Whether you want to create a new website or to update your existing website, you are probably interested in finding the best web designer/web developer to do the job. Finding the best one is not an easy task as you can find several options by searching online. If you have many options, how do you decide which designer is better than the others? The following suggestions can make your selection easier:
To me the most important thing you need to look for when hiring a web designer/developer is the portfolio. By looking at the portfolio you will get a good idea of the style and the quality of the work this designer produces. The portfolio can tell you if the designer specializes in an industry or if he/she has the capacity to build a website with the right look and feel for any organization. You can also see if the designer has a good sense of page layout, color scheme, and the ability to create beautiful graphics that enhance the website.
When looking at the portfolio you should not judge it by the amount of work this designer has produced, but by the quality of the work. Also, don’t just look at the images or the designer’s website. I encourage you to visit the websites this designer or company has developed to really get a feeling of how they look and how they work. While visiting these sites, make sure they are easy to navigate and make sure all the links work.
experience & knowledge
Most likely the more years of experience the designer has the higher the quality of the work and the more skills, tools, and tricks the designer has to develop websites. More important than the experience is the knowledge and how up to date the designer/developer is. There is no point on having many years of experience if the designer is producing the same work he/she produced five years ago. The technology and the way people access and use the web change quickly, so the designer must be current with the latest trends to maximize usability and exposure. Five years ago it was very common for designers/developers to create a website in flash, but now many people are browsing the web on iPhones and iPads and flash websites cannot be displayed on these devises. An experienced and knowledgeable designer should create it in a way that is appealing to the eye and developed in a way that maximizes its exposure in the short and long term.
full range of services
By working with a designer that offers a full range of services you will have more flexibility and you will save time and money. There are many web designers that do not do web development, and there are many developers that do not do design. Some designers/developers are not writers, so they cannot help you to develop the content of your website. I strongly encourage you to work with a designer or an agency that offers all the services you need to make your online and offline presence a success. For example, here at Innovar Marketing we offer all services needed to create and launch your website (web design, web development, web maintenance, content development, social media marketing, and SEO). We also offer graphic design services, which can help you to get better graphics for your website as well as your marketing and sales materials (graphics for your web, logo, business cards, brochures, flyers, etc.). In addition to these services, we also offer printing services, so pretty much we can do everything that you need. By getting everything from the same company or individual, you will get better prices than if you get each of them separately. Additionally, since the same company will do all the work, you will have the same look and feel throughout your web and print materials, and as you probably know, consistency will give you more recognition and better results.
Before you pay to have a website designed and developed you should have a marketing strategy in mind. There is no point in having a website if you do not know what you want to accomplish with it. Speaking in car terms, before you buy one you need to know what you need it for. If you need speed, them a sports car will be your best option. If you need comfort, space, and versatility, then a SUV will be your best option. It is the same when getting a website. You need to know what you want to accomplish and what your present and future plans are. If you do not have marketing knowledge and do not know how to accomplish your goals, having a designer with marketing knowledge will be of great benefit to you because he/she can inform and instruct you on how to do what you need. A designer with marketing knowledge will research your industry, clients, and competitors to make sure you website has everything you and your clients need.
Having an SEO friendly website is fundamental because there is no point of getting a good looking website at a low cost if people cannot find it. If the designer/developer has marketing knowledge, your website will be developed in a way that will give you better search engine results. You need to make sure your website is displayed in the top rankings of major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. There are several things developers and marketers do to make your site SEO friendly. One of them is the way in which the images are named. If you hire an inexperienced designer he/she could name the photos with numbers, whereas and experienced designer will name them with a name that describes the photo. This simple way of naming the photos can make a big difference when search engines crawl your website.
The content and the back end of your website should also be developed thinking in search engines. A good developer will help you to create your content and will create the meta tags for your website. Many people only see the front end of the website, but the back end (the html code) is as important. A clean and well structured website will be downloaded faster by the browsers and it will also be easier to maintain. If the designer develops it in a way that is not efficient, you most likely will have to pay a lot more in the long run for maintenance fees because the developer will need more time to make the updates. If the code is clean and it meets the standards of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), it will be displayed correctly on any device/browser and it will be easier for you and/or for anybody else to quickly make changes to it.
Depending on how soon you want your site to be launched, the availability of the designer can or cannot be important to you. In most cases, creating a website should not take more than six weeks. If you need it in a few days or in one or two weeks, then the availability of the designer will be your top priority. If you need it relative quickly, in most cases you will need to pay a premium for the rush.
