So you need a a new website. You need to know how you can choose a web designer. The short answer is, “it depends on what you need from your website”.
Now that may not be the most convenient or helpful answer, so please bear with me while I explain.
There have never been more web designers available in the world to choose from. However, you may feel that it is actually more difficult than ever to choose which one you will go with for your project. In addition to the millions of web designers out there, there are dozens (even hundreds) of web design tools available to create your website. So let’s get to the nub of it.
A few initial thoughts on what to consider on how you choose a web designer for your project
Some people ask a friend that they know who is “good with computers” to “knock up” a website for them. This may work for some, but to get the best project outcome, you have a better chance of succeeding if you go with a professional web designer.
“But don’t professional web designers charge a fortune?”, I hear you asking. So some do, but not all. There are many small design agencies that are willing to work at reasonable rates for small businesses and startups. Probably the first question that a web designer will ask you is is, “what is your budget?”. Although this may seem quite direct, it is actually a helpful piece of information in deciding what can be delivered within your budget. So don’t break out into a cold sweat what this question is posed to you.
What are 10 things that you need to know on how you choose a web designer?
- What do you want you website to do? You need to have sat down and thought about this before you approach a web designer. The reason for this is that there are innumerable choices available to you for your website. These could range from the basic to the complex. For example:
- Will you be selling on your website? If so you will need ecommerce functionality and a payment processing service such as Woocommerce.
- How many pages do you need your website to have? This will be a consideration, especially if the pages have different design requirements. This will require more time on the part of the designer and will add more cost to your budget.
- Will you be updating the web pages with information or creating new ones on a regular basis? You will need a Content Management System. Which one of the dozens (or hundreds) of Content Management Systems will you need? This is something that you will need to be clear on. I encourage you to do some research if these thoughts have not crossed your mind before.
- Of course, another important consideration is that you will need to have thought about is how much you wish to spend on the project. The costs of the project will come from several sources of which the web designer is just one. For example, you need to consider licences for software that will most likely be required to integrate with your website. I will cover the costs to consider for a successful website in another more detailed article on that topic.
- What hosting will you require? This is an important question. Your choice of host could make or break your website. The hosting service that you choose will need to have as close as possible to 100% up time. It will also need to be able to handle the traffic requirements that you expect to throw at it. For example, a basic hosting account may not be sufficient for a busy ecommerce website. You will need to research this as it will come up in your meetings with the web designer.
- If you will be regularly updating the website, what Content Management System (CMS) will you choose? There are a myriad of choices. However WordPress is by some distance the most popular CMS. There are others of course such as Joomla, Drupal and many others. It is advisable to familiarise yourself with what is available. This will influence your choice of web designer as most specialise in one or the other or possible 2 or 3 but not all the SMS solutions that are available.
- If you intend to sell on the website, what will you be selling. Will you be selling physical goods or will you be selling digital products? The answer to these questions will affect the backend solution that your web designer implements for you. Your decision will need to be made early on in the project life cycle so that this information is included in your project requirements. Project planning can then be done to facilitate the delivery of the functionality that your website will contain.
- What do you want your website to look like? This may seem to be the most obvious question and which you might have thought would lead off this article. The truth of the matter is that your website frontend will change as time and tastes move on. The backend is where the hard work is done and so it is fine to be clear on what you need the website to do before you discuss what it will look like. This is of course in my himble opinion. However, this is not to say that the front end of your website is not important. far from it. The look and feel of your website is what will persuade visitors to carry out the actions that you need them to carry out, such as purchasing your products.
You need to have an idea of what you like, but be open to suggestions from your designer. In preparation for your meeting you will need to look to websites that you like and the elements on these that you find attractive and desirable. This will be a great help in reducing the time that it takes to produce the user experience that you wish your website visitors to enjoy.
- What does their portfolio look like? Yes, always ask a web designer to provide examples of their previous work. Tastes do differ, so it is good to ascertain whether the taste of the web designer is in harmony with your own. For example, some web designers prefer clean and minimalist design with lots of white space, while others prefer colourful and flamboyant web designs. Reviewing the portfolio of your prospective designer is a good way of knowing whether you are on the same wave length. That being said, most web designers are able to move comfortably between styles and will be able to accommodate your ideas and wishes
Thanks for reading! The above is my opinion of 10 important things to consider when you are thinking about how to choose a web designer. It is not a comprehensive list however.
Can you think of anything else that we have missed based on your own experiences and learnings? Comment below and let me know.