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The hot topic on my plate right now is website design. I have two clients going through a website redesign, plus we are in the midst of a total redesign here at JJS Coaching. Picking a designer for a business website can be a daunting task. It’s easy to feel intimidated when shopping around for a designer. Here are some guidelines to help you in your process.
1. Take a look at the web designer’s portfolio. Every designer has their own style and you will see if that style fits your needs. If you LOVE the company’s website and their portfolio then this may be your designer. If you don’t love the look and feel of the designs, then move on.
2. Dig a bit deeper than the looks. A web designer understand your website goals if they are going to create a site that works for your business. So find out about their process.
a. Do they have a client assessment of some sort to help define the style?
b. Is there some sort of discovery call where you discuss the website goals and how they can help you achieve them?
(On a side note, have you already defined your website goals – aka what you want your website to DO for your business)
c. Does their package include time to train you how to edit and update the site?
d. Is there a limit on revisions of the initial design? (3 or 4 designs are typical, revisions – changing that design till it’s just right – are usually included)
As the business owner you need to give as much input as possible to make this site a success.
3. Make sure you will own what you paid for. At the end of the process you should own all copyrights and files. You are paying a designer for their design work. Just like you still own your car after you take it to the mechanic, you should own everything from your website after its design.
4. Own your domain name. If this is a new site make sure YOU own your domain name. You can purchase that even before you contact a designer.
5. Manage your own site. Y you should be able to go in and update the text on your site whenever you want without having to pay the designer to do it. Make sure they are using Content Management System (CMS) or blog software, so that you can control updates.
6. SEO – Search Engine Optimization. While not all designers specialize in SEO, make sure your designer understands your SEO goals. You want them to install whatever plugins are needed to achieve those goals.
7. Get references. Do not hire a web designer without talking to their past clients. It’s not just about how beautiful your website looks. You want to know things like
a. Was the site delivered on time?
b. Were there any problems with the site?
c. If there were problems, were they quickly and satisfactorily resolved?
d. Was the designer unable to do anything requested of them?
8. Connect with your designer. You must have a connection (synergy) with your website designer. They are going to take your thoughts and ideas and turn them in to something concrete (graphics and layouts). If you interview a designer and you don’t “click” they won’t be able to translate your thoughts in to something you love.
There are a lot of great web designers out there. Spend the necessary time to find the one website designer who will work the best for your business. A great relationship will give you tons of benefits for many years.