Hiring a Web Designer? 5 Questions to Ask.

Hiring a web designer can involve some uncertainty. You have a vision for your business, your brand, and your site. You need an expert to help you bring that vision to life. But how do you know that your expert truly is? And if they are, how can you tell if they’ll understand your vision? In an industry where prices vary significantly – and so do results – how do you know if you’re paying the right price for quality work? Here are some questions you should ask your web designer before signing the contract.

What’s your process?

Hiring an expert to build your site should involve the right kind of collaboration. Getting a great result with a custom site is going to involve teamwork between you and your expert of choice. Know in advance what that’s going to involve. Not only does this tell you whether it’s going to be a good match for your needs, but you can also plan for when your participation will be critical to the process.

It goes without saying that the process should involve a good information-gathering conversation at the beginning and regular opportunities for communication and feedback. Find out what they are so you know what to expect!

How do you stay current?

The digital realm changes rapidly. New device technology (Hello, 4k displays!), new tools, new trends and more mean that the techniques to make a great site today may not be useful in a year or two. Find out what your design company does to stay fresh in the industry, from design to development.

What do you specialize in?

The best design companies have a clear understanding of their target client and audience. Some specialize in a particular industry. Others specialize in a particular aspect of online services. Understand exactly what you need and whether the company you plan to work with matches up in what it offers.

Red flag: Beware the one-man developer who tells you he or she can do anything you need. Online marketing and site design are complex fields. Doing a great job requires staying current on marketing and design trends, speaking fluent code AND fluent consumer AND fluent client, and any relevant tech knowledge has a limited shelf-life. It’s possible for a company to excel in all these areas, but not a single individual.

What comes after we launch the site?

Your site will continue to need updates and TLC after it launches. Don’t get stuck going it alone, or leave your site out there to grow stale. Ask your web design company what plans they offer to help you keep your site relevant, and continue to grow your online presence.

Understand what your own availability looks like, too. Just like the project was a team effort, the ongoing site maintenance should be, too.

Can you show me some examples?

The proof is in the pudding. Make sure to check out the site portfolio. Are the examples there the kind of website you’d be proud to own? Do they all look identical? Find out if the sales process matches the result.

Pro Tip: If it’s not clear from the portfolio, ask the company to tell you which sites launched in the past year or six months. Skills and teams change over time, and you want the samples that will best reflect what you can expect. Check their reviews, too.

Knowing the right questions to ask can help the process of hiring a web designer feel less intimidating and provide better results.

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