Five points to consider when hiring a web designer
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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.

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