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Your website is the face of your business. It’s a way to introduce yourself to potential clients and customers, but it also sets the tone for how they perceive you. If your site looks unprofessional or outdated, it can give off a bad impression on potential customers or clients.
If you’re looking for an experienced web designer to build, make repairs or redesign your website, it is important to get to know them before hiring. Most of the questions you will be asking them really come down to this:
- What exactly is your process for creating websites?
Just like every brand has its own unique approach to what it offers (even if on the surface, they are all offering the same thing). every web designer has their own unique approach to any projects they take on. Knowing the right questions to ask is critical to finding your “perfect match” for tackling your web design project.
What is your design process?
This question might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often web designers don’t actually follow a concrete process for designing websites. The design process involves:
- Research and analysis (including competitive analysis)
- Information architecture (the organization of content)
- Wireframing (whether it’s low fidelity or high fidelity)
Can you show me your portfolio?
It’s important to look at the designer’s portfolio.
A good portfolio will show you a variety of previous work, including:
- Websites designed by the designer (or their team)
- Websites designed by other designers that the designer has helped with or mentored
This will give you an idea of what kind of websites they’ve built, how long it took them to do so and what kind of style they’re comfortable working in.
Do you have a contract for me to sign?
Once you’ve decided on a designer, it’s time to sign a contract. For the purpose of protecting both parties, it is a necessity that the terms of doing business with one another be spelled out in writing. Once it is signed by you and your web designer, it becomes an official legal document.
Contracts are important for both sides: they help ensure that everyone knows exactly what services are being provided, how much those services will cost and when payment must be made. The clearer and simpler your contract is—and the more detail you include in it—the happier you’ll be when working with your new website design partner!
Here are some tips for creating solid contracts:
- Include only essential details. Your contract shouldn’t contain any extraneous information (like flowery language or other pleasantries) but should instead focus on what’s necessary for understanding the terms of your deal with this particular person or company. If there’s something else important to say about either party involved but not essential enough to go into detail in this context, consider adding “aside” sections at appropriate points within the body of text itself. Putting asides in your document followed by additional information would alert readers without making them feel overwhelmed by excessive content at once point where they’re supposed focus primarily on reading through everything word-for-word anyway.
How do you plan your web design projects?
How you plan a design project can make all the difference in the world. Your web designer should be able to explain how he or she plans projects and why it’s important to take that time. The answer to this question may vary from person to person, but there are commonalities among good designers:
- They consider your audience and how they’re likely to use your site
- They learn about your business so they can understand what makes you unique
- They create elements that are consistent with your brand (e.g., fonts, colors)
What payment methods do you accept?
The easiest way to avoid headaches is to be sure you know what payment methods your web designer accepts before you hire them. Ask about credit cards, PayPal, wire transfers or cash.
Even if they accept your preferred method of payment (for example, if they take only checks), it’s important that they clearly state this on their website so you don’t have to ask them each time you want to make a purchase.
Make sure the site is secure by asking about encryption and other security measures taken by the web designer in order to protect both parties involved.
How do you work?
The web designer you choose will have a unique design process, but it’s important to know what that process is and how they use it. Do they prefer to work in a web-based design program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, or do they prefer to create mockups by hand? Do they use templates or build a new site from scratch each time? Knowing their workflow will help you understand why their designs look the way they do and allow you to ask questions about specific elements of the design if need be.
- What has your past experience taught you about designing websites for small businesses like mine (e.g., restaurants/retail/etc.)?
A good web designer should be able to explain how their past experiences have helped them develop an eye for what works well on smaller websites with fewer resources than larger ones—and vice versa! If your potential web designer comes across as inexperienced with small businesses, ask them how they plan on learning more before starting any projects for customers like yours.
Ultimately, when hiring a web designer, there will be things you’ll need to know that are pertinent specifically to you. Hopefully, however, after reading this, you have a basic, solid understanding of how to approach hiring a web designer. As we said at the beginning, it’s important to make sure that your expectations are aligned with theirs so that you can work together effectively from the start. Most of all, keep the lines of communication open with your designer at ALL times! It is true that people are busy, but there’s no reason for anyone to take an inordinate amount of time answering calls and emails. Be respectful of one another’s time, otherwise you’ll paint a picture of yourselves as being hard/not worth working with. In any case, we wish you luck on finding someone who fits your needs perfectly—and don’t forget about our free consultation if you need help finding one today!