How to Choose a
By Karyn Greenstreet
youíre self-employed, choosing a web designer is a crucial decision, as a good
website can bring you more business and a bad one can drive away prospective
are some important things to consider when selecting a website designer for your
What Types Of Web
Designers Are There?
I don't think there is an
"official" definition, so I'll give you MY definition:
Designer - helps you to determine the page layout, graphics, text
location and colors of your site, as well as the navigation and how pages
will cross-link to one another. He may also do the actual computer
programming and graphic art work for the site, or may hire out that work to
a programming specialist. A Website Designer is the project manager for your
Programmer - takes the design from the Designer and creates the code to
make the site run. She is also responsible for all the technical stuff that
happens behind-the-scenes to make sure the site works properly for your
Designer - creates the graphics for the site, including page layout,
colors, etc. Think of this person as the "visual artist" for your
Marketing Consultant - helps you to determine how your website fits into
your overall marketing strategy, and how to get more traffic and sales from
if youíre lucky, you can get all four of these skills from the same person.
A Note on
may find a designer who can also help you with the text for your website but
donít count on it. Be prepared to write the text yourself, or hire a
professional copywriter. Copywriters charge per page, sometimes up to $500 a
page ($5,000 for a 10-page website.)
a hybrid solution: get advice about simple website copywriting principles from
an internet marketing consultant, then you write the text. Have the
consultant edit the text to make sure that it works on the web.
Who Is A Good Designer And How Much Do They Charge?
of your choice of designers depends on whether you want to work locally with
someone, or whether you are willing to work remotely with them over the phone.
Here are some things to think and ask about when hiring a website designer:
attention to how much they ask you about YOUR BUSINESS. They should want to
get to know you and your business intimately. How else can they design a
site that reflects you and your business, unless they spend time to get to
at sites they've designed to see if you like their style. Is there a certain
feel to ALL their sites, or are they flexible in their designs?
them if they did the actual graphic and layout design of the site, or if
they just did the programming.
they don't do the graphic work themselves, can they recommend a graphic
they have a structured planning process that leads you through the design
phase, and if will they document all the discussions and decisions? If
they have a Website Planning Guide that youíll work through
together, that's really helpful.
them what they know about internet marketing and search engine optimization.
Be sure that they're creating a site for you that meets your larger
marketing and business goals. (A pretty site is no good to you unless it
generates revenue and prospects.)
the designer for their fees and what is the estimated cost for the site you
want. They may not be able to give you a good estimate until you discuss
content and features of the site. Expect to pay between $60 - $125 an hour,
depending on their skill and their location. A quality website with
good graphic design and layout will cost around $2,500 - $3,500 for a
10-page site. If you add a blog, newsletter, shopping cart, autoresponders,
email address setup, SEO, membership site, or logo design (or if you have
more than 10 pages), expect the price to be higher.
them how they bill you. Will they invoice you monthly, or when certain
milestones are reached? Do you have to make deposits?
attention to whether they'll try to stick within your budget, or whether
they keep suggesting new add-ons that increase to the cost of your site.
Remember, designers arenít responsible for your budget -- you are.
to some of their current and recent clients, to see how smooth the process
was. You want someone who has good project management skills AND good
communication skills. They have to listen to you, not just give advice.
them whether they will maintain your site after the initial design, and how
much they'll charge for that. Some designers want to create new sites but
don't want to maintain them. Someone like a virtual assistant (VA) may be
able to maintain your site for a lower hourly fee, as long as the VA is
skilled in website programming. The more bells and whistles and complicated
programming in your site, the less likely that an average VA will be able to
maintain it for you.
you're going to maintain the site yourself, ask them if they'll design your
site so that it is easily maintained by a business owner. We recommend Adobe
Contribute for basic maintenance tasks to all our website design clients, as
it's easy-to-use and if you make a mistake, you can "roll back"
the website to a previous (good) version.
sure that your contract states that you own the copyright to the
entire website (except, of course, for stock photos and graphic...the
original photographer/artist owns the copyright to stock images). All
content, including graphics that you hired someone to custom-create for you,
should be owned by you.
sure you own your domain name, even if the website designer registered it
your designer for original, editable source files. You need to be assured
that you will be able to edit your website (or have another designer edit
your website) with ease.
have got to enjoy talking and working with them. Do you LIKE the designer?
Do you believe they'll act ethically? Do you enjoy speaking with them? Do
they stay focused to the task at hand, or do they ramble and waste your
time? Do you feel you "click" with their personality and values?
Do they offer you invaluable insight and advice about your site design?
each prospective website designer what your deadline is and ask if they can
meet it. Many good website designers are already booked for the next 4-6
weeks, so you may have to wait for the designer of your choice. If you
donít have a specific deadline, brainstorm with the designer to create a
good working deadline that you can both meet, especially if you will be
doing the job of writing the website text.
website is crucial to the success of your business. By doing extensive
interviewing of potential website designers, youíre more likely to pick one
that can do the work you want, is willing to really listen to you, can create a
site that reflects you and your business, and keeps within your budget and