because different designers have different skills which are suited for certain tasks, but not others.

2)How Much?

Before you start, you need to make a budget. Website Design should be treated no differently then any other expense. You need to see how important this project is for your company, and how much you’re willing to spend. Once you do this, make sure to let each prospective web designer know how much you’ve budgeted. It will make things that much easier for you and your designer in the long run.

3)Make sure the Designer can Design.

This is the most crucial, but often overlooked, part of the job. You don’t know how many times I’ve seen a web design company’s web page that makes me cringe. If the web design company can’t design nicely for itself, what makes you think they’ll do a good job for you? Also make sure the designer knows how to design, not just write code. A practicle example: I personally know HTML, the language behind web pages. What I lack is an artistic sense, as well as style. I can’t design web pages for the life of me, which is why I head the marketing department and not the production department!

4)Find out what you’re paying for.

Since this may be a expensive outlay for your company, make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for. Does the price include graphics design and copy? Who pays for the web hosting? Does the fee include periodic updates? The more you find out beforehand, the more trouble you save yourself before you begin.

5)Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If you’re curious or inquisitive about something, ask! You have the right to know everything your designer does, even if it takes them a while to explain it to you. After all, you’re paying for the service. If at ever the design company seems to be holding something back, be very wary. Anybody who is not upfront with you is bad news.

In the end, the most important thing I can emphasize is this: Choosing a Web Designer is a lot like choosing an accountant, a lawyer or a doctor. You investigate and find out more about them, and then ultimately you go with whoever you feel the most comfortable with. Just because it’s more technical, does not mean it should be any different then the offline world.