The secret to choosing a web designer is understanding exactly what you need. Filtering through every single choice available will take up too much of your time. Like any other large purchase, ditch the idea of a “best” and focus on your business goals and website requirements.
With that idea in mind, here’s how to walk through the process of elimination to choose the right designer for your startup’s website, whether they’re a local designer or an international agency.
Step 1: Local vs. National
Try searching web design companies on Google and check the top searches because they’re probably all local. If you’re not using a VPN, search engines will match businesses based on your geographical location because they’re the most relevant to searchers.
Local web designers are also more relevant, and better, for your startup because you:
- Enjoy easier access
- Gain access to local knowledge
- Target a wider audience in your area
- Can hold them accountable
- Receive better supports
- Support your local economy
While you may pay less for national web design, you lose out on the local touch an in-proximity web designer can bring. For example, Philidephian businesses should hire a Philadelphia web design team because they’ll know how to speak directly to your audience.
Step 2: Understand Your Budget
Most web designers work on a time basis and will look at your requirements before deciding how much time they need to complete a project. Ask your designers how they’re spending this time because you’ll want to make sure they use it to thoroughly understand your business.
The average industry rate is $400 a day, or $50 an hour, which sounds like a lot. However, your website is a valuable asset and will require expert web design to draw in customers.
Step 3: Research Support Options
While you will receive a better hourly or daily rate from smaller businesses with fewer overheads, you’ll likely watch your website suffer in the support department. Ask your designers if they provide ongoing support and if you can contact their business at a moment’s notice.
Step 4: Gauge Their Portfolio
Good web designers should have several websites in their portfolios. Even designers with minimal experience should have mockups that show off exactly what they can do. Be sure to search for designs based on functionality (payment, booking, etc.) and aesthetic preference.
If a prospective designer doesn’t suit your style needs, it doesn’t mean they can’t pull off what you’re looking for. It’s more important that your website is appealing to your target audience.
Step 5: Ask for Testimonials
Ask your designers for past client testimonials or look up the companies they feature in their portfolios. Do a quick search engine lookup to locate their information, then ask them:
- Was your designer easy to work/collaborate with?
- Did they finish the project on time and on budget?
- Did they deliver everything they promised?
- Are they offering or providing excellent long-term support?
Alternatively, you can use third-party review sites to see if anyone has offered genuine feedback on the services your web designer offers. While you’ll have to ask for testimonials from freelancers, legitimate web design agencies will have a Glassdoor or Google Reviews page.
Step 6: Ask for Proposals
A proposal is a formally written plan that outlines how the designer will implement what you ask of them. It’s better to receive a proposal over a vague email, as you’ll be able to establish a ballpark budget estimate and a detailed description of the project.
When contacting your designer to ask for a proposal, be clear with your budget constraints and due date. Keep some wiggle room for yourself, just in case everything doesn’t go as planned. Avoid sending a lot of feeler emails or continuously upping your expectations.