If you are on the prowl for someone or some organization to design or redesign you or your organization’s website, it may be both comforting and daunting to know that your choice of designers is at an all time high. From freelancers to marketing firms and everything in between, there are thousands of people ready to sell you their skills. The question is not where to look, but how to choose the right web designer for you.
There are two major factors that you will want to take into account when selecting the right web designer for the job; namely your needs and their organizational structure and skills. If you have not done so already, take a moment to write down why it is, specifically, you want a website; what will you want it to do? What is your niche? What is your market? Who are your competitors, and how are they attempting to tap into that niche? Do you have a particular brand or image you wish to associate with your products or services? It is best to have firm (though not closed) answers to these questions before approaching a designer. If you know what you want, it is much easier to determine if a particular web designer or web design agency can and will give you what you seek.
With your wish-list in hand, it is time to find the right web designer. The first decision you will need to make here is whether to go with a freelancer, design team, or marketing firm. It is difficult to generalize about any one of these, for there are both very excellent and talented freelancers as well as very bad ones. The same might be said for design teams and even marketing firms. However, here are some things that you will want to consider and investigate.
First, it is important to know if you are dealing with a web design company or a marketing agency and graphic design organization, for the latter often sub-contract web design work. Generally this is not a problem, although it does put a set of people between you and the designers, which may become tiresome, especially on larger projects. A web designer worth his or her digital weight should have a handle on e-marketing design and tactics. If you take the time to find a reliable individual or firm, it should be possible to bypass the marketing agency and still obtain a quality, competitive design. Freelancers are often less expensive, and have the advantage of dealing with only one or a handful of people. However, a freelancer is just one person, and this one person may not be available all the time should problems arise.
Other factors to consider when considering web designers include their portfolios, whether they use templates or original designs, the extent to which they will be able to promote the website once it is designed, the size and client list of their organization, and their ability to both give you what you want and to provide suggestions and ideas of their own based on their own knowledge and experience. Last, and definitely not least, is customer support and response time.
With the Internet being the delocalized entity that it is, it is not unusual for a web designer to perform work for a company either out of state or abroad. While a local designer makes face-to-face meetings easier, the same things can be accomplished with email, the web, and phone. However, if at any point during the selection or design process you feel that the designer or his or her company is anything less than consistent and open in availability, it may be wise to consider alternatives. One thing to look for is whether or not the company is willing to provide you with access to immediate customer support via telephone or chat. When and if something does go wrong, e-mail technical support can move a bit slow.
These were just a few things to watch for and consider when choosing the right web designer for you. Other things you might include could be the designers’ web site’s Google page rankings, or whether or not customer support over the telephone is toll free and available all of the time. The most important thing to do, however, is to seek as many estimates and proposals as possible. The more candidates you field, the better your chances of hiring the right web designer for you.