Starting a web design project for your small business can be exciting. You’ll want to find someone and get started on everything right away. But wait! There are a few things you might want to ask about first. Read this before you hire a web designer so you can make sure you and your design team are a good fit for each other.
Take a Close Look At Their Website
This is the first sign of whether or not you found the right person. Take a close look at their website and see if you spot anything that might raise a red flag.
For example, when was the last time they updated their own website? If you look at the very bottom of the homepage of their website, you should see a year of when the last update was made.
If their website hasn’t been updated in a few years or more, this could potentially mean bad news for you. Afterall, if a designer can’t update their own website, what does that mean for the care and attention to detail that they’re putting into your website?
Also – what does their website look like? Does it look great? Is it easy to navigate? Is it mobile responsive? The time, care, and skill that a designer puts into their own website can be very telling of how they will handle a client’s website.
Make Sure They’re Web Designers
This point sounds obvious enough, but that’s not always the case. Some design teams will advertise that they do web design, but they’re really a marketing or graphic design team that offers web design services. This could mean that they’re outsourcing their web design instead of keeping it in-house.
When a business outsources a project, they lose some control over the quality of that project. However, when a project is kept in-house, a business is able to fully control every aspect of a project to ensure it gets done correctly.
Outsourced projects have a longer timeline as well. It takes more time for the outsourced firm to send the project back to your designer, who then has to send it over to you. This creates a bottleneck in your project timeline, and increases how long it will take to finish your website.
Or it could mean they’re offering a service that they don’t specialize in. Web design isn’t just making something look great. It has to function well so your users can easily navigate through your website. Your site has to be developed correctly so you can benefit from the SEO. And it also has to be properly maintained and kept secure even after launch.
If these points are being handled by someone who doesn’t specialize in this field, it could mean they’re cutting corners on your project.
Find Out Which CMS They Use
CMS stands for content management system. This is what designers use to build your website. The most popular CMS is WordPress, but some designers choose to use their own proprietary CMS.This can be a problem if you want to easily manage your website after launch.
WordPress is specifically designed to be easily managed so anyone can edit and make changes to a site without having to pay a developer each time. Here at Timber Dark Design, we use WordPress for this specific reason. We want our clients to feel comfortable going into their site after launch to make changes and updates.
WordPress is also great for SEO optimization, and has a wide range of features that won’t limit the design or functionality of your website. Using a proprietary CMS could mean there’s a limit on these things, much like using a website template.
Ask About Their Pricing
Web design budgets can be all across the board, and finding an exact quote for what you need may be harder than you expect. But if you’re able to supply the designer with all the information they need about the project, they should be able to give you an accurate estimate in return.
If they’re unable to give you an accurate estimate despite supplying them with what they need to know, this is a red flag. This could mean they’re waiting for opportunities to charge more, or they’re not being completely honest with you.
If they are able to give you an estimate, be sure to ask what’s included in that estimate. Does their pricing cover hosting? Do they offer design mock-ups and revisions? Is content creation included? Ask plenty of questions about their pricing before hiring a web designer to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need and want along with an accurate and transparent estimate.
Need help determining what a website should cost? Here’s a quick read to help you out!
Ask About Your Project Timeline
This seems like an easy one, but it often gets overlooked. Always ask about your project timeline. How long will everything take? What’s our target date for site launch? Is the process broken down into milestones that we can easily tracked?
Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a new web design project. It’s not until you’re 3 months into the project that you realized you forgot to ask for a timeline. But by this point, you’re too far invested to pull the project so you have to wait it out. And wait, and wait, and wait…
Always ask for a timeline before hiring a web designer to get an idea of how long this project will take.
It’s All About Communication
This may seem like a lot of things to consider when hiring a web designer. At the end of the day, this all boils down to communication. As a client, you should be able to easily reach your designer with any questions or concerns you may have. They should be responding to you in a timely manner. They should be updating you with the progress of your project as they move through the milestones. If your designer is not communicating with you, that’s a major red flag.
As a web design team, our clients are our priority. We want to make sure our clients feel comfortable working with us, and vice versa. Even though this list is meant to help you get started, the ultimate guide to this is going to be your own instinct. Go with what your gut tells you, and use these guidelines as a compass to make sure you’re moving in the right direction.
Is Timber Dark Design A Right Fit For You?
If you want to see if Timber Dark is the right web designer for you, please reach out to us for a free consultation. We’re always here for any questions or concerns you may have. Not sure if you need a website for your small business? Check out our other blog post and see how a website might benefit your business!