There’s no question that if you’re in business today, you need a website. It’s simply not good enough anymore to merely have a website, though, and this fact is often lost on many business owners. There are also thousands of businesses and people out there that do this type of work. But, how do you find the perfect designer and developer for your web development or redesign? Additionally, how do you work with them throughout the project? Probably the best way to find someone is to get recommendations from friends and colleagues, but sometimes you won’t always have the luxury so then what? The following steps will help you out and point you in the right direction.
Probably the most important thing you can do for your project is to fully scope out your website and plan, prepare, and be precise. Think about what it is you want to achieve and document as much of it as possible. There are a myriad of options from designing to coding (two very different things, by the way), to SEO, blogging, content marketing, different platforms such as WordPress or Joomla, hosting and so much more. To get an accurate bid and timeframe, you need to provide your designer as much detail as possible, as you never want any surprises or disappointments. Cleary detailing your expectations will help determine the right person for the job.
As far as employing a web designer, there are basically two routes – a design firm, which is obviously a larger company that has many, many clients, or a freelancer, which is typically an individual on their own. You can get outstanding results from either one, but typically the firm is a little more expensive. On the other hand, there’s much more accountability with a firm than with a freelancer, as there is a ton of wayward freelance horror stories. Just thoroughly vet out all your options, interview them and get references and a portfolio, if possible.
Another key to finding the right person for your website development is by defining and setting your expectations and fully disclosing them right from the beginning. Remember, clear expectations get clear results. Provide your documentation along with a detailed description of what it is you want to achieve such as how the home page should look, what the back pages include, clearly defined navigation, copy and logo, the exact content or examples, and a checklist is always handy. Seems like a lot of work on your end, but you’ll be amazed and happy at how much it will help both you and the developer. And, don’t worry too much about the creative element, as that’s best left up to the skill of the developer and can be established along the way.
Lastly, be actively involved. It may not be necessary to check in every day, but make it a point to check on the progress at least weekly. Be sure to ask for mockups or links so you can see the progress. The last thing you want is to have your web developer give you a finished product that is not at all what you’re expecting.