Finding the Perfect Website Designer
Whether you are starting a side hustle or going all in on a business you are passionate about, you’ll most likely need a website to reach potential and existing customers. Finding the perfect website designer can be challenging and seem like a difficult task. Website projects are not something most businesses work through every year and can be intimidating, stressful, and time-consuming. Starting with a solid foundation is key to making a web project go smoothly! Use this guide to help you find your perfect match.
Outline Your Needs
The first step in finding a designer isn’t to look for a designer! Knowing a few key pieces about yourself and your business will help guide your search. Spend a little time reflecting on what your needs and wants are for your business.
- What do you need to communicate with your clients? What do you want to tell them?
- How many pages do you think you need? A designer will help define this, but it’s good to have an idea.
- How do you want customers to interact with the website? (Book a service, buy a product, view options, schedule an appointment). A great designer will bring ideas to the table too!
- What is your style? Do you want to keep things simple, or do you want a bit of a wow factor built into the design?
- If this is a redesign, what do you like and dislike about your current website?
- What is your budget?
- How comfortable are you with technology? How much do you want to be involved in the ongoing support of your site?
Define How You Want to Work
Next, consider your work style. Communication will be very important to get your ideas from concept to reality. Do you prefer to meet your designer in person or is working online a great option for you? Think about these points before searching for a designer.
- A local designer may be able to meet with you in person, which may allow for more comfortable communication, and provide the designer an opportunity to see your business in action. This is a great help to designers that pay attention to details and can help translate your physical space to your online presence.
- A local designer knows your area and may have an awareness of your peers and competition and along with knowing some of the challenges in positioning your business in your community since they are in the area.
- A local designer may also have connections with other local businesses that can help in your marketing journey – graphic designers, printers, accountants, and more! Working within your surrounding community can be rewarding and a great way to network for other aspects of your business.
- You may have more options when seeking designers who are not local to your area, and you may find expertise that is not directly located in your city. Are you a business with a niche product or service and need to have someone who can directly relate to your needs?
Start Your Search for the Perfect Website Designer
Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for in a website and where you want your designer to be located, it’s time to start searching! At this stage, your goal is to have a general list of names from various sources – try to have 5-10 solid leads by following these steps.
- Ask trusted friends and colleagues for recommendations based on their experience – take notes (see additional questions below). This is my number one recommended way to find a service provider for your business!
- Visit websites of businesses that are similar to yours and look at the bottom of the page for a credit line (built by or designed by).
- Check-in with your local chamber of commerce, especially if you are wanting to work with someone in person!
- Search online for a designer. Search for terms such as:
Web designer near me, website designer, hire website designer near me, freelance web design, digital marketing, web design for … (your industry)
- Check professional associations you may be involved with or online groups and forums for your business.
Narrow the List
Ideally, you’ll have a list of 5-10 designers that may have the potential to call for quotes and information. Narrow your list to 3 or 4 with these questions:
- If you talked with someone about a referral, be sure to ask how it was to work with their specific agency or designer. How was the communication? The support? The entire process? Whether you receive a raving review or a lukewarm response, you’ll have some information to go on when narrowing your search.
- Check out the designer’s website and check out their portfolio. Do you like the other sites they’ve designed? Do you like their website? While past work isn’t always an indicator of what they can do for you, you can usually get a feel for their capabilities and style.
Now that you have a short list of designers, it’s time to reach out! Complete the contact form on their website, call them up, or schedule an appointment. Many will offer a discovery call or free consultation to get to know you and your business. Use this call to learn more about the designer and their process.
The designer may start by asking questions about what your business does, how you interact with your customers, and what you are looking for in a website. You will be prepared for these questions if you’ve followed the steps above.
The designer should also give you space to ask questions. Remember, you are the business owner and should be informed and comfortable with the process and answers provided. These are some great initial questions to gauge if they are a good fit.
- How long do you expect this project to take?
- When are you available to start on my project?
- What experience do you have with businesses or projects like this?
- What support do you offer after the project is over?
- What is expected of me, the business owner, during the project?
- How will we communicate through the project?
- Ask them what other services they provide – you may need something they provide down the road!
- Follow up on any acronyms or jargon the designer may have used so you are clear and understand what they are saying. Sometimes they just get excited about your project!
- Pay attention to how much the designer is listening to you and understanding your needs. Are they hearing your needs and addressing your concerns? Do they seem able to talk technology, but also in a way that you can understand?
Ultimately, this conversation is intended for both you and the potential designer to see if you will work well together.
Selecting the Perfect Website Designer
Once you’ve talked with a couple of designers, sit down and compare them. I ALWAYS recommend talking to more than one person about a project. The process of interviewing potential providers can be time-consuming, but it is invaluable to ensure you have the right person or agency working with you on one of the most visible parts of your business! Use the information you have gathered about the way the designer works, along with budget and scope to determine who your best fit is!
Be Empowered and Confident
If you’ve never talked to a website designer before, or are intimidated by technology, I want you to know that you are not alone.
Just as I need to hire a CPA to do my taxes because I am not trained in accounting, I presume folks who are asking me to build their website have not been trained in web development. And, even though I know a little bit about accounting from a class in college, my time is better spent building websites than it is trying to learn tax rules and handling forms. I also assume that folks reaching out for my assistance are not in the business of building websites and are working on other aspects of their business. I don’t expect you to know all of the technical jargon and I believe it is my job to help bridge that gap as you are interested. A web designer (or any service provider) should be able to help you move forward in your business in a way that gives you confidence.
Searching for a web designer that will listen to your needs, coach you through the design and development process and provide support through the years to come? I’d love to chat with you! Please contact me! Over the years I have developed a personable process for working with clients across the United States and locally around Akron, Ohio. I’d love to learn more about your business and how we may work together.