Five points to consider when hiring a web designer

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So you have a domain name, now what? CIRA has developed this guide to help you and your business establish an effective web presence.

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Five points to consider when hiring a web designer

  1. 1. Five things to look for in a web designer<br />
  2. 2. Do I really need to hire a web designer…maybe<br />Do you actually need to hire someone?<br />Does your website need to have a one-of-a-kind design? Is it complex?<br />Pre-made templates for a variety of types of sites can be found through many hosting companies. <br />
  3. 3. I just have no technical skills…help<br />Almost every project in our lives needs a web presence. Maybe you want to promote your business. Or your charity. Or your kids photos. <br />Your site is complex enough to require someone with programming knowledge…but where to start?<br />
  4. 4. Step 1. How do I know what I really want? <br />Answer these questions to narrow down your options:<br />What kinds of information do you want on the site? <br />How big do you think your site will be?<br />Who are your users? Which operating systems and browsers are they using?<br />Will your site require regular updates? Would you like to make changes yourself or will you require ongoing support?<br />Will you be selling online and need secure payment?<br />Will you need a database to store and retrieve information?<br />Do you want search engines to send traffic to your site?<br />When do you need the job done?<br />What is your budget? Remember to take into account fees for hosting, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates, shopping cart solutions, and photo royalties.<br />
  5. 5. Step 2. But everyone calls themselves a web designer!<br />The obvious first question in choosing a web designer is do you like their website:<br />Is it easy to find information? Is the site navigation clear?<br />Are the pages accessible (no broken links)?<br />Are the pages and overall design consistent?<br />Is there a contact page and site map that are easily found?<br />Is there enough relevant information on the site (e.g., about the company, what they do, the people, policies, etc.)?<br />How is the formatting (e.g., alignment, use of headings)?<br />Do the pages load fast?<br />Is there a portfolio?<br />Does the site discuss the designer's technical background?<br />Are page titles appropriate and informative?<br />
  6. 6. Step 3: But are they right for me? Checking Capabilities<br />Check their portfolio. If you see sites that you really like, make sure the employees who built those sites are still available.<br />The designer should follow current web standards so that your site isn’t outdated when its launched. <br />Has the team created sites for other businesses in your industry? Were they able to reflect the business properly?<br />A graphic designer is not a web designer. Using web creation software such as Dreamweaver does not make a web designer. <br />General technical competence in basic programming languages and graphic software (e.g., Photoshop).<br />Knowledge of when and how to implement multimedia content. Few experiences turn off a visitor to your site faster than excessive of Flash, like an animated splash page.<br />
  7. 7. Step 4: Are they as good as they seem?<br />Once you have a shortlist of three to five designers conduct interviews. Some questions to begin with are: <br />What are the steps in the design process? <br />How long will it take? <br />What will I need to provide? <br />Will you be doing the work yourself? <br />What kind of tech support do you offer? <br />Get an estimate in writing that includes both a detailed price and key milestone dates. <br />Contact their references - reading the online portfolio is not enough! Talk to previous clients and ask about the web designer’s level of helpfulness, ability to meet deadlines, and responsiveness.<br />
  8. 8. Step 5: Establishing a working relationship<br />Once you have selected a web designer, develop a written contract that includes: <br />A detailed description of the work, including number of web pages, features, and functionality. <br />Timing, including check-in points, project milestones and a final completion date. <br />Specific dates for payments. The final payment shouldn’t be due until your web site is completed. <br />Ensure that you are clear on all other terms such as copyright (who owns the site design and any graphics) and updates/maintenance. <br />

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