Top tips for hiring a web designer
If you’re thinking about hiring a web designer then this handy guide will tell you all you need to know about how to get the best from a them and how to make the most of your project.
1. Budgets – don’t be shy
Budgets can be an awkward and restrictive element to any project but they needn’t be. The key here is honesty – if you’re upfront with your web designer and let them know from the offset what you have to spend then it can save a lot of time on both parts. If you have a small budget – and by small I mean under £1,000 – then ask your designer what they can do for this as most will have a solution they use regularly that can be tweaked to suit a your needs without too much time being spent and therefore keeping costs to a minimum. They may also have flexible payment options so don’t be afraid to ask, here at Technique Web we have monthly packages which start at £99 per month and will get you a very nice website with lots of extras thrown in.
For those lucky enough to have a larger budget then the same applies – be honest! Regularly we rule out neat features and clever functionality because we are under the impression the client doesn’t have the budget for them, only to find out half way through the project that they do.
Please don’t think that you have to play your cards close to your chest when revealing your budget, we’re not out to get as much as we can out of you (honest), we just want to do a good job and give you the best that you can afford. Knowing your approximate budget before we submit a proposal will result in more focused and relevant ideas for your website.
2. Be realistic
Client: “I want a site like ebay”
Designer: “Ok, what budget did you have in mind?”
Client: “About £500?”
It might seem obvious to most but you won’t get something like ebay for peanuts. Believe it or not but we have actually been asked how much a site with similar functionality to ebay would cost. To be honest, we couldn’t answer without further research but the person asking us did reveal he “didn’t want to spend more than a couple of grand”.
Again, be honest, think about how much you have to spend and set your goals on what is achievable – you wouldn’t walk into a Ferrari dealership if you only had enough money for a Ford now would you? Would you…?
3. Get them to pitch
If you’re dealing with a few designers and can’t really separate them, ask them to do a concept before you make a decision on who to go with. Most designers will be more than happy to provide a free concept to win your business. It’s a great way for you to see whether they’ve understood your brief and if they’re on the same wavelength as you. Don’t feel bad about wasting their time either – if you decide not to use them they will most likely re-use the basics of the concept for another project.
4. Know what you’re getting
It’s always a good idea to make sure everyone involved is singing off the same hymn sheet when it comes to web design. If you think you’re getting a bespoke site with custom functionality but your designer is using an ‘off the shelf’ CMS (Content Management System), based on a templated design, then you are not getting value for money. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with using off the shelf stuff, but you shouldn’t be paying bespoke money for it.
The best way to get round this potential problem is to put together a development specification or ‘spec’ which will outline the structure and content of your site, the functionality included and what technologies will be used to achieve it all. Most web designers will do this for you but some may charge as it can take days to build a spec for a big site.
5. Reinventing the wheel
Don’t be put off by using ready made software to power your website. Back in’t day, it was frowned upon if a developer used off the shelf products but now it makes much more sense as the products are far cleverer, reliable and robust than they used to be and are more flexible than ever. There’s no point reinventing the wheel if what you need has already been done, there are some brilliant software packages out there like Drupal, Joomla! and our personal favourite WordPress. These are all free and ‘Open Source’ which means there are millions of people using them and millions of clever developer geeks creating all manner of cool plugins which will enhance your site and impress your visitors.
There’s a chance you could still require a bespoke piece of software if your requirements are unusual but 99.9% of the people we deal with will do just fine using something like WordPress with a little tweaking to suit.
6. Trust your designer
Your web designer know’s what he or she is doing. This is what they do every day and any web designer worth their salt will have a really good understanding of what looks cool, works well and ultimately, generates interest in what you have to offer. Us web designers talk and I’ve lost count of the number stories I’ve heard about excellent concepts that have been slowly sanitised by a client’s amendments, design preferences and their reluctance to let their designer do what they do best. I’m sorry, but the customer is not always right. There, I said it.
Believe it or not but web designers aren’t always right either. No really, we’re not. So if you feel really strongly about something and your web designer isn’t playing ball, take a deep breath and ask them to explain their reasons – most of the time, this will be enough and between you, you will find a solution where both parties are happy.
7. Have fun!
The design process should be a fun one so make sure you enjoy it! If you’re not enjoying it then have you hired the right designer…? If not, what are you waiting for – give us a call on 01295 236266.