Are you looking to hire a web designer? Many small business owners struggle in the process of deciding how to hire the best website designer.  Most do not understand what they want, know how long the process will take, or know how much a website will cost.  Follow the four steps listed below and enter your website design process ready to make informed decisions.

List website goals

First, decide on what you want from your web site.  Check out the websites of your competition.  Separate their individual web pages into their components.  For example, some pages will have banner advertisements, contact forms, social media links, location maps, or product price lists.  Select the components you like and list why.  Also, note the components you do not like and the reasons why.  Pay attention to colours, images, fonts, and layout (i.e. one column, two columns, etc.).  Consider who will make additions and updates to your website. Look at the responsiveness of the website. Does it properly reformat for different sized devices?

When do you need it?

Second, before hiring a web designer, decide on your deadlines. Some items that will influence when your website will “go live” include content availability, image processing requirements, product information sheets, and design consultations.  There are several milestones during the design of a website where there are negotiations between the website owner and the designer where decisions are required.  Ensure you understand these requirements and the work involved at each milestone.  It is better to have agreement at these early stages than to make major changes late in the design.  Typically, changes made later in the design phase of your website may delay your website launch date.

How much do you want to spend?

Third, decide on your budget so that you know how much you want to spend before hiring a web designer.  There are numerous “do-it-yourself” website plans available.  Before choosing one, ensure that you have the expertise and the time required to manage your website.  There are three website design areas, which have their own associated costs.  All websites require a domain name and hosting service.  These are relatively inexpensive and savings are available for multi-year plans.  Typically, the website design phase is where you will spend the most money.  Expect to spend between $3 – $5 thousand dollars for your website design.  Also, consider website maintenance once your website is up and operating.  Prices vary depending on the frequency and the number of updates required.

Use your network

Last, ask your family, friends, and fellow business owners who they used to design website for them.  Ask them what they liked and disliked about their designer.  With a list of potential website designers, visit their websites and check out their work.  Also, look at their portfolios and visit the websites of their clients.  Contact their clients and ask for references.  Create a short list of website designers and contact each one.  Carefully consider each of the three previous steps and hire the website designer who is the best fit for your business.  The research will pay off; especially when you enter into a long term relationship with your website designer.

Are you ready to hire a web designer?

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