There are many things to consider when designing a website. Besides the more obvious ones... such as: eye appeal, easy to navigate, priced within your budget, relevant content... you should consider what you want the site to do, how will it get found, who your target market is.
If you want it to bring in leads, you need the right marketing principles incorporated into it. If you want to use SEO to get it found online, it must have on-site SEO built into it. If you have a large amount of mobile device users in your target market, it needs to be mobile friendly... and keep in mind that there is a big difference between being accessible by mobile and being mobile friendly.
It's important that a designer understands both the design and marketing side of building a website.
It is good to talk with a few designers, find out what you get for your money, exchange ideas, get questions answered and see how well they understand your needs and see who you feel comfortable with.
Appeal (of Work)
Ease of Information Exchange
Good Working Relationship
Return On Investment
Understanding of Your Requirement
It's a given that a good web firm should have a portfolio and a valid website of their own, and of course price is always a huge point. So first and foremost, you should know where they're located and how to get in touch - and not just an email address. Having a valid location and an actual person you can speak to - as well as being active online - indicates not only legitimacy but accountability. You know they are concerned about their reputation and will provide the best customer service possible. Testimonials are also important when considering what the experience of working with them will be like. If these factors are satisfactory, then the most important element is dynamics - can you work with them? Do you LIKE them? If you aren't sure but think their price is good, that's not enough to say yes.
Hi Rob, The comments below are good where design alone is your concern. keep in mind the web site has become the business central engine for most companies and knowing your customers, shaping a compelling value proposition and developing your brand should precede the design so form follows function, versus just making you look good.
Word Press has done a good job to lower the cost of design. I prefer original solutions but find ample opportunity to do that with some templates and them modify.
The thing most overlook is after the site is designed and built, how do I now manage it, integrate it with my billing, leads generation, sales, channels, marketing, ecommerce and SEO. When i started seeing limited solutions exceeding $1200 a month and several together exceeding 2-3X that, I was concerned my smaller clients could not afford to play.
Fortunately I discovered an all in one web development and management process that fully loaded does not exceed $250 a month and most start at half that. sure you also need content and some of these tools, albeit far less, still need management time. But their beauty is a new level of usability that you can do internally or have an outsourced firm do,
I just converted three clients to it and will redo my own site in December to reflect this higher degree of effectiveness. Give me a shout and I can let you see it.
A good web designer will guide you as to the best practices in web design and make sure your site adheres to the best practices. Of course you want to see the work the designer has done. . The clearer you are on identifying your needs for the site and your timeline, the better the end result will be. Definitely get a detailed quote first, so there aren't any surprises. Ask for a wire frame (mock up of your site) before the designer actually starts the coding work, to make sure you are in sync with your designer. If you want to maintain the site yourself after it is developed, ask for the training to be included in the quote. Good luck with your selection. If you need some contacts in this area, I would be happy to forward to you.
Dont ever hire! a web designer (unless your building a web design company). Hire developers/programmers/database/security. Web designs are a dime a dozen you can buy great templates, portals, etc...what you need is the code behind the design driving traffic/revenue and userability and great developers do this. Freelance/IC the web design!- contractually make sure you own the web design code (graphics, pics, buttons, layouts, templates etc...)
1. his/her previous work / portfolio, does it relate to what you are looking for?
4. delivery time and availability
5. browse the web to seek similar examples for what you are looking for and check with the designer/company
6. search for his/her work on Dribble and similar sites, looking for reviews about the designer work
7. talk with his/her previous employers, asking for their insights
8. talk with the designer himself/herself trying to get a "connection" and basic chemistry and understanding between the two of you
9. if you need also to brand, make sure he/she knows how to do that. not every designer has that understanding.
10. nowadays, you also need the designer to have an understanding of Responsive design, UI/UX, App and Mobile, etc. make sure the designer have know and experience in those fields.
hope that helps, good luck
Rob, everything that has been posted is good so far. But be sure to be able to interview them, if not in person at least by phone.
Before giving out your real project, test them with smaller projects. This testing period will help you evaluate:
- design quality
and any qualities that you want to see in a designer.
Hope this was helpful.
Check out their website! Just kidding- kind of- you would think they will have their best foot forward on their site.
Don't go for the biggest name- see who gets back to you quickly and really seems to want to know about your business. Especially important if you have a unique business solution- you do not want a cookie cutter approach.
