How do you choose a Web Designer?

Its evolution. Simply put, every business needs a web site, for several reasons. If you are asking this question, you already know your business will need a web site, or it needs a new web site. Now it’s time to find the designer.

Before you even go looking for a web designer, sit down and determine what you need, what you want, and what you can afford. You know what kind of business you have (or will have) and you know what you what to offer people from your web site. Determine if you need a brochure site to promote your business or an e-commerce site to sell your products, and what types of add-ons you want (blog, newsletter, user accounts, forums, podcast, audio/video, Flash). The more you need + the more you want = the more it will cost.

Next you need to determine if you want to use a local company or designer or if you are okay with global pros working on your project. Both have benefits.

Check Local

You can go into the office with your notes jotted down and meet with a real live person to discuss what you need and find out what they can do and have done. If they have a local office, it means they have been around for awhile and will likely remain. You can check credentials and Better Business Bureau lists to ensure they are professional. But they are likely to charge more as it costs a lot to run an office. They may also only work with larger budgeted sites.

Check Global

No limits. You can find a web designer anywhere in the world. And the costs can vary widely from super cheap to extremely pricey. You can go for a large company or a single person. But be careful, sometimes not everything is as it seems. You may find yourself dealing with a 1 man operation when you thought you were dealing with a large corporation. When choosing a global pro, be sure to look at everything they have done and ask as many questions as you can to determine the legitimacy. Make sure you know who they are and what they can do with you.

Once you know what you are looking for, it is time to begin your search. Go to Google or your favorite search engine and do a search for what you need. Do not go with the very first result. click on every listing for the first few pages so you get a good feel for these types of sites.

Check First Impression

Once you have seen them all, narrow your search by choosing the ones whose sites you liked best. This is important because if you are unhappy th the site they use, you may not be happy with the site they give you.

Check Professional

After narrowing it down, investigate the sites. Go through every page, make sure everything works and there are no obvious typos. If they are thorough and professional about their own site, they will be with yours.

Check Portfolio

Make sure they have a portfolio and client list available on their site, and make sure it is current. If the portfolio looks like it has not been updated in years, the company may no longer exist. Check all the sites they have done to ensure they are professional, and make sure they have some designs you like.

Check Qualifications

After looking through the portfolio make sure there are sites in the portfolio or client list that they have done sites that have the same features you need on your site. If they have never done anything like what you need, it may be because no one asked, but more likely because it is not something they can do.

Check Contact

All companies provide you with ways to contact them. With global pro’s there is not always a brick and mortar office, so contact will usually be via email. This is fine, but it is always better when a company provides a phone number as well. You may never call, but it is always good to know there is a number incase you need it. When you do contact a company, ensure they respond to you in a timely manner. Waiting 2 or 3 business days is not acceptable. If they make you wait on the initial contact, image how long you would wait when working with them.

Check RFQ

Every company should offer you a free request for quote. Send an email to several companies outlining what you need, and what you want. You may want to keep your project budget under wraps until you hear back from the quotes. you may be shocked at the quotes, or you may be pleasantly surprised.

Once you have a few quotes in you can see what the budget looks like and you can now determine who to work with. Determine who has the best sites, can do the most, and do it for the best price. Once you have that, your ready to roll on your new site.

If you have doing all that right now and want me to quote for you, click here.


Myles O’Reilly
Creative Compulsions