|Choosing a Web Designer
Choosing a web designer can seem like
a daunting task. They come in all shapes and sizes from
freelancers working at home to glossy new media agencies,
and there is as much variation in prices and service as there
is in size.
So how do you choose the right one for your business?
Select Your Marketplace
Firstly, decide what market your would like to select from:
local , national or overseas.
If you would feel more comfortable meeting your designer,
and running through your project face to face (maybe it's
the kind of project that needs to "evolve") ,and your ethos
is "quality of service" rather than "Pile 'em high, sell 'em
cheap" then a local web designer is for you. They can usually
provide better back up, and be able to meet face to face to
discuss your project and iron out any problems should they
If you are a bit more budget conscious, then it makes sense
to select from a "wider pool". Getting quotes from designers
across your country will usually obtain a more competitive
quote. What you lose in face-to-face service is made up for
in cost savings, and all but the largest web projects can
usually be sorted out via telephone and email these days.
For the extremely cost conscious and value for money orientated
(some would even say "brave"!) there is the overseas market.
If you know exactly what you are looking for and can explain
your project thoroughly and clearly in writing, then there
are huge savings to be made. But what you save in price is
invariably countered by having to do a little more work on
your side particularly when it comes to communication!
Finding Web Designers
To find a list of local web designers consult your Yellow
Pages (or equivalent) or do a web search for "web designer
" "your area". Looking further a field, you can do a web search
or check out directories such as www.recommended-web-designers.co.uk
. For overseas designers, go to web sites such as www.elance.com
or www.rentacoder.com, the latter offering the benefit of
escrow and arbitration services.
Draw up a shortlist
Draw up a shortlist of 3 or 4 designers to speak to. You can
do this by visiting their websites, getting a feel for the
type and size of business they are and looking at their online
portfolio. Then call them ask them questions about the type
of clients they work for, timeframes and any other technical
questions you have. Get a feel for how they communicate
whether they are on the same wavelength as you.
If you opted to go overseas, the websites already mentioned
have ratings systems which can help you decide, and you can
also send and receive private messages to ask questions.
Once you have your shortlist, you can get quotes. For a straightforward
website this can be a simple fixed price for a more complicated
project that is likely to evolve, you may just want to get
a budget price at this stage, and then pin down details and
a fixed price with your preferred bidder later. Always specify
your expected timeframe for completion when obtaining quotes
as this can affect prices.
Once you have your preferred bidder, get references. Any established
web designer will be able to provide details of satisfied
clients. Email them and ask if they were happy with the service
received, if the job was completed on time, how unforeseen
problems were dealt with etc.
Remember to trust your instincts: If you are not entirely
happy with the references you obtain, walk away and select
Appoint your web designer
You now have a fixed price, references, and confirmed timescale
for your project. Now appoint your designer!
Most have standard agreements read them carefully, and if
in doubt get your legal adviser to look them over. Make sure
timescales and project milestones are specified, as well as
payment terms. Find out how alterations to your project are
dealt with in terms of cost and delays and how disputes
if they arise would be settled.
Finally, when you are completely happy, sign on the dotted
line and look forward to a productive working relationship
with your web designer!
© 2005 Robin Porter.
About the author:
Robin Porter has been CEO of of London based web designer
Arpey Internet (http://www.arpey.co.uk)
for over six years.