Finding a reputable web designer

vwebworldvwebworld Posts: 40subscriber
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.
 

Get references

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).
 
~Roland
vwebworld10/31/2008 2:57 PM

Comments

  • infiltainfilta Posts: 8subscriber
    Roland, good points. As far as prices, my observation, bases on talking with clients, is that clients who never had a web site are deceived by online ads that tell you that you can get a good web site for $500 (e.g. Heritage Web design). So they expect your prices to be at that level. Now yes they can probably get something from a friend or nephew who started learning Photoshop and Dreamweaver 2 weeks ago for $500, but it will be waste of time and money and result will be absolutely inefficient piece of sh*t web site, not a tool for business.
    I also noticed that people who already have a web site for their business understand a lot better first how much value can a good web site have (and how disappointing for business can be having a bad web site), and secondly they understand better what it takes to make a good web site that will make money for the company.
    In my company we target the second kind of clients - the ones who already have a web site and need redesign or need another web site. As far as business owners who never had a web site before - I feel almost pointless even offering them anything.
  • SlowCookerMateSlowCookerMate Posts: 1subscriber
    Roland
    That is great advice.  I found my web designer by asking other people who they used.
  • redfishredfish Posts: 10subscriber
    I agree with infilta.  It can be frustrating doing the work of evaluating needs, speaking with the client, and putting together a design proposal, only to be told they were expecting a $500 price tag.  That`s not even enough to cover the theoretical of the design.  There should be hours of work put into the design before you even start to see it come together.  The last thing you want is a website that is built to not accomplish any of your goals.  That being said, we also prefer to do business with clients who have websites - for precisely that reason.  They already know what they are getting into.  However, we`re a small business, and I come from a small business family, so we reserve a percentage of clients as small business owners.  One of the features we offer is the ability to offset their web design costs.  We can`t make a site for $500, but we can finance you over the year instead of all up front.  The biggest thing for someone finding a web designer is don`t be cheap - and don`t entertain the lowest offer unless you`re willing to make huge sacrifices to your online business dealings.  Instead opt for a payment plan.  If they don`t offer it in house maybe try a small-business loan.redfish11/8/2008 12:17 PM
  • madelinekimmadelinekim Posts: 0subscriber
    You shared good tips for finding a reputable web designer. Portfolio should be checked, web sites that made by them for the clients. Check how the web site is being displayed in both the Firefox and the explorer. Because they don't display exactly the same in both browser.
  • littonbarneylittonbarney Posts: 0subscriber
    Find a reputable web designer is not difficult in this advanced technology time because more and more persons attract about this fields. If you want to hire a professional firm then first of all you search on internet it really helps in this.
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