Here are tips eight tips that will help you hire the right web design for your next project.
Many e-commerce and website platforms claim to be so easy to use that even nontechnical folks can create an attractive website. However, if you are like most people, you are still probably going to need some design help if you don’t want your site to look like everyone else’s.
So how do you find a good Web designer – an individual or agency who has designed in your preferred Web platform, has a great portfolio, understands your business and goals, but won’t charge you tens of thousands of rands?
1. Know what you want – and what you don’t want. Before you go looking for someone to design your website, make a list of websites you like and admire and why you like them. Pick a few you like for their aesthetic (perhaps it’s what you’re trying to look like), others for their workflow, maybe others for their functionality. This will help designers know your taste and goals.”
Also, ask yourself: “Do you want a highly visual, modern, trendy site?
Do you prefer a more traditional, conservative site?
Do you expect to make a lot of edits to the content regularly, or will the site only need to be updated by a developer once a year or so?”
Once you know what it is you want to create and how you expect to maintain the site, you can screen designer/developer candidates based on the scope and long-term vision of your project.
2. Check out the designer’s Web design portfolio/work. – Reviewing a designer’s portfolio and current Web design work is a quick way to determine if what they do suits your taste and matches what you are looking for in a website.
3. Ask for and check out references. Referrals from business associates whose websites you admire are your best source. ask for references from past and existing customers, and look at the sites they have designed.
Solicit recommendations from people you know. Find out if [they] would be willing to refer a Web designer/developer they’ve worked with in the past.” Ask “how well [the designer] communicated throughout the course of the project,” if the designer met deadlines and “whether or not they would work with them again.”
If your business platform has a partner network, start by researching its recommended partners. A good partner marketplace will have a variety of agencies to review, complete with examples of previous work, expected budget ranges and the industries they specialize in. And you know that they can design for that platform and are trusted by the vendor.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, be sure to speak with at least two former or current clients.
Timeframes for websites often extend dramatically, so it is essential that you speak to previous clients in order to understand if this was an issue for them. References can steer you away from agencies or individuals that are very good at selling but deliver projects poorly, or conversely, give you peace of mind [that you are hiring the right] website design company.
4. Make sure you hire a designer who has designed for your platform or CMS – or can help you pick a platform or CMS. Look for a firm that has expertise in building sites on the platform or CMS that you’ve selected (e.g., WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace, Laravel). Many of these companies also have partner ecosystems, so using a list of their partners as a jumping off point is a great way to generate a short list of [designers] that you know are properly accredited.
5. Have a realistic budget – and know what you can expect to pay. “The cost of website design is based on the requirements of the project, including the intricacy of the design, the number of pages and any special functionality. A basic, 5 to 10-page brochure-style website will likely be in the R2,500 to R4,500 range.
E-commerce sites with a bunch of products and integration to manage payments could range from R4,500 to R20,000 or more. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. Sure, there are R500 – R1500 website developers out there but quality may be sacrificed.
6. Discuss where the work will be done (local or outsourced) and who will be doing it. Always ask who is actually developing and coding the website, and whether they’re local or not. There is nothing worse than hiring a designer, then finding out the actual coding is done in India – and when something is coded wrong, or you need changes, waiting hours because the person who actually built the site is located internationally and there is a huge time zone gap.
To avoid this potential problem, ask to meet the team who would work on your project. You or your team will spend time with them, so it’s important to make sure they’re a good fit with your team. If working and meeting in person is important to you, then location of the agency also comes into play.
7. Ascertain whether the designer can meet your deadline(s), before you start work. Before you commit to a designer or agency, ask can you complete this project within my timeline.
Also, when discussing your project with an agency [or designer], make sure you’re clear on the scope of what will be delivered, the number of changes you can request, what’s required from your side to provide and the timeline for work to be produced.
8. Make sure you are the one who owns the design (and website content). Before you hire a designer or developer, ask if they are willing to sign over all intellectual property rights [to your site. This is important to know upfront, she says, because not owning the design and content of your website can prevent or hurt you from getting investment capital and when you go to sell your business. Any good freelance designer/developer or agency will sign over intellectual property rights. It’s common practice. If they don’t, it is a huge red flag.