10 things to look for in your web designer
Use this checklist to make sure you hire a pro that you love for any web-based design project–whether it’s updating an existing site or setting up your online presence from scratch!
1. GET SUPER CLEAR ON YOUR NEEDS & WHAT YOU WANT YOUR SITE TO DO
Make sure you are 100% clear on what you need your designer to do! The clearer you are at communicating your needs, the better your web pro will be able to help you and give you an accurate estimate.
2. HOW TO FIND YOUR DESIGNER
- Ask friends who have websites if they can give you a referral
- Ask for recommendations in your social media groups
- Scroll down to the very bottom of websites that you like- many designers place a link to their website at the bottom of the sites they develop
3. ASK IF THEY ARE A GOOD MATCH FOR WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.
- Web designers and web developers often have different skills, design vs. coding. Can your selected designer design your site (make it flow correctly and look good) or develop your site (do the coding and make the design functional online)?
- Or can they do both? !
- If you love a designer but they don’t develop sites, it is sometimes possible to find a separate developer to work with them. Ask your designer if they have recommendations.
4. PLAN YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT
- Do you need help sourcing photos?
- Do you need to shoot video to have on your site?
- Do you need help writing your web copy?
It’s usually best to be clear on these things before you get started but your designer should also have recommendations to help you with this.
You should also be clear on your budget before you start interviewing designers. It’s definitely getting easier to design your own website these days with more and more great tools out there.
However if you can invest in your brand, your website is a powerful tool and your designer can get you where you want to be much quicker than if you just figure things out as you go!
Hiring the right designer can save you time (oh so much!), harness search engine optimization to get you ahead faster and should leave you really proud of your online home.
6. WHO IS GOING TO UPDATE & MAINTAIN YOUR SITE?
Be clear on whether you want to update and maintain your site or if you need your designer to do this. If you want your designer to set up site and then hand it over to you, be sure to ask them if they will train you on how to use site once it is complete.
7. ASK FOR A PROPOSAL
After your discussion with your preferred designer and looking through their portfolio, you should have a good idea whether they are a good fit for you. If you like the overall look and flow of their previous work then this is a good sign that you are off to great start!
Ask them to provide you with a proposal for your project, which should include details of costs and timeline.
8. DON’T JUST HIRE THE RIGHT PERSON – GET A CONTRACT!
Once you feel you are on the same page, it's time to sign contract. Make sure that your contract is very clear before any work starts. Set a schedule and know your designers turnaround times.
9. PAY A DEPOSIT
It is usual in the web design industry to pay half or even sometimes the full fee before any work starts. Most designers well need a deposit to place you on their design schedule. At this point you should know exactly when your project design will start!
10. HOLD ON TO YOUR TALENT!
If you love your site, consider your designer a part of your team and plan to check in with them at regular intervals. If you find a great designer, giving them regular design projects when possible will keep them involved in your business and see how things are going. This can really give you an advantage! Great designers will have good suggestions for how to update your marketing materials, as well as give you ideas for new site functions and features down the road.