Start with asking what they have learned about your business. I wouldn't hire anyone who hadn't taken the time t learn something that isn't obvious about my company. You need more than a pretty picture, most graphic designers can do that,, you want to easily be able to manage the site and it's contents. Ask to see the controls of another site, so you can test drive before you buy! Be leery of putting every bell and whistle on your website. A blog is great, if you are going to keep it up. Make sure the designer is willing to stay with it until it is just right. Symmetry and the WOW factor do matter, but it is most important that the website is informative and relevant..
I ask for the following:
2. The best and the worst project / client (i ask for details)
3. What is the design in general for him / her?
4. How did you ensure that your design met the client's goals?
5. Describe the details of your work step by step (i ask to clarify some steps if needed)
First you need to find a designer. Once you find him, ask him for his portfolio. Have a look at all the works he has done for his clients. Notice every detail about the web designs like technology used, color combination, creativity, look and feel of his designs. You should also look for responsive web designs.
After having a look at his portfolio, you need to set look on other facts like ROI, understanding your requirements, etc. Instead of going for a designer, you can also opt a company like Agriya, which offers web designing services.
Look at what he/she has designed to insure it is the stuff you need.
Make sure his/her questions demonstrate a knowledge of your kind of business.
Rob that is a good question. I have worked with people after they have worked with a "bad" web designer and have found that sometimes the designers were just bad at managing expectations. Your web site is only going to be as good as your plan. Know in advance that if you are putting the plan together it will be cheaper than if your website designer does the planning. If you hire an agency look for them to suggest long term strategies,you want someone who plans on being around for a while. Also their portfolio can tell you if it is a good fit. Designers have a tendency to have a "style". If their "style" does not do it for you then move on. Your question prompted me to repost a blog I wrote two years ago about what to do before you build your site. it might answer some other questions you have. If you would like you can check it out here. http://www.ijustwantasite.com/before-you-build-a-website/
I hope this was helpful.
In my personal experience there are 2 things: 1) the way it will look and 2) what it will say. Therefore my perfect web designer should really try to understand my business and also my purpose for the website. Great communication skills and wonderful artistic eye.
Here's my list:
1. Ensure you have your specs and requirements perfected.
2. Look through their portfolio
3. Do they use direct comms like skype or a ticket system
4. Do they have an online project management system for you to monitor progress
A good web designer will excel at communications.
These are the 3 factors that I should consider when hiring a web designer:
2. Technical and Communication skills
By the way, are you really looking to hire a web designer? There are actually a lot of ways to hire a competent WD even without your intervention or conduct personal interviews with them. What I heard that works well is that, you can contact a freelance site to assist you with all your hiring needs.
Odesk is one, Elance, too.
However, if you're wanting to hire a full time/part time WD, Staff.com is perfect for you. They have recruiters who can look for qualified WDs, assess their technical and communication skills and send you a shortlist of "worth it" to hire applicants ready for your final approval.
Almost everything is covered by the great people in this network, so I will not repeat or rehash the statements, instead I will offer another aspect of what you might be looking for.
Web designing can be learned using available online tools or platforms. It is user friendly. If you are going for a basic web design, there are free templates to choose from, you don't even have to pay anyone.
If you are hunting to hire someone who can do more than just design webpages, that's another thing entirely.
Perhaps you need a Webmaster? Or a Web developer for your website? A web programmer to implement complicated new concepts into your website, perhaps?
I know this question is about a month old now, and a couple of people below had touched upon this slightly, but I wanted to add my advice to make sure you understand the scope of the project you're looking for and that the person you hire explains what is required, and how these things fit within their skill set. The reason for this is that for a simple web site that is static, informational only, etc - a "web designer" can do just fine. They should have the skills necessary to create an appealing design and implement it using the correct technologies. For a more advanced project, which might require a database, or even just a submission form, you need to make sure that the person you are hiring has the necessary expertise as a programmer as well as a designer to ensure that things are done with performance and security in mind as well.
As a company we have taken on more projects than I care to think about for clients that began with a "web designer" who bit off more than they could chew and just couldn't deliver, or delivered a result that wasn't what was originally agreed upon. Beyond the money aspect of it (assuming you get your money back if someone can't deliver), this leads to frustration and potentially costly set backs as well.
Just my 2 cents based on what we experience with our clients! Best of luck with everything!
It's a good practice to place a contest on a site like 99designs.com or freelancer.com and to pick up a designer to work with, based on their performance in the contest. I hope this helps :)