So you need a web developer/designer? If you have little experience in managing your own website or are just making the leap into developing your online business, hiring a web designer/developer can be a daunting task.
First off, you NEED to hire one. There’s no substitute for experience. Many wanna-be entrepreneurs think the internet is the golden goose and don’t realize the amount of time and effort that is required before they will ever see a penny in profit.
That being said, how do you hire a web designer? If you have little knowledge of the industry, how will you know what questions to ask? As a web designer/developer I know what questions a potential client should be asking me. If they don’t ask the right questions, then I make sure I give them the relevant information so I can ensure that they are making an informed decision.
1. Can I see your portfolio?
Looks great – now what? Look for completed projects, not mockups & in development projects. Also, do all of the sites look similar, or are there different designs based upon different projects? Every designer has an aesthetic and design-sensibility; you may see similarities in project to project of certain elements – however, look at the overall design and see if it meets the purpose of the site.
2. Can I see some examples of your work completed on a similar budget and scope?
Let’s compare apples to apples. When you test drive cars, you may want to drive the Porsche, but your budget says otherwise. Have the designer show you some examples of his/her work that is within the realm of what your goals are. Additionally, be aware that you are not going to get a $5,000 website for $500. Be realistic. By asking this question, you will see what you can afford and what you can expect to be delivered for that price.
3. How will the site be managed?
Are you going to rehire the designer every time the site needs an update or blog post? or is the designer building in a method for you to update the site yourself? Many clients focus on the here & now – I want a website – and aren’t thinking long term about site management. A good designer will have already considered this – however, if you don’t ask you may end up with a site that you don’t have the skills to manage.
4. Can you walk me through the development of this project?
Pick a project that is similar to your goal. Listen for the goals of the project and how the designer feels he/she successfully achieved those goals. Ask about specific items within the goal itself. Pay attention to how the developer explains what was done and how it was done. Does he/she speak with confidence, is there a lot of techno-babble, or are they unsure? A good designer should be able to explain the how & why in a concise and clear manner.
5. How would you approach my project and do you have any additional ideas?
You may have an idea of what you want the project to be, but without the experience in the web industry you may not be aware of what’s available. A web designer will have ideas that you have not thought of. Many designers have worked on a wide variety sites and may understand the needs of your project better than you do.
6. What development languages do you speak?
7. What industry sites and blogs do you read regularly?
This question can give you an idea of how in-tune they are with the latest industry trends and technologies, as well as how passionate they are about webdev. It’ll help separate the people who do it as a career AS WELL as a hobby from those who are just sidelining. Get a list of these sites and check them out yourself.
I hope these tips are helpful, and expect part 2 in the following weeks.