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How to Shop for and Engage with a Web Designer

09.07.2015.

Website design services are a dime a dozen on the web.  It can be intimidating to shop for a web design professional and know who is your best choice or even if they know how to create a website!

You are intelligent enough to realize that hiring a professional web designer is the only safe way to perfect and secure your personal brand.  You know that even though you may have been blessed with the gift of creativity and have this voice in the back of your head that whispers “I can handle this” that you just don’t have the techniques to increase conversation rates, and exposure. After all, pushing up your numbers is the whole reason for marketing.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a web developer.

 

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Ask The Right Questions

Properly evaluating and gauging a freelance web designer or website design company is key!

In all probability you will come across a designer’s site, check out both their web and graphic design portfolio, and get a feel for how you like their work. While this may not be a bad place to start there are other things you need to consider, so pose questions to yourself:

  • “Does the designer have experience working with websites with comparable functionality to mine?”
  • “Does the designer consistently generate a fresh look and intuitive navigation?”
  • “Are the sites in the portfolio still in use by the client?”
  • “If you require branding work, is the designer proficient with branding?”
  • “If you need work on your conversion rates, is the designer qualified?”
  • “Can you actually contact and speak with the designer’s referrals, or are they closed testimonials?

During your considerations, ask yourself “what is it that I want my website to accomplish?”  A pretty picture isn’t worth much if it doesn’t bring results!

If you are in the WordPress or Magento environments, is the web site designer certified?  Have they had ample experience with those platforms?  Ask for links and referrals if you cannot find examples in their web developer portfolio.  If you are solely focused on spawning qualified leads, has this web designer shown past success in this area?  If you are ready for a branding facelift and need to create a logo or new tagline, make sure that your designer is a talented logo maker and understands logo design.

There are important factors that help ensure a successful web site project after you have chosen your website builder.

 

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Communicate Effectively With Your Professional Designer

It is your responsibility to accurately describe what you want.  In this business there is no such thing as ‘TMI’.  If you don’t tell your story correctly, your brand and presentation will be skewed.

So what should you share?

If you have come across sites that trip your trigger, use them as examples so your web designer learns your style.  If there are colors or fonts or style navigations that you dislike, make sure you share that!  At the same time understand that just because you may not like the color blue, it doesn’t mean that in the long run it won’t be more successful in getting viewers to see what ‘you’ desire them to see!  This is where the objectivity and training of a professional really makes a difference.   This is not your master bedroom, you are attempting to create a revenue-generating portal.

The listings below give you some points that are extremely important to provide to each prospective designer so that you can be provided an accurate quote and recognize who can and can’t complete the job:

  • Be clear about your budget, being on the same page is integral.
  • Clearly explain the feelings you want the design to portray. What feeling do you wish your design to express?  Having a direction in mind allows the designer to properly choose art, typography, and site architecture.
  • Clarify the website’s main objective.  Is it more sales, subscribers, or driving traffic?
  • Functionality is key; what special attributes do you need?  Do you require an online store where ecommerce experience is necessary?  Is the screening of prospects a requirement?
  • Does the designer offer a maintenance program?  What about updates?  You need to consider what happens after the launch of the site.
  • When you use other sites as examples, dissect each and every thing that you like or do not like.

This may seem overwhelming, but this type of critical thinking and communication is what results in a true partnership between you and your professional.  And that is what your designer should be, your partner in success.  Not just an order taker that forces out the repetitive style that does not distinguish your brand!  A good designer will challenge you and make you realize that what you think isn’t necessary, is something significant.  Only a designer with experience and talent can walk with you during the project.

Three Things Never to Say to a Prospective Professional You May Trust with your Website Design

A successful designer will expect and deserve your respect for them and their work.  This is important if you want them to take your job and create something wonderful, correct?

But if you don’t put enough thought into your communication style while searching for or working with the “right designer fit’ they may interpret you as being disrespectful to their ability or specialty.  Remember, just like you in your work and career, designers have to watch for the ‘problem clients’ and decide to engage.  Any interview is a two-way process!

Most designers are flexible in their client evaluations, but if you can stay away from certain phrases, you won’t chase away your perfect fit.

“If I had the time, I would to this myself.” or “This is an easy job and should be simple.”

If you minimize a designer’s abilities, and make them feel like you are unwilling to pay for their expertise, you will not hit a home run.  Try to be very clear and forthcoming with what you want and let the professional focus on the complexity of its creation.

 

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“ I don’t have any money, I’m poor can you discount or do it for free?”

Evidently, you are in business or want to be.  You engage in business to bring in money and make a living.  The designer puts their creativity and skills out to the public in order to make a living designing websites.  If you are low on funds, you should look for a theme framework that provides options for those on a low budget.  Don’t approach a professional, even if they are family or friend, and expect a high level result from a low level budge.  It places the designer in a very awkward position.  Remember, even if you start low level on your own, there may be a day that you can move up through the expertise of a professional.  Don’t expect something for nothing.  If you are not quite there yet, but think you have found your designer fit, they most likely won’t mind answering emails on how to best to position yourself for a custom design down the road where you can partner or success.

 “I need a website. How much will that set me back?”

Even though you may think this is a good way to introduce your project, it is a ‘red flag’ to most credible designers.  It does not provide the information necessary to make any judgements.  Designing a website is not a cookie cutter endeavor.  That is why rates vary on a significant level.  Also, a designer needs to know if the guidelines of what you want fits their services and expertise.  If it doesn’t the majority of designers will provide a competent referral.

After learning how to communicate in an effective manner, and finding a qualified web designer to take it to the next level, step back and consider before you sign on the dotted line.

Is your prospective designer choice a good fit?

It is only you that can answer this question. Listen to our intuition, your gut.  Are you a good personality match?  And ALWAYS check references before you commit.

It requires a significant investment to work with a talented professional website designer, so do your research.  The bottom line is that you need to communicate, and do it well.  If you are not comfortable, move on, don’t hesitate.  You will recognize the designer that fits ‘you’.  If you rush and don’t focus, it will cost both you and the designer in time and money.

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