You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a web designer nowadays. The abundance of options can make the task of hiring a web designer can be daunting. So, what does it take to hire the a good web designer? What should you look for? What questions should you ask, etc.?
Communication – The most important characteristic to look for is communication skills. That goes both ways. You have to understand the designer and they have to understand you. Are they using language that is confusing with words you have never heard of? Are they openly answer your questions? Nothing else matters if you can’t communicate with your designer.
Care – Do you they care about your business? You can tell the way they talk to you and questions they ask about your business if they are the right fit. Some web designers can’t shut up about themselves. They go on-and-on about how great they are, never allowing you to get in a word. A good designer will care about your goals and your business. They will strive to understand your goals. The one you want to hire care about the impact of their work and care less about pixels.
Honesty – The best designers don’t always tell you what you want to hear. We still have people that call us and ask for a Flash website. We could build them a beautiful website using Flash technology, but we know that it is the wrong solution. We explain to them that there are other technology that we can use to have some similar elements without the Flash. Most people understand, but some insist and go out and hire another firm. We are OK with that. An honest web designer is good for your business.
Experience – Your designer’s portfolio will give you an idea about the types of clients he has served. It shows you about the industries and companies he has helped in the past. If you are a small business and he has been working with large companies, he might not be the best fit for your project. The portfolio itself should not be a determining factor. You might find someone with a smaller portfolio with excellent skills, a person that cares with great integrity. You have to use your judgment when you take everything into consideration.
References – The best web designers have an abundance of references. Please don’t start calling companies on their portfolio page. I had a prospect once that ended up calling random people at some of our past clients. I ended up firing that prospect. Ask for references, but respect the other person enough to ask for them and don’t turn into a private investigator. Three references is plenty, but ask for them.
Cost – It can be a mistake to hire the cheapest web designer. We should all care about costs, but not at the cost of quality. You will always find someone that will do something for less than someone else, but it doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. The cheaper web designer might be less experienced or more difficult to work with, or a hobbyist instead of a professional. If you hire the wrong designer, you might end up with an unfinished website. The delay and aggravation will end up costing your business much more money than you thought you saved.
There is no shortage of people that claim to be web designers. Your job is to hire the best one for your business. If you take communication skills, personality, experience, and honesty into consideration, you will be able to hire the best website designer for your business.