What to look for when hiring a web designer

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By A Digital N.E.R.D

Hiring a web designer is not always the easiest task in hand but it’s a necessity in this digital-age.

Kudos: You’ve accomplished so much with your business by having the common marketing tools such as business cards and pamphlets but you’ve missed the most important start-up marketing tool; Your Website. 

Your website, known as your virtual storefront and virtual home for your brand, is how your brand will be presented to the worldwide web. 

Whats the next step you ask? Obviously, you want the best possible website, so now you need to reach out to a website designer/developer for assistance, but how do you find him/her? 

A quick Google or Bing search?

Nope.

Here are some helpful tips that may make your digital marketing steps easier.

 

  1. Ask Around

Instead of that random Google search, it’s time to use your network to find a web designer or web developer.

Ideally, you want one that comes highly recommended from someone you know.

There are tons of web designers worldwide that can help you create a website, but if you are the kind of person that wants to sit down with someone in-person rather than on Skype, your network might be the first place you start looking.

If you can’t find someone local, or you don’t mind hiring someone virtually, then you can tap into the online web designer pool to find a good match.

This is where Google can help: 

Better yet, find a website in your industry that you like, and contact the web designer’s and/or developers directly. Most designer’s and/or developers leave a little “Designed by” link at the bottom of websites where they can boast!

2. Understand your website goals and priorities

Before engaging a web designer/developer, ask yourself: will your site sell products and/or services, or will it exist to simply provide information?

A web designer/developer can assist you answer questions like this one, but they will most likely have a consultation fee attached to the answers.

You can also, search online for websites you like and ones that could potentially represent your brand from an image perspective.

This is also the time you will begin to draft an outline of what you want your website to accomplish, but we’ll get into that later.

For now, figure out why you want a website in the first place to create a starting point for your project.

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3. Create an Idea board

Idea boards can assist you decide the look and feel of how you want your business branded. There are different ways you can create an Idea board; you can choose to create one on Pinterest or go with a tangible whiteboard or pin board you can find on Amazon which you can hang somewhere in your office space.

The main objective of your idea board should be to incorporate typefaces (fonts), colors that you’d like to use, graphics or images along with slogans and/or phrases.

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4. Make a Design Wish List

Do you need a designer/developer to create a website from start to finish?, or do you currently have a website that needs revamping? Both are two totally different discussions: one concentrated on making and executing an idea while the other spotlights on improving your current website.

On the off chance that you don’t have a website at the moment, make a list from your idea board including the amount of pages, headers, cta’s, menus, and anyof your visual components you plan on utilizing on your website.

Make sure to include any/and all social media links/buttons and/or brand icons you will utilize to market your company online. Once you gather these digital assets your designer/developer can give you an estimated time and budget you will require to complete your ideas unto a website. e

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5. Create a Budget

Consider that building a website is like building a digital home: Cost can’t always be anticipated. 

Don’t let this fact shake you up;  just be prepared!

The best thing you can do is your research to find out what the going rate is for a website with all the ideas from your idea board. 

One way to find this information would be to ask local business owners in your area who they hired to build their website, and the total cost involved to do so. If you find yourself in-love with a specific website that isn’t local, you should reach out to the website owner and ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing the contact information of their designer/developer. The website owner will appreciate the compliment, and most likely will share their contact information.

Knowing your budget is one of the most important items to figure out.

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6. Give Each Web-Page A Purpose

How many pages should your website have? What is the purpose of each page? How much content, or images on each page, do you think you’ll need a graphic designer?

These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself before Connecting With a web designer/developer. SAVBEN also offers Marketing Consulting services for a small fee. 

Still don’t know? 

a good approach to this is to find existing websites in your industry that you like the look of and then try to emulate (not copy) their design/flow to create something with your creative ideas.

If you don’t know how many pages you’ll need, start with these five pages that are commonly used:

  • home
  • service/product
  • about 
  • Resources/FAQ
  • contact

Your website can be a fluid-marketing vehicle for your brand, in other words, you can update your website as time goes on to keep it current, which is what SAVBEN will do for you on every build. 

Something to Keep in mind is; making any significant design changes to your website will require additional work for the designer. In other words, you will require more money in your budget for a designer to update your site. The objective should be to develop a threshold website that you can easily update with content and doesn’t require any structural changes.

Gather Your Copy

You may be surprised to know this, but it’s best to have the copy for each individual page good to go before your developer/designer initiates the work on your website.

