Now that you have decided that it is time to create a web site for your business there are many questions you must answer. One of the most important questions is, “Who should create my web site?”
I like to use the analogy of playing music; in as little as a few hours, some people can strum a few chords on the guitar and play a song. But to really play the instrument and make it sing requires experience and understanding. Likewise, although there are tools which are readily available to assist in the process, effective web site design requires experience and understanding of many diverse areas including: marketing, Internet graphics options and limitations, effectively creating a site from the perspective of search engines, the differences and limitations of different browsers and computer platforms as well as knowledge of the software and coding required to install/configure/maintain modern websites and databases.
It is also vitally important that your designer understand you and your business and know how to most effectively communicate you and your uniqueness to your Internet audience.
Understand Your Needs
What do you want in a web site? What are your needs and intentions for having a web site? Have you checked other similar businesses to see what they are doing on the Internet? The more clarity you have about your intended results for having a web site, the more accurately you can communicate your needs to me and the more likely it is that you will achieve these results.
Is the designer experienced in web site design? How long has the designer been creating web sites? What is their background? How long have they been using the Internet? Three years is a long time in Internet terms. More than four or five years is a seasoned veteran. Ideally, your site designer has a variety of experience. I have been creating websites, managing hosting, and registering domains for over 20 years.
What are the designers strengths and weaknesses? The range of skills required for creating any type of web site is more diverse than you can imagine. If a designer tells you they have done or can do any project, I’d suggest you take that statement with a grain of salt. I specialize in custom graphics and logos. I strive for stylish pages that aren’t gaudy. I pride myself in quick loading web sites that capture attention immediately.
Is the designer easy to work with and talk to? Is she/he able to communicate technical information so that you can understand it? The process of creating a web site can often be overwhelming or some people. I have a long history of providing technical support to end users, and this experience helps me to better explain the processes and what is involved.
Look at some of their previous clients sites. Do they all look the same? Do they load quickly? Are they easy to navigate through? Do you like their previous work? Do they accurately reflect their clients’ business? Does the designer custom create each site or would they have you select from a list of prepackaged sites? How about the graphics? Were the graphics created to go along with the theme or were the downloaded from somewhere else on the internet and placed on the page?
What is your budget and what is the typical cost for the designer’s projects? As a generalization, the larger the company, the more they charge for their services (and often the more elaborate the sites they create.) Companies which create sites from a prepackaged template often cost less but don’t provide you with custom solutions which may more closely meet your needs. Site designers who are getting started will often create your site for a lower fee, essentially using your project to develop their skills. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Some designers charge a fee based on the entire project, or a fee per page. I choose to charge by the hour. Some pages are relatively simple, and some are complicated. Charging the same rate for each page doesn’t make sense to you as a customer or to me as a designer. Charging one fee for the entire site means that if the designer rushes through it, effectively he or she increases their profit. It also means he or she may be reluctant to add information or make changes, as that will extend the amount of time involved, effectively lowering their profit.
Your decision should be based on many of these important questions. Also use any other questions you find useful when hiring any other service business for a project. Comparing web site designers is sometimes like comparing bananas to bicycles instead of apples to apples. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
The selection of your web site designer is an important step in the creation of a successful web site. With time and patience, you too can join the huge list of businesses with successful web sites.
Contact me for a custom quote.