How to Hire a Web Designer

So, you’ve finally decided that you want a site for your business? Well, there are a few important points to keep in mind BEFORE you make one of the most crucial choices for your business.

Choosing the right designer for your new business website:

In regards to choosing the right web designer for your website, you must always shop around first to take a look at each of the available choices. There are many web design companies out there to choose from. And the majority of them are pretty good at what they’re doing. 

Always ask to see samples of a web designer’s previous work and examine their portfolio. This will help you get a better feel for the style of sites any particular website designer is capable of doing. Most of the time, internet designers have their special style and you can easily see which designs they’ve done previously. I mean, it’s similar to some other artist’s style; you can spot their prior works based on the overall layout, color scheme, and over-all visual look of the websites.

Experience is also an integral factor here. The same as any other craft, internet designers get better with experience. So naturally, you’re going to be better off by choosing a web designer that has more experience under his or her belt.

Another essential point you should define is whether or not the web designer can make you a 100% custom website. Or will it be just a simple template web design which 100’s or even 1,000’s of people already have across the Internet? Pretty much, anybody, these days can create a basic HTML web page in Microsoft Word or Publisher and change the title of it to reflect their Branson business. However, you must ask yourself: “Is that what I’m searching for”?

Sites that are custom built will stand out more than the remainder of the fundamental template web designs that all these people are using nowadays. Customized web design will catch the eye of your potential clients and show them that you have a very professional web presence and you mean business.

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A lot of web designers these days decide to do the template websites for one of two reasons:

It is more economical to use a basic template web design. They might be lacking the essential skills needed to create a fully custom website. Whatever the case might be, make certain you go for a designer who is capable of creating a custom website design for you. It will inevitably cost you more for a custom made site. Nonetheless, it is worth the excess money spent. Trust me, in the long run, you will be a lot happier with your website if it’s a site that’s unique and made for only your business and not everybody else.

Communication using an expected web designer is also critical in the development of your website. You need to be clear and specify your aims up-front before you sign a web design support contract using a designer. Make sure you understand what you’re getting for the money and make sure you get it in writing! I have a 9-page website design contract I use every single time I design a brand new website. Included in this contract is an itemized listing of all work which is to be performed through the development of the site. Things like the exact number of pages, the exact number of images to be designed, whether I need to make a logo, the estimated time before completion, whether or not regular site maintenance will be carried out after the website is 6 weeks or one year old, etc..

Defining these things will help you in the long run and will also be certain you and the web designer are on precisely the same page.

I also use what I call my own “website design planning worksheet”. This worksheet gives “milestones” or deadlines for every stage of the web design project. Things like “In 2 weeks the general layout will be performed” and “fourteen days after that, the site will be coded and started” and then “In 1 month after the website is launched, we will assess it to see what needs to be adjusted”, etc. (these are just examples, by the way. The details contained in one of my actual worksheets gives exact dates and more specific milestones).

And what about the web hosting for your new website? Ordinarily, a web designer will offer some type of insight as to which hosting company they advocate. Web designers in general have a preference for a hosting company which they know is going to be a good option for your website and they should help you in making this choice.

Luckily, we have our web server here in Digital Spiral Web Design therefore we can perform all of the hosting ourselves. This is very valuable because we could be certain that the web server remains up and running and if there is any maintenance that needs to be carried out on the machine, we could do it ourselves promptly. Plus, we’ll constantly cut a bargain for our website hosting services to any new business which chooses us to perform their web design.

Will your new website require any technical internet programming? Well, the answer to that question is based solely on the requirements of your Branson site. What kind of site is it? Does this need a shopping cart to get e-commerce? Are you going to be implementing any special web applications or online forms for your viewers to fill out? Can it be a site that requires your viewers to complete registrations and register so that they can log in? If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, then chances are you’ll need a web designer who will also program.

Web developers and designers must be skilled in the craft of web PROGRAMMING (something that’s very different from regular web DESIGN). Web programming involves the implementation of various web programming languages such as JAVA, PHP, Flash, SQL, or.NET. Every one of these web programming languages requires highly skilled people to code them and develop web programs together.

I love PHP! I use it for pretty much anything. I won’t go into the details of PHP in this article (I would need to write a whole book about it to cover all of it). But with PHP, I can create just about any web application that is logically possible.

Thus, be certain that you choose a web designer who’s capable of communicating any particular functions your new site needs. This decision needs to be discussed and gone by any possible web designer you might use to make your Branson website.

And finally, you must always consult the potential web designer’s previous customers to be certain they give him or her a good reference. Remember it just like any other support. You will need to check a web designer’s references and make sure they can do exactly what they say they can perform.

So, just to summarize all the tips I’ve mentioned:

Ask inquiries questions, and more questions before you opt for a web designer. Clearly define your goals from the start. Ask to see that the web designer’s portfolio and samples of their previous work. Make sure they can assist you with choosing a web hosting provider. Get documentation to show precisely how many pages will be included in the project and the estimated period before completion. If your Branson site requires particular web programming, be certain that the designer can handle it. I hope this article helps anybody who is preparing to have a new Website designed. A good website can do wonders for your business!