These aren’t just suggestions; it’s imperative to have the final finished copy for your website. If you find it difficult to write about your business then it’s surely best to hire an outside copywriter to handle this task for you. 

Your goal should be to have this final copy to the designer at your initial meeting. This helps the designer that way they can design around it. By having your polished copy you will save money since the designer doesn’t have to walk you through copy creation, and it will help speed up the process overall.

7. Have a Creative Process Before the Meeting

It’s possible you are already creating and managing your marketing material by utilizing tools like Google Drive or Dropbox to manage your files. Since seamless online-collaboration is key when working with a web designer/developer, generate an online folder to begin gathering your ideas and saving key elements of information we will need to access for your project(s).

These are some of the items you will want to add in this online folder:

  • Your Copy

A shared file is an excellent way to create draft copy for numerous people to review simultaneously. By utilizing software to keep track of changes to the online document, team members can view changes made in real-time. This is a great way to speed up the development process.

  • logos, stock Images, graphics, and pictures

Any image you own for your site belongs in this shared folder. How does one own an image? We’ll address  that below in the next section. 

  • Website sitemap

Do you remember when in school you had to put together a draft outline prior to writing your story? Well,  the website sitemap is the same concept you require when creating your website. This makes sense because this is your companies digital story and helps you envision the way your websites story will go not to mention it helps in the future with SEO rankings.

Each subset of this sitemap typically includes the name of each while giving you a sense of your sites layout.

8. Web development agreement 

When creating a website, it is important to have clear details of the project so you and the designer are on the same page relating to expectations. Because you contracted a designer/developer your knowledge of websites doesn’t compare to theirs know that you may not understand the time involved when creating a website.

Imagine:

You might think it only takes a few weeks to design a website and make it go live. Although, the truth may be, the creative process may take several months based on the specifics of your site.

Before the work begins, create a mutually-beneficial agreement that outlines the terms of your project. This should include the budget the timeline, and also the expectations of communication during the project.

In other words, do you want progress reports weekly, or bi-weekly? How often will you catch-up? Do you prefer email, text or phone calls? 

Understanding each other’s expectations will help ease any stress the project may cause. Maintain the focus on creating an amazing website.

digital-marketing-agreement

9. Round up the images

You should round up the stock images, including photos, logos, illustrations, for your website. Now we get to where copyrights exist. The images on your website require to either be created by you or obtained through professional designers or purchased outright.

So, what does this mean to you? Well, it means you don’t use pictures from random websites and then utilize them as your own! Don’t worry, there are numerous ways to acquire the visual assets you need for your site:

You can take your own pictures or hire a professional photographer to get the right shots you need in high quality.

Purchase stock photos from Adobe Stock, iStock or similar services that sell images for commercial use.

Hire a designer to create custom illustrations for your website

Images will tell your brands story as much as the copy on your site. Assure yourself they look professional, captivating, and brand-specific to have the most impact.

10. Establish a Launch Plan

Once your dream website is ready, what’s next?

As you begin designing your website, you must think of how you will use it to your advantage once it’s complete. Some owners create an event out of the launch of their website to generate some hype about their brand. Others rally up their top customers to provide testimonials on their new website via copy or video content so they, and these customers, have something to say and share on social media.

Once your website is ready for attracting new customers, remember these 3 things:

It’s Grammatically Correct          

Check, double check, and then re-check it to make sure there are no spelling or punctuation errors. You don’t want to lose a potential customer by making a poor first impression over a typo.

Your Links Work

Do you have an email capture on your site? Assure yourself it works by having your friends and/or family submit emails through the site. If your site has an online store run several test orders through to check your system is working correctly.

It’s Mobile Friendly

How does it adapt?

You want your visitors to be able to easily scroll through the phone on their mobile devices. Make sure to view your site from multiple devices in order to see how it looks and test the functionality of the website.

Send your website link to your friends and ask them for their opinion regarding how it appears and works.

After you’ve addressed these 10 points, you’re ready to hire a web designer/developer. At this point they will have the information they need to design and you will get what you want: an amazing website that didn’t break the bank.

Disclaimer: The Blog has been created with consideration and care. We strive to ensure that all information is as complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Despite our continuing efforts, we cannot guarantee that the information made available is complete, correct, accurate or up-to-date. We advise – the readers should not take decisions completely based on the information and views shared by SAVBEN on its blog, readers should do their own research to further assure themselves before taking any commercial decision. The 3rd party trademarks, logos and screenshots of the websites and mobile applications are property of their respective owners, we are not directly associated with most of them.