Choosing a web designer: Part One

A website can be a great tool for business, but if you go down the wrong path that is not a good match for your purpose and budget it can be an expensive and time consuming nightmare. So to help you out and to point you in the right direction, we have put together our quick guide of things you should consider before choosing a web designer.

Is the web designer experienced?

It’s important to look for a web designer that has experience. You can measure this in years, the quality their web design portfolio and by looking at the number of their clients.

Years in business indicates that the web designer is a successful, stable business and that they will be able to work well with your business. Number of clients indicates that the company should be very familiar with the full spectrum of website projects and won’t take on a project that they don’t have the experience in completing. It also indicates that they have had the opportunity to iron out their work processes and are familiar with deadlines and timeframes.

Three important questions to ask are:

  • How long has the company been designing and developing websites?
  • How many clients do they have?
  • How many employees do they have?

In order to try and save a little bit of money there is often a temptation to get your website designed and developed by a freelancer or a friend of a friends nephew that’s just graduated from university. Often freelancers just don’t have the experience they thought they did and what seemed like a money saver can become an expensive repair job as you will often need to start from scratch again.

Realistically a website is an ongoing project and it is important to partner with an experienced and established company that will be there for the long term and has the experience to offer you ongoing support and advise.

Can you see samples of their work?

It is important to review and see samples of the work and craftsmanship that the web designer has developed in the past. This will give you a good reference point for what they can do for you. It’s important in these cases to not only look at the quality of the design, but also the functionality of the websites. Any good web designer should be able to show you a large amount of work that they have done. This will be a very good indication of the service and quality that you’ll receive from their company and it’s a great place to start in terms of evaluating the company.

Along with this, it is also good to review any testimonials or case studies that the company may have from their clients. It is good peace of mind to know that their clients are actually happy with the service that they’ve provided.

Will you get support when you need it?

Does the web designer you’re purchasing the website from offer ongoing support? When you purchase a website, it is very important that you choose a web designer that offers reliable, generous and cost effective support on an ongoing basis. This is incredibly important because a website has a lot of different functions and aspects to it, and it helps to have professional assistance available when you need it.

Things you might need help with:

  • your emails
  • your domain name
  • your hosting
  • how to use the content management system of your website
  • ecommerce setup

Without good quality support, you can find yourself in a predicament where you need to then outsource to an additional developer to fix the problem that you have encountered. This can lead to an extraordinary amount of frustration, wasted time and additional expense on your part..

A story we hear often and our clients have experienced repeatedly is with freelance developers who start working on a project and are fantastic in the beginning, but within 6 to 12 months their enthusiasm and commitment wanes. Often they’ve started a steady job or taken on new projects and then old projects are not as fun to work on, or they don’t have time to work on them anymore. So make sure that the support is in place with a company that has support as a part of their business practice.

Read more in Part Two…

Choosing a web designer: Part Two.