Guest post by David Hamer
So you want to have a web site and need someone to design it for you. Where do you start? How do you know which designer to choose that will be able to give you what you need at an affordable price, and someone you can depend on to deliver what they promise when you need it?
Step 1 – Be Prepared
The first step is to be well prepared. Before you start talking to anyone, develop a plan for your web site. What is the reason for your web site? Is it to promote a business, product or person, or to sell products online? A portfolio type of web site showcases the work of professionals such as artists, writers, or some type of service. Do you want the web site to become an authoritative resource relating to your business, where people would come to the web site to read articles and learn about subjects that relate to your products or services and establish you as an expert in your field? Do you need photo galleries?
Step 2 – Design
Once you have the purpose of the web site and the content planned, you can begin to think about conceptual design. Surf the internet and look at other web sites of the type or subject matter you are considering and take notes of what you like and do not like about each web site. Take note of the size of the web sites and how many pages they have. Is the size comparable to what you desire or do you think you can start out smaller?
Step 3 – Find A Designer
Begin searching out web designers that appear to have experience in the type of site you wish to have: whether it is an e-commerce store, blog, a visual and graphic intensive site, or a simple business introduction type of site that just promotes a brick and mortar business. Make a list of those designers you are comfortable with and contact them. Give each of them your written plan for the web site and ask them for a quote and estimated time frame. Also ask for references and examples of their work which best match what you have in mind.
Communication is the key to finding the best web site designer. The more prepared you are and the more information you can provide, the more accurate their estimate of cost and time and the happier you will be with the finished product. If you are unsure of every detail ask them for a consultation before accepting a quote, but even so remember you are paying for the total scope of the project. Sometimes it may be difficult for the designer to anticipate every aspect of the project, and any additions you make along the way only lengthen the scope and therefore increase the overall cost. If you cannot allow the designer some wiggle room, then be as specific as possible up front and be prepared to accept it later on.