Here are 5 tips to help you select the right web designer for your next project.
1. Do you like their work?
Most designers have an online portfolio to display work they’ve done for their clients; spend some time on their website getting a feel for their style and ability. Look at the quality, character, and diversity of their work. Visit the websites that they’ve designed (don’t just look at the thumbnails). Do the sites look professional and well put together? Is anything “broken” (text spilling out of boxes, images not lining up, menus displaying incorrectly, etc.) Are the sites intuitive and easy to use? Do they represent the company, style or industry well? Does the designer do creative things that fit that particular client? Their portfolio should give you a pretty good idea of their quality and if you like their overall style. If you aren’t impressed by what you see, move on.
2. Do they have an office?
An office doesn’t necessarily make a great web designer, but having an office is a clear sign of commitment to the business and to serving you. Offices also have much less distractions than the typical home, allowing the designer(s) to stay more focused and productive. And last but not least, it’s much harder for a designer to ‘disappear’ when a customer can easily visit them!
3. Do they charge enough to stay in business?
Beware of hunting for a great deal – sometimes things really are too good to be true. Sure, the guy down the street may be able to build an E-Commerce site for a few hundred dollars, but are they making enough money to sustain a successful web design business? Are they going to be around in 2-3 years to help you when you need to grow? It’s much like buying a car – do you go for the cheap lemon that’s going to let you down in a few months, or make an investment now for a high-performance vehicle that comes with great service and warranty? Look for a professional agency that uses professional programmers and designers, and rest easy knowing that your agency is prepared to be there for you in the future. It really will save you time and resources in the end.
4. Do they offer the features, services and expertise you need?
If you require something specific for your project, make sure the company can provide it. For example, if you want to edit your website on your own, make sure the agency offers that ability with their websites. If you need E-Commerce or special programming/features, check out the agency’s expertise and experience to help you with a project of that nature. While it may appear that your customized site is something that they can do, you don’t want to waste time and money when the project falls through in the middle. Check the agency’s list of services and their portfolio. Have they done similar work for other clients? If you’re unsure, speak to their clients and get a feel for how those projects went.
5. And most importantly… do you like them?
Don’t hire a designer without talking to them first. This is the most important part of selecting the right designer. They may have the greatest portfolio in the world and the longest list of big-name clients, but if you don’t like them, do you really want to spend a few months working with them? The interview will help you determine their attitude, character and their overall desire to help you. Do they seem genuinely interested in your project and business? Do they ask intelligent questions and help you think of things you may not have considered? Are they friendly and easy to get along with? Are they passionate about what they do? Do you get a good vibe from the meeting? These are all important things to consider because they are precursors to the relationship you’ll have with them later on.