Victoria Gwen Designs
how to choose a web designer

How to Choose a Web Designer

Choosing a web designer in the midst of all the other business decisions that are flying at you can be difficult. Our latest blog on the Poppy Post can help you know what to ask and look for!

(and get what you need for your site!)

Being a business owner is difficult and hiring out for some things is a necessity. This blog discusses how to choose a web designer that works well with your business needs and personality!

Tanya – Victoria Gwen Designs

So You Want to Start a Business?

Launching a business can be so incredibly scary, for a whole lot of reasons.  There are so many new words that it seems like you’re learning a whole new foreign language-which you kind of are in all honesty!  This is especially true if you’ve been a stay at home parent or working in a cafe or any number of life positions where wondering about website maintenance or getting traffic to said website aren’t at the forefront of your mind.  I know that until I went into business, I had no clue what SEO meant and as for the responsive website, if asked, I probably would have said it meant one that isn’t too slow. Yoast is a company that offers an SEO plug-in, but also a great tool for learning SEO-the Yoast Academy.

I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of classes, webinars, videos and lectures and conferences, combined with articles, chapters, and whole books read to soak in the information needed to be a website designer of any caliber.  I didn’t think it fair to call myself one and not fully understand how to truly give my clients the best value for their hard earned money.  It’s not enough to watch a couple of You-Tube videos and put one website together and then think one can adequately serve others in this capacity.  To help budding entrepreneurs, and those looking to upgrade or revamp their sites, I have a few ideas to use in your search for a good fit!

1.  Have a free consultation where questions are asked freely on both sides

Three words. Have. A. Meeting. I strongly suggest this to be a Zoom, Face Time, Skype or other meeting where everyone can put a face to the voice.  This gives more personalization to the transaction and just gives everyone another avenue of feeling for the right fit.  Not every single discussion thereafter needs to be this kind of meeting- work off of texts after that if that works, but take the time to do this initial meet up as face-to-face as possible.  Ask for their portfolio or examples of their work beforehand so you can ask any questions that may pertain to it.  If there are certain techniques that you are looking for, ask.  Make a list of questions and don’t feel apologetic for asking.  It’s your money and your business after all!  Be prepared too that they will have some questions for you as well.

2.  Have your branding guide handy so the designer can see it

Having your branding guide accessible there so that you both can look at it will make the meeting go that much more smoothly.  The guide will answer so many questions already for the designer and give them a starting point with getting a handle on your business vibe.  Hopefully, your mission, vision and values statements are included in this as well to get an even more in depth picture of your business and goals for the future.  If you don’t have a branding guide, be prepared to discuss that with the designer and decide what to do moving forward from there.  Having your business properly branded is extremely important (discussion for next week), so this isn’t something to skimp on.

3.  Gather some example websites that you like

There’s a good chance that you have already done some surfing with special attention to competitor’s sites, at the beginning stages of your entrepreneurial journey.  Go back and revisit them and look at a whole bunch (technical term, I know!) of sites so you get a good feel of what you like in a website and what you don’t.  Make a list of these things for your designer so they can visit them too and everyone is on the same page.  Ask for sketches of the pages if you’d like, some designers do them all the time.

4.  Do get a written proposal and ask for clear communication guidelines

It’s unfortunate, but there have been several instances of new business owners being taken for a ride by web designers and developers because they didn’t get anything in writing!  Do NOT give anyone any money without a proposal (when signed becomes the contract).  This gives you legal recourse should something go awry.  Additionally, make sure to set up clear expectations for communication with the designer.  This could be as simple as a text update on Fridays or a Zoom meeting every Wednesday at 1500 PST so you can screen-share and look at progress together.  One more tidbit, make sure you have the passwords and necessary information to access YOUR website.  Believe it or not, this has happened to people on more than one occasion.  The designer doesn’t deliver, gets angry, or disappears from the planet and now they don’t have access to their own dang website … do not be this statistic!  Your site should not be held hostage as a means to keep your business.  That is not the kind of business relationship any of us want to be in!

5.  Who is responsible for copy-writing, image curating, and SEO? Just to name a few items …

Chances are, you know exactly what you want your pages to say and probably have the images to go with them, especially if you are a product based business.  However, if you want your designer to do these things, make sure that they CAN do these things (most do), before assuming it’s happening.  SEO should be discussed with your designer as this is what drives traffic to your site.  If you don’t know about SEO, it’s best to go with the pro.  Just sayin’.   Also, site maintenance for the long term is another topic to throw out there.  If you don’t have the time, nor want to learn this-which is perfectly OK-ask the designer to include monthly fees for this in the proposal.  To keep up with SEO and your site ranking in Google’s algorithms, your site has to change things up frequently and your designer can probably assist you in this area too.

I know this was sort of long-winded, and I PROMISE I cut it as short as I could- but I really wanted to give everyone a little tutorial on how to pick a good designer for their business needs.  Whatever you decide, and whomever you end up working with, everyone knowing what is expected from day one makes for a much healthier and less stressful designer-client relationship which hopefully, becomes a long-term one! Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Best wishes!

Tanya at Victoria Gwen Designs

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