Ok, you`ve decided that you need a web presence, or your old web site needs to be updated, or you need more traffic or features, etc.
The good and the bad news is there are so many people and companies offering web design services. How do you find the one that`s right for you and avoid getting ripped off?
We`ve all heard about people that pay for a website and never get one completed, or even started, or the resulting site just doesn`t perform as anticipated. As a web designer, those stories make me ill.
In general, follow the same method you would use to hire or retain any other "professional" for yourself or your business. Talk to them, get samples of their work, and get references.
Talk to the web designer
I think this is a critical step. You can get a feel for how the designer will communicate (and work) with you. As a designer, I think it`s important because it allows me to learn about the potential client, their business, their goals and expectations. This conversation enables the designer to better formulate a web solution to achieve your business goals.
Tip: The designer should ask you questions about your business, how you do things, and your thoughts for the future. Also, try to avoid talking with any "salespeople" they aren`t the ones creating your web site.
View their work
Most designers will have a portfolio of their work, depending upon how long they`ve been in the business. While their portfolio may not relate exactly to your business, it can provide some idea of how "professional" their end product looks. Ask to see more recent sites which may not be in their portfolio. Does the designer specialize in certain types of sites or do they have a diverse portfolio? If you need an ecommerce site, have they done any?
Tip: In general, if a designer only has done web sites for lawyers, it doesn`t mean he/she couldn`t create a site for another type of business. But if they have not done any ecommerce sites, understand they would have to "learn" on your dime.
Certainly ask the designer for references, understanding that he/she will give you "good" references. If they have a portfolio, go to those sites and contact them to ask about the designer. Tip: You want to discover how the designer is to work with, how long the project took, ask if they would use the designer again, etc. Also, you might just search the web for the designer`s name/web site followed by the word "complaint" to see if anything shows up.
Selecting a one person design or larger firm is not as important as how they will work with you.
Price - ok now the big question, cheap or expensive? You usually get what you pay for, and good designers are usually busy and know their value. Prices for web design vary greatly and depend on a lot of factors. Personally, I`ve priced ecommerce sites lower than normal because the job was to create two ecommerce sites (like a volume discount).
vwebworld10/31/2008 2:57 PM
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