The importance of the availability and flexibility of the designer becomes more important when he/she maintains the website. When you have updates you want them to be live quickly. Sometimes designers are very busy designing new websites and they put updating existing websites at a lower priority, so when hiring a designer you should ask how long it takes him/her to make updates. You can get an idea of the availability of a designer by paying attention to the response time when you ask for a quote or for more information. If it takes days to get you a quote, it will probably take weeks to make updates to your site. You should work with someone who is available, easy to contact, and who will get back to you promptly.
Ideally the person who creates the website should also make the updates because he/she knows the site in and out and because he/she has the original graphic files. However, if it takes too long to the original designer to maintain your website, you could hire a company like Innovar Marketing to provide you web maintenance services. An experienced and skilled developer should be able to quickly see how your website is structured and should have no problem making updates to it.
Providing great customer services generates positive results to every person doing business, and web designers are not the exception. You will deal with the designer for a considerable amount of time, so when hiring one you must be sure you like him/her. If you feel comfortable with the designer the process of developing the website will not only be more pleasant but more effective and productive. A good designer should understand that his/her business is linked to the success of your business, and for that reason giving exceptional customer service should be a priority. If possible, I encourage you to meet with the designer in person to discuss your ideas and plans. By meeting with the designer you will not be obligated to work with him/her. It will simple be a meeting to make sure both parties are right for each other. Also, when communication with the designer, make sure he speaks to you in non-technical terms, or ask for clarifications if you don’t understand something the mention.
A good designer will ask you to sign a contract. If you find a designer that does not ask you for one you should think twice before hiring him/her. A contract is a protection for both parties. It protects you because it guarantees that you will get what you requested, and it protects the designer because it guarantees that he/she will get paid. The designer should also be flexible and willing to make adjustments to the contract. The contract should specify as many details as possible; including dates, times, deadlines, cost, payment due dates, copyright, requirements, and expectations.
If you do not purchase it yourself, make sure the domain and web-hosting plan is under your name. A good designer should put everything under your name and should give you all the details of your plan and the access information to your server.
Positive testimonials and recommendations are a good way to get a feeling of the quality of work the designer delivers. If he/she has testimonials in her website, or if he/she has recommendations on Yelp, LinkedIn, or Google Places you should read them carefully. You can also ask the designer for referrals. If the designer is good and provides great customer services, I am sure he/she will have no problem giving you a list of references, and I am also sure some of his/her clients will be happy and willing to answer your questions.
The price is not always a reflection of the quality of the work, but nonetheless it is safe to think that you get what you pay for. Creating a website requires a lot of work, so don’t expect to get a great website if you are willing to pay only a couple of hundreds. Keep in mind that you can get a website done by a student for a very low price, but most likely the work of this student will not be as good as the work done by a professional team. If you go with the cheapest option, you will indeed save money at the beginning, but this decision could cost you a lot more in the long run if for example your website is not SEO friendly and people cannot find you when they search for your service or product. Most people search online before purchasing, so if they don’t find you or if they don’t get a good feeling from your website, most likely your potential client will go with you competitor.
If you don’t have the amount the best designer is asking, you should ask if he/she offers payment options. Some design firms, including Innovar Marketing, offer their clients the option to give monthly payments.
My advice is to get a written quote/proposal from 3 to 5 designers detailing everything that you will get. The designer does not have to be local as most of the time the communication is done by phone or email. When you get a quote, make sure you know exactly what you are getting. For example, some designers can design you a website for a fee, but they charge you separately for other services, such as SEO, business directory listings, Google analytics set up, additional pages, and for submitting your site map to the search engines, so what could be seemed like the best deal could result in the most expensive if you have to pay for each of the additional services. I recommend you looking for a firm or designer that gives you all the cost upfront. Here at Innovar Marketing we only charge for the design and development of the website and we offer all the other services for free. Again, when you get a quote you must ask the designer/developer to specify exactly what you are getting, and don’t forget to get a quote for maintenance services.
If you are interested in getting a new website or redesigning your existing website, I encourage you to follow the above suggestions. It will take some time from your part to do the research, but it will certainly save you a lot of time, energy, and money in the long run. Once you do your homework, I suggest you go with the one you liked the most, not only because you like the designs and prices, but also because of the overall experience you had when you contact them. I also suggest you don’t hire someone just because of the price. As I mentioned to you earlier, the cheapest option could result in the most expensive and inefficient option in the long run.
I also invite you to consider us (Innovar Marketing) for your marketing needs. I am positive we are a great option for any organization because we have a strong portfolio, our staff has several years of experience, our customer services is outstanding, we have several client testimonials, we provide a wide range of marketing services, we offer basic SEO and other services at no additional cost, our prices are very competitive, and we also provide flexible payment options. If you need additional information about our services, want a quote, or if you want to get a list of references please contact us at (408) 315-5218 or at email@example.com.