Website Design: Do You Really Need to Hire A Web Designer?
Website designers are a unique breed of people. They are able to marry the technical skills of the Internet and media with your design requirements. They are also savvy business owner’s themselves who can relate form, functionality and style for your website.
However, do you really need a website designer?
That’s a complex answer. If you’re just starting out, it is best to educate yourself about such website subject matter as HTML and CSS. For now (also later), you want to stay away from Flash websites. Having the basics under your belt will help you later. Just like any new subject it requires some time to learn. You can’t expect to know everything all in one go, or expect that someone will be there to help you every step of the way. If you’re familiar with hiring new employees that process of determining whether they’re good at what they do will always be there; more importantly, having background knowledge will enable you to better judge your requirements and their abilities later.
If you have a website and the design is outdated, a website designer may be what you require to give your website a fresh perspective. As stated earlier, stay away from flash websites. While they look amazing, they do nothing for the search engines. Search engines ‘see’ a flash website as a total blank page.
Here are 5 tips to help determine if the website designer is for you:
Ask To See A Website or Websites They Have Designed
Designers expect you to ask about their portfolio. In fact, they are proud of their portfolio. They want to showcase their work and talk about their accomplishments. That’s good news. Find out what types of websites that designer created so you can see if that’s what you want. If the designs look the same, then maybe you don’t want that designer. If they have used flash extensively, maybe you don’t want that type of designer either.
Your Designer Should Ask Questions
Your designer should perform a needs analysis – either free of charge or for a minimal fee. Don’t accept that they require 25% for just looking into your website! Good designers will either have you fill out a form that lists what you’re looking for and what you’re trying to accomplish. A good website designer will also ask if you have any websites that relate to your business that you like and more importantly why. This is important. The designer will then get a feel for what you’re looking for while at the same time focused on how you wish to present yourself and your product or service to your customer.
The website designer cannot guarantee that the website will attract customers. The website designer will guarantee that what you’ve asked for has been delivered. You may be responsible for checking that the spelling is correct and that everything is aligned to your liking. Read your contract and make sure you understand EVERYTHING before you sign it and hand over your money.
Many website projects can go over budget simply because you haven’t given all the information that the website designer requires to pull your website together. The more time it takes for you to give the information to the website designer the less time you will have to spend on your project. Some designers will nullify the agreement and take the money you have already given (called a ‘kill fee’). There is no recourse from this. Bottom line: give your website designer all the information they require as soon as you can.
Your Feedback and Input
Your feedback and input should be important to the website designer. Ask them how they handle positive criticism. Ask them what bothers them about customers. They’ll be very surprised you asked and how they answer will give you an idea of what to expect. This is very important. If you are unable to communicate your concerns, why would you choose that website designer? Further, if your feedback and input isn’t considered, what else isn’t being considered?
Businesses that are just starting out, should take the time to familiarize themselves with the tools that make up the Internet and websites: HTML and CSS. This gives a solid foundation and will allow you, the business owner the opportunity to be able to judge what you’re being told and what to look for in a website.
Business owners that already have a website and need a new and fresh website should readily determine how the website designer can help them and their qualifications.
These 5 tips will enable you to make better choices on your decision to use a website designer. Don’t settle for what you’re told. Ask questions, use your judgment and ask about a guarantee for the work, not what the website can accomplish (your responsibility) and you’ll be on your way to having a well designed website.
At Freestart.com we have years of experience designing websites for over 20,000 clients. Visit us at www.freestart.com to find out how we can help you acheive the web presence you deserve.