5 Tips For When Hiring a Web Designer Gets Tricky
Posted by Matt Krautstrunk on February 15, 2011 in Business Start Up Advice [ 9 Comments ]
Looking for a website for your startup business? Finding that “bang for your buck” web design deal may be a bit more difficult than you imagined. Whether you are tossing around quotes or you are in the pre-conception stage of your web design you should understand that skimping on your web design by hiring “bottom of the barrel” designers will hurt your brand. With that being said, it’s definitely possible to optimize your efforts when searching for that perfect designer.
1. Write Down Basic Needs
What is the purpose of my site?
Are you looking to build brand recognition? Drive e-commerce sales? Deliver content within a niche community?
What is the overall “feel” of my website?
This likely depends on your industry and if you are looking to differentiate yourself drastically within the industry. The feel of your website should directly reflect your brand’s message and tone.
What features do I want to add?
Do you want multimedia video and a blog roll, or do you want it to include a robust e-commerce shopping cart? Your website should reflect what you believe your audience will respond best to.
Who am I targeting?
Potentially the hardest question is whom do I target? Well, if you already have an established brand find out what elements your target market desires (colors & design elements) and cater everything around this web-marketing plan.
2. Create a Wireframe
Creating a wireframe is quite simple. You just need to have a basic idea of your design needs, sitemap requirements and access to Adobe Photoshop. Take out your sketchbook and hit the web. Browse the web for 20-30 minutes and bookmark 3 to 4 websites that are offering a similar product or service as your business. Notice the design elements of their website, (header placement, colors, banner bar location and use of flash) and sketch up your own basic layout based on these sample sites.
Take your sketch to the computer by using Photoshop or one of the 10 best tools for web design wireframes. A wireframe will significantly shorten the amount of a time a web designer takes to create and code your site. It will also cut down on confusion and downtime between you and the web designer.
3. Pool Your Information
Your wireframe should address how many internal pages your site has, but pooling your businesses historical information can give you and web designer a holistic view of your needs. Say for instance, your business was founded on the principles of “customer service and quality products.” If you disregard this notion completely in your website, you will give inconsistent messages to your user.
4. Keywords and SEO scope
You really don’t need to be an SEO guru to understand your target niche. Most designers charge extra for SEO services, they will be able to generate your sites internal SEO, but you could manager your link building and keyword strategy. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to understand populate a list of keywords you may be interested in targeting locally and globally.
5. Familiarize Yourself With a CMS
A content management system (CMS) is the portal in which you interact with the website. Finding out where you will need to update information on your site regularly will determine your CMS needs. If you are going to update your content frequently it is probably smart to familiarize yourself with a CMS like Joomla, WordPress or Drupal.
Most importantly, compare web design price quotes. You will never be able to establish your web design project’s baseline without price quotes. Review your budget and after assessing your needs you should be able to negotiate common grounds with your designer.
Image Credit: Smashing Magazine