When it comes to running an online business or blog, you can’t skimp on the design of your site. Face it – if the site is hard to navigate, not laid out well, unattractive to look at, nobody is going to stay on the site if the user interface and reader experience are crappy, no matter how good the content is.
Today I will share some tips on how to find a web designer that will maximize the potential of your site so you aren’t losing any readers or possible customers who are turned off by an ugly site.
Hiring a Web Designer
I am lucky to have a number of contacts who work in this field, and was able to pick the brain of a colleague who is a web design Gainesville FL expert. He said that the first thing that you should do is scour the web for companies that perform these kinds of services, as well as ask family, friends, and colleagues who have used this kind of work before. Word of mouth is a very strong referral, and you can get first-hand knowledge from a trusted person who has had experience with a certain company.
You should cast a wide-net and consider many different companies, and then narrow it down to a short list of potential candidates. Don’t just pick one company and go with them, you want to make sure you are doing your due diligence and have multiple viewpoints, expertise, and price ranges to choose from.
After you have a handful of “short list” companies, you should interview them. The biggest thing that you should ask for is a portfolio of past work that they’ve done. Take a look at what they have done for others and see what the work looks like. Do they make attractive sites? Are they well laid out, easy to navigate with a nice user interface? Have they done work in the past that would translate well to the site you are building?
Another thing that you should do is ask for references. See if you can be put in touch with some of their past clients so you can find out from them about how their experience was. Were they easy to work with? Did they deliver the project on time and on budget? Were they attentive to the task at hand, or did they need to be prodded along to keep getting the work done?
After you have these questions answered, you should take a look at the pricing and compare it between the different companies. The pricing structure can be laid out in many ways, so make sure that you know every detail and what you are paying for. Basically, what is in the scope of work. Do they offer ongoing support after the project is complete? Are they nickel and diming you or do they offer a full, comprehensive package? Make sure you know what you are getting so there are no surprises.
Armed with all the above information, you can select your web design company. Go with the one that best fits all of the above and you feel most comfortable with. I hope these tips have helped – good luck in your search!
For a related topic, take a look at my interview with a friend in SEO here.