As a responsible web designer it really hurts me knowing that other designers out there are fooling people who seeks for their services. Clients such as respectable business owners, organizations and other companies are given promises of their dream websites that seem too good to be true. Opportunistic website services providers take money from people and later disappear without delivering any of their supposed products/services.
Just recently a new customer contacted us as usual in need of a website. First brief discussions were through email where initial inquiries and introductions were made. We then continued to discuss through phone. As we were going through the list of information needed before starting this website project, the client’s tone somehow changed as we started talking about payments. I could sense worry in his voice as he then proceeded saying he will only be willing to pay first deposit when he would see at least a bit of work done. Our client shared that in the past he found a web designer online; everything seems great but after talking his way through payment and nicely formulated sales talk, this certain web designer was just nowhere to be found. It was not a good ending, his money was gone and he did not get the website he needed; all efforts put into waste. This experience is not only about the money paid but more so did affected our client’s trust and general view about web designers and other web services providers. .
Surely you have heard yourself similar stories such as this. Scammers and other simply heartless greedy people are all over the internet but so as good and dedicated individuals who are willing to work hard just to deliver the best possible results. All fingers of the hand are not created equal; it’s not possible for every web services provider to be equally good or bad.
Facts to know and Tips to follow when working with
Web Designers (and other Web Services providers)
How to hire a Web Designer
STEP 1: HIRING
Looking for someone whom you can share your website vision with and is the most important step in creating your dream site. Get it wrong and everything else won’t work.
Source: It’s not a big deal where you find your designer
Most of us usually ask, how/where should I find the “best” web designer? We can give you a long list of ways or places where you can find good web designers but at the end of the day, IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER.
But for a start, in my opinion, word of mouth from a trusted source is the classic best way to find someone online. People would always refer good providers to family and friends and it goes on and on. But what if no one can really recommend someone? I tell you, wherever you may decide to search for one, there is always a chance to get it right or wrong.
Even typing on Google to search for a web designer is not 100% spot on; ranking on the first page does not guarantee quality service. It only means these websites who ranks have spent efforts on search engine optimization or invested more in this area other than those who don’t rank as high. Advertisements are also everywhere and whether you found them on a free website advertisement or a big fancy newsprint, that doesn’t guarantee anything for sure.
The only way to determine a good web designer is through your own efforts and not merely relying on the source. Try listing down few names that feels right to you and invest time in knowing more about them, slowly trim down the list, until you are left with one name that you are confident and comfortable of working with.
Web Designers usually offer background information online
Once you get to find one or more web designers that somehow appeals to you in someway, it is best to invest time in getting to know more of them more. It’s logically fair to say that every legitimate online services provider provides information about them online. It does makes sense; it’s the online world where web designers work best and it’s where they should showcase what they can offer just like how an actual store owner decorates his/her shop.
Things you can check that can support a web designer’s background
Whether it’s a big company, a sole trader or a freelancer, web designers owe clients a website of their own. Other web designers who are just starting in this business may not have their own sites yet but at least they should appear on some freelancer host websites or any online directories.
Anyone can’t offer something they don’t have and that goes with people working online as well; it’s quite unacceptable for someone to offer an online service let alone a website when they don’t even own a website for a start.
Websites are web designers’ business face which should be well-kept, regularly updated, functional and appealing. The nature of website presentation is all about these characteristics and if a web designer cannot present these basic things in their own website, then it definitely sends the wrong signal. Go for someone who impresses you with what represents them online for a start.
Portfolio is a website services provider’s show case. More than a web designer’s skills, educational qualifications and other experiences, previous projects are more important measure of their talent.
Portfolios are usually found on the provider’s website if not, clients can request this from them. But as a customer, you should be wise enough to know whether the listed projects are real or not. Do quick check on the web pages your web designers present you. Some crafty web designers are desperate enough to claim website creation that are not their own. Take time to check the websites yourself by looking at copyrights or any web designer signature and other acknowledgement. If you want to be completely sure, you can also ask the website owners themselves after getting the web designer’s consent of course.
3. Social Pages
Another way to check on your web designers is through their social pages if there’s any. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skill Pages, Google Plus are some of the many social media sites you can check. Web designers are becoming more and more active on social media nowadays as this area is now rapidly becoming a vital part of the online services business.
Web designers are usually very open and interactive online as this online world acts simultaneously like the real world for us who work online. Of course you wouldn’t hire a web designer who swears in their tweets or bashes other people through their pages. Social pages could also give a light to a web designer’s personality and professionalism which gives out a more human attribute that you should also definitely consider. Knowing who you work with as the person that they are makes a difference.
Check what other people say. Feedback from people just means these clients took time and effort to share their experience with this provider. You can find reviews either in the provider’s website, online directories or you are also welcome to ask for references.
Unfortunately nowadays, some web designers buy reviews from people or even create fake personas just to flood their pages with “5 star reviews” and one liner great-excellent-perfect comments which you should take note. Genuine reviews would really feel personal, detailed and sincere as compared to fake too good to be true comments.
5. Online Verification
Another check is done simply by typing your web designer’s company or personal name on search engines. A genuine web designer should be registered in established directories such as Google, Yell, Yahoo, Dmoz and other website that require intensive verification.
Going further, if you are still unsure, you have the option to check official registration as well and compare information from what your providers’ claims. You can check for companies if they are listed under government registration sites such as Companies House for UK or Securities and Exchange Commission for USA. As for self-employed, limited companies and sole traders, you can’t find them listed in the previously mentioned bodies but you can politely ask for supporting documents such as National Insurance contributions, HM Revenue and Customs registration or other paperwork for that matter if the web designer is happy to show these of course.
Doing a bit of a research for someone who are planning to hire will convince you one way or the other. Somewhere down the line, once you get the good gut feeling about a certain web services provider, then perhaps its worth giving it a go. Just remember to give a reasonable amount of trust (too less or too much is not good) as a precaution for yourself not to be tricked and at the same time, be careful not to be too intrusive and be sure to keep being respective towards anyone you are researching for.
Compatibility between web designer and client matters most
Know what questions to ask from your web designer. The most important thing to do is to be straight to the point, discuss what you want from a website. Don’t hesitate to share your vision and ideas. A good web designer should be able to understand your vision, supplement ideas and tell you their honest feedback about the project. If they have done a similar website before or have enough familiarity about it then it’s even better.
Asking about a web designer’s skill set or qualifications honestly will not do any good. They can just go on and on about how good they are and some are even too desperate and will even lie about these things. After all, it doesn’t really matter if a web designer have a long list of academic titles if he/she don’t really have the innate creativity and knowledge on how to apply these things in creating a good website. Results is and will always be the measure of a good web designer more than anything else. So at the end of the day, it’s not really all about qualifications; sometimes a self-taught designer is even better than a web designer who graduated with honors.
Also, testing providers about technical things such as HTML, CMS and all those deep website terms is not the way to do it either. A skilled web designer is someone who can talk about complicated things in the simplest terms that anyone can understand. Discuss things with your website services provider the way you want them to respond to you. A balanced level of friendliness and professionalism can already be established with the way you converse with your web designer initially. It’s okay to ask other questions or discuss about things that are not entirely related to websites from time to time if you prefer it that way. This way, you can get to know more of the person you are working with. Some people just don’t find that chemistry to work together. Sometimes it even gets too chaotic if two people can’t just find a common ground to work with.