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.
STEP 2: PLANNING
Getting clear agreement and pin-pointing details about the project is an ideal way to start. This step is when the client talks more and web designer listens and gives guidance towards decisions made.
Flexibility varies for every web designer
Terms and conditions, prices, length of project, and other working details set between clients and online services providers can usually be adjusted according to convenience of both parties, more so of the client. You can find some that have rigid terms which are all laid out in their websites, some even require clients to sign a contract and some are more accommodating and would adjust according to what they think is best for their clients.
Make sure you read fine prints on terms and conditions and clarify whatever agreement you set with your designer. Better yet, if you are not comfortable with anything, always ask and discuss about things before it’s too late. A good web designer is definitely someone who knows how to compromise and put their client’s interest first. Website services providers know best of the fact that its hard to be careless online because of opportunistic people that’s why understanding providers would always give way to client’s wishes to win over trust and give assurance to them.
Good web designers always follow the rule of give and take
Give and take or vice versa. A genuine web designer would always consider the wishes of their clients as we have mentioned beforehand. Having said so, they won’t hesitate to give an effort to show their clients something that will convince them to trust. Especially when talking about payments, it’s just fair if some clients ask for progress on their website project or perhaps a sample of their website before parting with their hard-earned cash. As a web designer, we might lose time but it’s just right to show determination in our end to win over clients. Just like how retailers give out trial or samples of their products/services, we should also invest time and effort to give something to our clients before asking.
Web designers should also explain you exactly where every penny ends up. Because website prices’ range is very wide, it’s really hard to question someones quote. It’s also a good idea to reverse the situation and be upfront with your budget and find someone who is willing to work for you within your budget and not the other way around. Some designers can charge very high because of unnecessary fees which means you as a client should also know the value of your money. Price does not equal quality; it’s not always the case where you get what you paid for applies. Always look for a web designer that charges reasonably. It’s unfair to pay too much for services that other providers can do better and price cheaper. On the other hand, paying too less also leaves your designer less equipped for the project considering that websites also cost investment of time, money and effort from their end.
STEP 3: WORKING PHASE
Working on a website project is a two-way process. Clients job is to direct and give constructive feedback for the service provider to work on and reciprocally, the web developer/designer should also put the client’s words into use.
Communication is very important
In any type of work undertaken, it has always been said that communication is an important factor that drives good result. From start to finish, creating a website will always be interaction between the client and the designer. Unlike any other service providers, website services is the type of work that can be done remotely. You have the choice of the working set-up. Some people prefer to do the work face to face, but usually, others do it both remotely and in site or just purely through phone, email, etc.
On a web designer’s point of view, for us we feel more comfortable working remotely for the bigger part of the work. The pressure of being “watched over” is not there therefore giving us more of the concentration and ease that we need. The beauty of website services is that it offers convenience for the client and the web services provider alike. It doesn’t demand us to be physically present all the time and provides us options to agree between ourselves such as when to meet, mode of communication, and other necessities.
Ideally, its best to meet initially with your provider. Not only would it allow proper introduction of each, but also for clarity of agreement and passing of intricate work details. After getting the trust and confidence of a client, the website project is then entrusted to the designer and is overseen by communicating online or by phone.
Ask your web designer on what communication options they can offer. Choose wisely considering the project in hand, time management, and of course the convenience for you and your designer. A good provider should always have time to discuss things with you and shouldn’t have any issues in responding promptly considering we are always working online. Nowadays, the internet offers a lot of inexpensive ways to communicate. Clients and providers can even send files to and fro with ease and links can even be shared where clients can keep track of how the website project progresses. Be creative, for example, if you are not a techie person, you can grab a pen and paper and start scribbling an illustration/notes, take a photo of it and send it over.
Miscommunication often leads to a chaotic working atmosphere, creates unnecessary tension, and more often than not, leads to a project that is out of expectations. It’s not always the designer’s responsibility to “get things right”. Being a good client also does a lot in a website project; giving clear instructions and giving honest feedback directs the project to the right way. Simple things such as listing down questions before a phone call or giving enough information in your emails really does a lot. You can always use all means of communication as long as you are both comfortable with it. Some people can better explain themselves over the phone, some don’t. Some are good at writing, some with illustration. At the end of the day, its best to respect each other and compromise in a method that both are happy with.
