It’s no secret, everyone and their dog (or cat) is joining the online revolution, and getting involved with websites, ecommerce, blogs, and more. If you’re considering starting a website, and hiring a web designer, there are some very important things you should know first:
Before you even begin looking for a website, start with a list of exactly what you are looking for in a website. This will make it much easier for you and the web designer to build exactly what you are looking for, and Sitepoint has a great article on finding a web designer.
What Do You Want?
In order to find help, you need first to figure out what you want. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What kinds of information do you want on the site? How big do you think your site will be?
- Who are your users? Do you know which operating system and browser they are using?
- Will your site require regular updates? Would you like to make changes yourself?
- Will you be selling something?
- Will you need a database to store and retrieve information?
- Do you want to rely on search engines to send more traffic to your site?
- When do you need the job done?
- What is your budget?
Any Web Designer worth their salt will have their own website, and one of the first things you need to do is check their website:
- Is it easy to find information and to get back to where you started?
- Do you like the navigation system?
- Are the pages accessible (no broken links)?
- Are the pages and overall design consistent?
- Are there a contact page and site map and can they easily be found?
- Is there enough relevant information on the site (eg. details about the company including location, what they do, the people, policies, etc.)?
- Are things aligned properly?
- Is the text easy to read?
- Do the pages load fast?
- Are the pages short, so that it’s not necessary to scroll horizontally, and there’s little or no vertical scrolling?
- Do links open onto the same page?
- Is there a portfolio you can view?
- Does the site discuss the designer’s technical background?
- Does the site make use of the right colors?
- Are page titles appropriate and informative?
Read through the Web Designer’s website, read their bio, peruse their portfolio, “kick the ties” if you will. Look at the other sites that the designer has built, and try to get a feel for the style and type of work that the designer produces. If you’re comfortable with what you’ve seen so far, then it’s time to contact the designer(s) and get a few different quotes for your website project.