Choosing Your Web Designer and Planning Your Website

Here are some suggestions you might want to consider before selecting your web designer.

Skill and relationship. To some extent, the ability to work successfully with your web designer is sometimes as important as their actual skill in being able to deliver the project. A web designer that is skilled in what they do but is difficult to deal with can make the whole process frustrating and not worth the money being spent. Here’s a tip: I know what I’m doing and I am generally likeable 🙂

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You money’s worth. You also might want to check what you’re getting for your money. What is included? I usually give my clients a complete rundown of what is in the package and make sure they agree to it before I start working. A website package generally includes a design template (which you can later use for additional web pages), content layout, graphic design and photo optimization, set-up, consultation and search engine registration. There will be ongoing cost to maintain your website: Web hosting, domain name and updates are the main three.

Design Flexibility. Make sure your template allows blending your company logo or colors into them. I make it a point to create original and personalized templates so I could incorporate design elements the client needs. An already finished template downloaded or ordered through the internet would give you little room to modify it. If you don’t understand html, what looks good on your computer might not look good in another. You need someone who offers the most flexibility in design.

Reliability. You would want web hosting services with zero down time for your website to be available 24-7. You don’t want to have to change hosts after six months because your designer has provided you with a poor host.

Updates and Maintenance. You would eventually need updates and maintenance on your site even if you don’t change the content frequently. Find out how much it cost and how often do you need to change content over a year so you can work it into your annual budget. Or better yet, get a website package that will allow you to edit the site yourself. It might cost more but it will save you the inconvenience of hiring someone else to change a mere photo or a few words of text.

Time. I tell my clients upfront that I work part-time and keep a day time job, which is why I work on a schedule. Most designers start out this way. It may cause issues when you need something done immediately. When designing a website, my client and I agree on a timeline and I make sure I finish it before due date. I usually ask my clients to schedule changes and updates ahead of time to get desired result. This is a convenient way for clients to prepare materials and for me to schedule my work.

Choosing a designer with the right skills will pay off in the long run. Also choose one you believe you can work with on an ongoing basis.