Choosing a web designer can seem like a daunting task.
They come in all shapes and sizes from freelancers
working at home to glossy new media agencies, and there
is as much variation in prices and service as there
is in size.
So how do you choose the right one for your business?
Select Your Marketplace
Firstly, decide what market your would like to select
from: local , national or overseas.
If you would feel more comfortable meeting your designer,
and running through your project face to face (maybe
its the kind of project that needs to evolve)
,and your ethos is quality of service rather
than Pile em high, sell em cheap
then a local web designer is for you. They can usually
provide better back up, and be able to meet face to
face to discuss your project and iron out any problems
should they occur.
If you are a bit more budget conscious, then it makes
sense to select from a wider pool. Getting
quotes from designers across your country will usually
obtain a more competitive quote. What you lose in face-to-face
service is made up for in cost savings, and all but
the largest web projects can usually be sorted out via
telephone and email these days.
For the extremely cost conscious and value for money
orientated (some would even say brave!)
there is the overseas market. If you know exactly what
you are looking for and can explain your project thoroughly
and clearly in writing, then there are huge savings
to be made. But what you save in price is invariably
countered by having to do a little more work on your
side particularly when it comes to communication!
Finding Web Designers
To find a list of local web designers consult your
Yellow Pages (or equivalent) or do a web search for
web designer your area. Looking
further a field, you can do a web search or check out
directories such as www.recommended-web-designers.co.uk
. For overseas designers, go to web sites such as www.elance.com
or www.rentacoder.com, the latter offering the benefit
of escrow and arbitration services.
Draw up a shortlist
Draw up a shortlist of 3 or 4 designers to speak to.
You can do this by visiting their websites, getting
a feel for the type and size of business they are and
looking at their online portfolio. Then call them
ask them questions about the type of clients they work
for, timeframes and any other technical questions you
have. Get a feel for how they communicate whether
they are on the same wavelength as you.
If you opted to go overseas, the websites already mentioned
have ratings systems which can help you decide, and
you can also send and receive private messages to ask
Once you have your shortlist, you can get quotes. For
a straightforward website this can be a simple fixed
price for a more complicated project that is
likely to evolve, you may just want to get a budget
price at this stage, and then pin down details and a
fixed price with your preferred bidder later. Always
specify your expected timeframe for completion when
obtaining quotes as this can affect prices.
Once you have your preferred bidder, get references.
Any established web designer will be able to provide
details of satisfied clients. Email them and ask if
they were happy with the service received, if the job
was completed on time, how unforeseen problems were
dealt with etc.
Remember to trust your instincts: If you are not entirely
happy with the references you obtain, walk away and
select another designer.
Appoint your web designer
You now have a fixed price, references, and confirmed
timescale for your project. Now appoint your designer!
Most have standard agreements read them carefully,
and if in doubt get your legal adviser to look them
over. Make sure timescales and project milestones are
specified, as well as payment terms. Find out how alterations
to your project are dealt with in terms of cost
and delays and how disputes if they arise would
Finally, when you are completely happy, sign on the
dotted line and look forward to a productive working
relationship with your web designer!
© 2005 Robin Porter.
About the author:
Robin Porter has been CEO of of London based web designer
Arpey Internet (http://www.arpey.co.uk)
for over six years.