Only half of all small businesses have a website, and of these, many are poorly designed. Creating the perfect website is an opportunity to stand out among your competitors. The problem is, you don’t know anything about coding or running a website.
That’s why many small business owners outsource the creation to a web designer or web design agency. The designer you choose will ultimately determine the quality and success of your small business website. And for that reason, you can’t choose just anyone.
Hiring the right person for the right job is tricky, but it’s worth the effort. Here’s how to find a web designer that’s perfect for the needs of your business.
1. Understand Your Business Needs
At the end of the day, a web designer has one ultimate goal: to make you more money. But how they craft a website that improves your profits depends on the industry. Maybe you need an e-commerce store, a foundation for content marketing, or an interactive restaurant menu.
A great web designer should be able to grasp your desires and solutions during a quick consultation. So why do you need to know the basics? Two reasons:
For one, you can start estimating your budget. There’s no way of truly knowing what the project will cost since industry prices have significant variation. However, when you know what you want, you can find people who received similar services and see how much they paid.
Small business owners often underestimate the cost of building a website. You can always choose a cheap web designer or go through a website creation service. But these options will pale in comparison to the results you’ll find from a true professional.
The second reason you need to determine the basics of your website? You’ll know what to look for when examining web designer portfolios.
It’s easy to see a beautiful website and think, “I want that.” But a website’s aesthetic is less important than its functionality. If an e-commerce store is a major component of your website design, then focus on those components in the portfolio.
Ignore the smaller stuff. You can always hire an artist later on.
2. Choose a Professional
Web design has become a massive industry with a variety of different solutions, teams, and individuals. You’ll have an entirely different experience depending on which you choose. So what are your options?
Freelance Web Designer
When most people think of a web designer, they think of a professional working from home. The best thing about freelancers is the price. They’re almost always cheaper than web design agencies unless they are particularly popular.
Hiring a web design freelancer can oftentimes feel like hiring a friend. There’s little bureaucracy to worry about.
Of course, nothing is perfect. There is little quality control to speak of, so working with a freelancer can be a gamble.
Web Design Agency
A web design agency may be a small company with about a dozen employees. These professionals not only know how to create a website, but they know how to optimize one for success. Good SEO and marketing practices, such as an intelligent website directory, can ensure your content marketing efforts don’t go to waste.
The extra expertise and employees come with a higher price tag. However, a small business can still use the right agency even with a small budget. Pay monthly websites divide the cost into smaller installment payments.
You always have the option of creating your own website without coding experience. Website builders present you with an interactive display to make the creation process easy.
But website builders come with plenty of drawbacks. In addition to a lack of customization, you won’t have access to a robust content management system.
3. Look for Customer Testimonials and References
So, you’ve decided on a type of web designer and looked through the portfolios of several options. How do you trim the list? By seeing what previous clients had to say.
You should be able to find online reviews for web design agencies. Many of these agencies also provide case studies so you can get a closer look at their process.
No matter who you work with, you’ll want to request references. After all, you can’t trust online reviews alone for such an important undertaking. If anyone refuses to offer references, look elsewhere.
4. Examine Aftercare Policies
The website functions that you want now may become antiquated in the future. And as your small business expands, there’s a good chance you’ll want to update your website with new modules.
But you can’t make these changes yourself. That’s why you hired a web designer.
For these reasons, web design agencies and freelancers often have clear aftercare policies. In some cases, you may have continued support within a designated timeframe. In others, additional services could cost you through a monthly retainer.
Keep these aftercare policies in mind while weighing your options. You’ll at least want some continued coverage after the creation of your website. If you expect further growth or know you’ll need new updates, seek better coverage.
How to Find a Web Designer: The Next Steps
Not only do you know how to find a web designer, but you can find a great one perfect for your business. You have skimmed portfolios, vetted web design options, and considered future coverage.
Now you’ve made it to the hardest part: making the final decision. If by now the answer isn’t clear, request a consultation to separate the wheat from the chaff. You’ll be fully armed to choose your web designer with confidence.
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