One of the hardest parts of getting a website is working out how to find and commission a good web designer. Here are some tips to help you commission a website designer to suit you and your small business.
Be clear about the type of website you need. If you produce goods you may want an e-commerce website to sell your products online. If you provide services, you’ll probably need a brochure website to present your company professionally and provide information and a point of contact for your potential clients.
Will you need the designer to run the website for you or are you planning to run and update it yourself?
Ask for recommendations. Ask colleagues, friends, your social media connections and anyone you meet at networking. You’ll soon find that few names will rise to the surface.
Once you have a shortlist, look at their portfolio and case studies. Do you like their style? Do they always produce the same thing or can they tailor what they do to meet the needs of their clients?
Are their prices transparent? Think about your budget. Be realistic. A professionally-built website is an essential investment but you will be better off commissioning a great one page website that will represent your business properly and can be developed in the future than an amateurish multi-page site.
Do they have a good track record? Read testimonials & reviews. Look for patterns in what their clients say about them. Look for feedback regarding their communication, professionalism, meeting deadlines, and overall client satisfaction.
Stalk them on social media. Okay it’s a bit controversial but I’m talking about their business related socials not their holiday pics. How do they interact with others? Do their former clients engage positively with them? Do they write informative posts? Are they helpful when people ask them questions?
Request an informal chat. Do they seem genuinely interested in helping you? Do they ask searching questions to understand your business? Do they seem professional? Do they communicate clearly or do they use jargon you don’t understand? Do you come away from the call clear about how they could help you?
Ask for a written fixed price quotation. Is it clear what is included and what isn’t?
Do you understand what the process and timescales will be?
Do you feel comfortable with them? Are they easy to talk to? This may be the most important step. You will be working closely with your website designer for weeks or sometimes months. Are you confident and excited to work with them?
Do you know what will happen once the website is published? Will they provide an ongoing service? Will there be charges going forward?
When you have made your choice, ensure you have a clear, written contract which outlines the scope of the work, the cost and who will provide what by when.
It’s reasonable and normal to pay a deposit but don’t pay the full amount up front.
Trust your instincts and choose a website designer who not only possesses the necessary technical skills but also understands your business and can work with you to create a website you’ll be proud of.