When I started designing websites I thought about the joys of designing. It was all about the design. Well 17 years and a lot of websites later I’ve realized that the joys come from keeping my clients happy and a lot of that has nothing to do with the actual designing. Every day, I have the pleasure of getting to know my customers and their businesses and their business goals. I get to learn a new job each time I’m hired. I love that. When I partner with a company I become a part of their team. Turns out, my joy isn’t only in creating killer sites it’s making sure my sites make my clients businesses succeed.
If you’re shopping for a website designer, please shop around. You need to look at portfolios yes, but also shop for how well they fit into your organization. Here are 6 tips to help.
1. Make sure they will partner with you and your team. Do they treat you like an individual company or just another job.? You can get a feel for this in your initial meeting. Are you dealing with a sales person or someone who has some say in the design.
2. Make sure they’re easy to talk to. If you don’t understand what they’re selling you in your initial meetings you won’t ever understand what you bought. Don’t click with them? Move on and talk to someone else.
3. Make sure they answer the phone or call you back. If they don’t call you back when they’re trying to sell you a website they certainly won’t call when you need help.
4. Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Down the road, if you have a website problem your first thought shouldn’t be, “Ugh I’ve got to call that website guy.” it should be “I’ll call the website guy, he’ll solve this.” You’ll know if your comfortable or not in your initial meeting. Not comfortable? Don’t hire them.
5. Do they have great ideas to help your business grow? When they give you a proposal are there reasons for decisions in design and layout? They should be able to back design decisions with goals to reach target audiences and call them to action. Ask them pointed questions like, “Why do you think that color is right for my product?” or “Why did you choose that photo?”
6. Is the person you’re talking to condescending? If you’re uncomfortable with computers, you shouldn’t be more uncomfortable with the person who is going to help you grow your business on the computer. He should be willing to explain to you anything you need to know without acting arrogant or demeaning.
Shopping for a website designer is just like shopping for anything else. There’s no mystery. If they don’t feel right, call someone else.