This is just a basic guideline and some tips for those persons or businesses looking for a website. I hope that you will find it helpful in your quest for finding a web designer and make the process of your website design smoother and easier. I have dealt with many clients over the past 6 years of doing web design and this is speaking from experience and my personal thoughts in making the process simpler. Most people do not understand the process of getting a website, as they are not in the field of web design. That is why, as a person in the field and with experience, I have written this article.
First, you should have a basic idea of what you will want and need on your website. Make an outline or a guideline of things to include on your new website. (ie: home page, contact page, contact form, picture gallery, blog, products and/or services page, customer or client testimonials page, etc …) This will be a big help to you when contacting a potential designer for a price quote. Some designers will charge by the page or might have a basic package price for a certain amount of pages and then a per page price for every page after. Try and make it as much of a final copy as best as you can, as making additional changes or additions down the road can or may incur more charges.
Having an outline or guideline will also help you in regards to getting your content together to send or give your designer during the building process.
When you are you looking to hire a web designer (whether it be a freelance artist or a company) you should make sure you research your potential hire thoroughly. Web design is not a cheap investment, but will give you a nice return if done correctly. Reputable designers will have portfolio samples available to you and most will have testimonials from their past and current clients. You should browse their portfolio and see their websites in action. Feel free to read testimonials written by clients, but keep in mind, you will only be seeing the positive feedback from this freelance designer or business. When browsing through their portfolio you should make a note of clients and contact them directly regarding their experience with the designer or business. The research end of the process is critical as you will see what the designer has done previously, their style of work and their customer satisfaction rate.
OK, now that you have chosen your freelance designer or company, you should contact them and get a price quote. You may wantto choose a few to contact so that you can compare prices. Have your budget in mind when you call or e-mail them and be sure to have your outline or guideline readily available so that you may give them an accurate description of what you need. The more prepared you are, the easier things will go and the designer will see you as serious and be more willing to work with you then somebody that is unprepared. In the initial contact you may also want to question the timeline it would take to get your website done. This will depend on you AND the designer working together. You will have to be efficient in getting the designer your desired content and the designer should give a reasonable timeframe in order to get it done. Please be reasonable in your expectations and deadlines as web design is not something that should be done overnight and like anything else, will take time if you want it done right.
So now you have chosen and contacted a web designer and are ready to begin the process with your choice. Next step is a meeting with the designer. You should bring with you to the meeting, your guideline or outline, your checkbook (as most designers will require some sort of deposit to start work) and as much content as possible. A CD or DVD with your final copy of pictures and text would be preferred. (leave a copy of this disc for yourself at home or at your business as the designer may want to keep this disc for their files). Be as thorough and precise as to what you want so that there are no communication errors. If you would like specific colors, a certain look, etc … Explain that now so that the designer is fully aware of what you are looking for. In most cases, you will be signing a contract at this meeting as well, should you choose to proceed.
A contract is very important. It will protect you in the event of the designer straying from any agreed terms and will provide a guideline to what you may need to know and what you are responsible for. Most designers won’t operate without a contract, as it protects them too. You may take a copy of the contract with you to review it before signing it and you can even have your lawyer look it over.
You will have your choice as to what hosting company you will want to use. Some designers may provide hosting as part of their web design package, some may provide it at an additional cost. Other designers may suggest a hosting provider to you or you may choose your own. Examples of hosting companies are www.godaddy.com www.netfirms.com & www.bluehost.com There are many hosting companies out there, you will have to find one that suits your needs and is within your budget. There are some that you may pay monthly, some that you will pay yearly. The choice is yours. If you are specific in explaining to the designer what it is you are looking for in your website, your designer can help you make the choice.
You are responsible for the content to give to your web designer. (unless you are paying the designer extra to come up with the content) You know your business better than anyone. Content such as write-up (About Us, Products and/or Services and their explanations, etc … ) You will also be responsible to provide any pictures necessary to your business. If you would like to have a gallery (for example, a construction company might want to show before and after pictures) you should provide them in an orderly fashion to your designer and have them properly labeled. When providing written content, it is essential that you send over final copy text. Use spell-check and make sure grammar is correct. It will make the process, so much easier.
Once your website is completed, you will probably need some kind of changes done down the road. Updated content, additional products and/or services, additional pictures, etc … Discuss with your designer what the maintenance procedure is that they use so that you understand the process.