Most organizations today require an online footprint in order to survive and thrive in the increasingly interlinked world of today. You may be a small local business, an e-commerce player, or even a charity or a non-profit but chances are that without an online presence, you would not do half as well.
So, a quandary that many businesses are in today is what kind of online presence to have and who do they hire to bolster their online presence.
First of all, the question to ask is whether you need a website at all?
If you are a very small business with lesser money to spare, then local listings, reviews, and a functioning social media presence can prove to be quite adequate.
Also, this depends on your customer base. If your customers are generally from your own area, and you generally do not target customers from other parts of the city, region and country, then a customary online presence can work for you.
However, most people are in business or in any other activity to expand their user/customer base and for this the internet has emerged the best medium. For establishing a tangible presence on the internet, creating a website for your organization is the right way to go.
So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of web designers, developers, graphic designers, et all!
What we will focus on this post is to assist you in choosing the ideal web designer for your business.
bZird has been in the digital marketing field for more than a decade and has assisted hundreds of clients in promoting their businesses online.
Well, once you’ve decided to build a website for your organization, how do you hire the right person for this job?
Well, a web designer is an expert, who designs the interface of your website. You would have received hundreds of mails from companies selling you web design, development, and SEO services.
In such a situation, it is quite confusing to make an informed choice of trusted web designers to assist you in creation of your website.
Ask Friends/ Associates:
The first and the easiest thing to do would be to ask around among your associates, customers or even your friends for recommendations. The advantage of such a choice is that the designer would be tried and tested and vouched for by someone who you know. The disadvantage of such an approach would be, what works for someone else may not work for you. The bigger issue will come out to be cost. Such a local web designing service provider may be effective, but you could probably get the same level of service from someone who you find online at a fraction of the cost. For any business or organization, profitability or cost-effectiveness matters. This is true especially for a small business looking for a cost-effective web design solution.
Choosing your Web Designer Online:
The crux of what we are going to explain in this post is that how do you engage a web designer online to help you with creation of your online footprint.
The best way to start would be to scour the lists of web designers created by firms such as bZird, Techradar, and Clutch. They generally provide a list of trusted and competent web designers/ firms along with prices and also reviews. They usually rate web designers after obtaining market feedback and using their own analysis, so the web design companies on this list usually are pretty good. These lists can help you make a better choice, or shortlist at least 2-3 design service providers between whom you can choose.
However, sometimes even the players on this list may be out of your budget. Then also you have choices, remember those web designers who sent you the emails. You could check them out or even do a general Google search for web designers and take it from there. Check the online review and performance of any designer you think of engaging.
Buy a Combined Design Package:
For small businesses, choosing a web designer who will also build and maintain your website makes more sense as all these tasks require a lot of time and if you get it done from separate sources then it will be tough to coordinate and maintain quality.
Meet the Team:
Before you select the web designer for your business, it is very important to have a conversation with the designer and his/her team or the organization. This conversation or meeting can go a long way to satisfy your doubts about them. If you can actually meet them in person then there is nothing as effective than that, but an online meeting or Skype conversation can also fulfill the purpose.
Explain to them about your business model and your expectations from them in terms of cost and performance. See how interested are they in understanding your business and how clear their communication is. Check how upfront they are in explaining he cost and time that will be taken up in the execution of the web design. Ask them if they have designed websites for players in similar sectors and check the execution of those efforts.
See if they can provide any viable ideas after your interaction with them; this will give you a fair idea about their expertise and if they actually execute the process themselves or further outsource it to someone else.
The cost factor is very important because everything associated with a website has a cost right from design and creation, and after that maintenance, hosting, and even SEO. A web designer or a firm which explains these details in-depth is inherently more trustworthy than one who does not.
Check Portfolio and References:
You should also ask for references and check their web design portfolio. Talk with their past clients and you will find a wealth of information about the firm, its attitude to customers, quality of work, timely delivery, etc. While talking with their past web design clients, you will definitely get an idea about what to expect from your prospective web design partner.
The web design portfolio will tell you about actual execution of their work, and will allow you to decide whether their way of design is suited for your organization. Also, it will give you an idea about how successful the websites they designed turned out to be.
You can check the websites they designed on basic functionalities such as loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and ease of use. By spending some time over these sites and using tools such as Mozbar and ahrefs, you can check how optimized their website is for search engines and if it contains any glaring design errors or not.
Upkeep, Maintenance and Content:
Another thing to clarify from your web designer service providers would be to ask them as to who will maintain the website after they have created it. Most of them also offer maintenance and SEO packages which you can take if you want but there should be no obligation on you to do so.
You should also decide in consultation with your designer about your content strategy, because it is better to clarify earlier whether you are going to provide content yourself or you expect it from your web design service to supply content to your website. Also, it is important to regularly update the content of your website. Discuss with your designer your content strategy and define the scope of work. This discussion will probably involve details about the additional cost for providing the content; the regularity with which the content will be updated, and the quality of the content to be provided.
There should be clear communication between you and your web designer as to the actual cost, the time and the deliverables once the design process is completed. There should be also clarity on the cost whether it actually an estimate or the whether the design company will stick to its quote. This clarity in communication will save you and your web designer a lot of heartache later; as both of you would know clearly their job and deliverables.
What to Avoid:
On the web and on your email, you will get many emails and offers from web design companies promising you the moon and stars in return of your money!
Any web design provider who is not clear, makes unrealistic promises and is unable to provide credible references of his work is one who you should avoid. Depending upon your preference, it would be always better to sign a contract for execution of the web design project, but in our experience most small businesses avoid this; and thus trust for them is necessary. If you do not have a contract, make sure that your due diligence is thorough.
Generally for web design projects, designers charge an advance fee before they actually begin work, and you have to make the whole payment before they hand you control over the website. That is why in such a situation a contract is more desirable, as you can still enforce the law against any violation by the web design service provider. However, if you are not on a contract, it is better to make the advance payment amount much lesser. Periodic tracking of the design process is essential to ensure that timelines are honored and there are no cost overruns.
Well, after everything has been fleshed out properly, and the website delivered to you, check if everything is as promised and then you can proceed on your further online strategy.
If you have also bought a maintenance and content package, ensure that there are regular reports being sent to you on the progress achieved.
Thus, a good website designer can be hired from the internet to give your business the online boost it so badly needed, just following the steps detailed above