STEP 4: RESULTS & FUTURE WORK
A successful website project is all about the thumbs up from the client and that satisfying feeling from the designer. Coupled with the outstanding project result is a satisfactory use of resources that includes time frame and properly spent finances. Good website services providers work for what their clients paid for and even beyond that. Results phase should be the time to appreciate what is done, least stressful stage of the process, and of course, the inclusion of future plans.
Website’s outcome should be satisfactory for both parties
Web designers are aware that there will always be room for changes in a website no matter how polished it may be. People have diverse perception on things and when it comes to websites, clients have the last say of how they prefer their websites to be done. Designers shouldn’t be selfish to impose their choices for a client’s website, unless it involves functionality and other advantages for the website, web designers should respect what the client wants. As for the clients, asking advice from your provider would definitely bring more positive changes to your website. Good website services providers know what’s better not only on the looks but for overall functionality and user experience as well. Trust that us web designers have the same goal as you have that is to create the best possible outcome, after all, a nicely done website is a designer’s pride and fulfillment that we are even proud to put our stamps on it.
Just know that clients are entitled to have a reasonable amount of revisions before getting the website up and running. Some providers allow few changes wanted in the last minute and yet again, some providers may charge. As a client, you should be wary of this and allow sufficient time to review your final website draft, check every element, every link, every image, text and even ask friends, family or colleagues to test the website as well. List down all the changes you need and remember to always be respectful to your designer and don’t forget to point out the positives before diving to the negatives. We are all human after all and the way you deal with your designer sometimes determine how they handle the project as well.
Finally, when everything is done and dusted, give what is due and don’t forget to leave your honest feedback for your provider. If you think you have had a very good designer, spread the word and help other people experience a good service that you had. If you are not 100% satisfied with your designer, be the better person and point out the things that you think needs improving; this will not only help the person but will also somehow avoid other people to experience the inconvenience you may have had with this particular website designer.
It will always be a win-win situation for you and your designer to see your website live online with all the work and effort you have both invested despite of any difficulties that you may have encountered.
You should agree on what lies ahead for the website
So what happens next? Your website is live and you can finally see the result of hard work. Before saying goodbye to your dear designer, its best to discuss the future of your website with the maker. Ask the questions you need to ask. What if you need changes after few weeks? How to you get the website on the ranks of search engines?
There are two options your provider can offer; to help you further or to teach you how to do it yourself.
First choice will of course cost you a fee which usually will be done monthly but if you have more budget for website management and marketing and you want the best for your website, obviously this is the best choice. Also, if you are not a techie kind of person, then perhaps a few months of help won’t hurt. Web services providers are also usually capable of helping you towards promoting your website through social media, adverts, search engine optimization (SEO), and other ways of marketing. They would also be happy to do changes inclusive in your monthly fee as well as manage domain and hosting matters for you. Having a web master best works for websites such as online shops, news pages, classified sites, and other websites that needs regular updating and editing.
On the other hand, if you have a good grasp of computers and online basics, you can also ask your web designer to teach you how to manage your own site. This is ideal for personal websites, small businesses, blogs, and websites that don’t require much changes.
But of course, you can also opt to find a new web master and usually, clients are more than welcome to contact designers if ever they need help.
Don’t forget to clarify things with your designer especially about the copyright and privacy of your website, finalize contracts if you have one, re-check invoices, ask for domain and hosting details, and basically just double-check everything as your website if finally handed over to you.
Congratulations! You are now ready to hire your own web designer and create your own website! These are just few pointers I can share and of course you can add more…
Don’t forget to be yourself when dealing with people you want to entrust your website with. Don’t hesitate to be honest, open and just enjoy the experience. The person behind the computer who is working to build you a website also wants the best for you. Above all things, take initiative, be knowledgeable about all things and be careful of dealing with the wrong people.
P.S We can give you free options, suggestions and advice for free! Please don’t hesitate to contact us, we don’ bite 🙂