Are you building a website for the first time for your business?
Have you worked with a freelance web designer or agency before and it was a bad experience?
Do you feel nervous or apprehensive when you think about spending a lot of money or hiring someone to help you with one of your biggest marketing investments?
There is a lot that goes into building a website and finding a freelance web designer or web design company can feel like a daunting task.
- What goes into building a website?
- How do I know if a web designer is really reputable?
- Am I being overcharged?
- What are they responsible for and what are you responsible for?
- How long should it take to build the website?
- How organized is the web designer or company?
- Are there benchmarks and processes so that all parties know what is expected?
- How well do they communicate?
When I owned my web design and development company the majority of clients I seemed to attract were those who had prior negative experiences with web designers.
It was like an epidemic… one after another came to me looking for guidance and help not because they hired bad companies or freelancers but because they just hired the wrong one for their business.
There are an incredible number of great web designers and web design agencies out there but weeding through to find the right one can be a challenge.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some tips and ideas on how to find a web designer that will fit the needs of your business and not just be a hired gun but also a partner with your business.
This is part one in a four part series.
How Do I Find the “Right” Web Designer?
Networking meetings, blogs, podcasts, videos… you can find a web designer anywhere, virtually any time. Maybe you’ve been referred to a web designer by a colleague or friend?
Finding the right freelance web designer or web design firm is a process that in many ways leads to a business marriage. The vendor you choose to hire may be with you for a long time to support what they’ve built for you or make regular updates on your behalf.
Learning to work with one another is critical to the success of the relationship which will be determined by the quality of the interview process. Think of it like dating or courting… you both have to figure out if you can live with one another or not.
But, how do you interview someone when you don’t know what they really do or what questions to ask them to determine if they are qualified to help you? At the same time will they interact well with you and your team?
Here is a short list of things you ought to consider before making the decision to hire a web designer:
- Plan Ahead – Don’t hire a web designer if you need a website in two weeks. You will likely overpay and rush the interview process and end up hiring the wrong person. Don’t rush into a business marriage! Take your time and if it takes eight weeks it’s better to get it right than rush it and end up with a twelve or twenty four month nightmare.
- Be Prepared – Know what you want and be ready to explain your business and what’s important to you and how you want to communicate through your website. (Learn more by visiting my Begin Here page and learn what is really important to a website – you might be surprised!)
- Come to the Meetings with an Agenda – Remember, you’re doing the hiring and it’s up to the web designers to educate and inform you. In order for that to happen you need to be in control of the meeting so you can see how they will work with you. If you don’t plan you reduce the likely hood of finding the right web designer for your business.
What to Look for When Interviewing a Web Designer
There are a few things you should be looking for when you hire a web designer:
- Personality – does the web designer match your personality and communication style? This is one of the MOST critical things to consider but also one of the least thought about by many business owners.
- Do They Communicate Well – How well do they educate, inform and share with their clients? You may need someone who takes the time to inform you and you need to know upfront if they are educators as well as doers or do they get frustrated by questions or have ego issues that will get in the way of your needs.
- Experience – How detailed is the need of your project? The less detailed it is the less experience matters and as a result the less expensive the project may be. Conversely, the more detailed and complicated the project is the more experience you will want the web designer to have.
- Knowledge and Training – Again, this is critical as your needs become more advanced and complicated. How much time do they spend reading, researching and learning new things? Web design is not a static field and it’s always changing. That means their knowledge and skills should be growing as well. Do they have the knowledge or the know where to get what they need in order to help you best?
- How Long Have They Been Around? – I’m not asking how long they’ve owned their freelance web design business or how the long the firm has been in existence. I want to know if they’ve been consistent in their craft or is this just a whim.
- How Well Do They Work With Others? – Don’t ask for references. Instead, call those who are listed on their website as clients (especially the ones who don’t have testimonials) without them knowing it. Learn from each one how they worked not only with their own teams but also with their vendors who may have been involved in the web design process for one reason or another.
- Payment Structures – Are they flexible with payment structures that protect both you and them? Do they want all the money upfront? If so, don’t do business with them. I always preferred to tie benchmarks to payments. There is a deposit and then there are payments along the way when a defined set of benchmarks are achieved. That protects you and them.
There are never any guarantees that you will find the perfect lifetime match for your business. However, there are a lot of things you can do to ensure you find the best fit possible.
The key is in knowing how to interview a web designer so that you don’t end up hiring the wrong freelancer or company and spending a lot of money upfront that will be wasted or lost forever; or worse yet leads to litigation and a nasty business divorce.
It’s your responsibility as a business owner to ensure you hire the right person or business to help you achieve your goals.
With that I have a tool to help you!
In it you will get:
- A detailed process on how to interview a freelance web designer or web design company.
- A web design survey that you can send your employees, colleagues or customers to learn how they think and feel about your website.
- An article titled “You Don’t Have to Be Ashamed of Your Website”
To get your FREE Web Designer Interview Process Kit simply click the image and fill out the form.
Next week, look for part 2 in the series titled “How a Web Designer Can Make a Profound Difference for Your Business!” In this article I will share with you how a web designer can help you as well as sharing what a web designer does and does not do and why.
If you have a questions, thoughts or want to make a contribution to this article, please share below in the comments and let’s have a conversation about finding the right web designer for your business.