Your company's website is often your first chance to make a good impression. It won't matter how great your products or services are if that first impression doesn't win over customers.
Hiring a web developer is an important step towards launching your company's website or redesigning an old one. But how can you tell whether you're choosing the right one?
If you're trying to figure out how to hire a web designer, keep reading. We're breaking down 13 tips you need to know to ensure that you choose the right developer for the job.
Let's dive in!
1. Experience Isn't Everything
When you start looking to hire a web developer, you'll find that there are countless designers out there, each at different points in their career.
You'll want to choose a designer with a track record of great websites. But that doesn't mean that you need to choose the designer who has been around the longest.
Experience can be valuable. A designer who has been working on websites for a number of years will know a thing or two about what works and about how to create a site that works for you.
But keep in mind that a newer designer may still have great design skills, as well as a fresh perspective on effective websites.
Rather than focusing on an applicant's resume, take a look at their portfolio. Use examples of their work to narrow your search to designers who create work that fits your company's style and needs.
2. Have a Clear Budget
Before you even start considering potential web designers for the job, you need to be clear about your company's budget.
While you may prefer one web developer's work over the next, if that developer is outside of the budget that you or your company can afford, it won't do you any good to interview them.
At the same time, setting too low of a budget, and then overspending on your website, could hurt your own company's bottom line or cause you to have to skimp on other marketing costs.
To set your website budget, start by thinking about what you want to get from your website.
Do you need a static site or one that you will be able to customize or change often? Will your site simply be a blog, or will it need a functioning store or other features? Will your site have a single page, a dozen, or several hundred?
The more functions your site will need to have, the more you'll need to budget for development.
3. Don't Let a Low Cost Sway You
When creating your budget, keep in mind that you will get what you pay for.
There's no such thing as an effective budget website. If you choose to spend less, you'll get a website that is also less customized and less responsive. If you predict a lot of traffic, a budget website may not be able to handle it.
If you're wondering why it's so important to make an investment in your company through an effective website, view here a few stats on why you need to redesign your website.
4. Buy Your Own Domain Name
If you have no website development experience, it can be tempting to hand over all functions to your developer.
But one task that you'll still want to complete on your own is buying your domain name.
To start, choosing the right domain name for your business is important.
But registering your own domain is about more than just choosing the right one. On the off chance that you have issues with your web developer, the last thing you want is to be at his or her mercy to buy back your domain name.
5. Take Your Time to Find the Right Fit
Hiring a website designer should never be a quick task.
After all, the website that will be designed for you will hopefully be around for some time.
Hurrying the process of building that website doesn't make much sense. Yet, many new businesses hire the first or second web developer they can find in order to get a site built and launched fast.
Avoid this temptation, and instead, take your time to hire the right developer for the job. Then, once he or she is hired, give them a reasonable amount of time to complete your website, rather than urging them to work too fast.
6. Know Your Customer's Preferences
While your web developer will be able to offer design ideas and tips for creating the perfect website for you, it's a good idea to do some of your own research first.
Start by looking at other websites that your customers might also be using. Consider traits that those websites share, including specific colors, layouts, or features.
That way, when you start looking at the portfolios of potential web developers, you'll have an idea of the style that you're looking for.
7. Find a Few Websites You Like
Besides looking for websites that your customers enjoy, you should also choose several sites that have designs that appeal to your tastes.
If you don't have development experience, it can be tough to articulate exactly what you like about websites. Rather than trying to describe specific aspects that you like about a site, simply choose several that you like.
You can then show these sites to developers that you are considering for hire, and talk to them about what those sites have that you would like to see on your own site.
8. Put Your Company's Brand down on Paper
If you want your website to reflect your company's brand, you're going to need to give your developer specific guidelines.
Having these guidelines ready when you're searching for the right developer will give you something to discuss during interviews. You can question potential hires about how they would put your guidelines to work or how they would make your brand come through on your website.
Your brand's style guidelines should include details on colors, fonts, logos, tone, and more.
9. Ask the Right Questions
Once you've analyzed a web developer's portfolio and decided that you like their style, it's time for the interview stage.
Simply liking a designer's style isn't enough. You'll also need to know important details about how they work, what they charge, and how they will handle developing your site.
Before you sign any contracts, be sure to ask important questions, such as when they can start, how long a project will take, and whether or not the developer will offer support once your site is complete.
10. Check a Developer's References
One quick way to find out what it would be like to work with a particular developer is to contact his or her references.
While your website and needs might be very different from a developer's other clients, there are plenty of other things you can ask.
You'll be able to find out whether he or she stuck to a timeline and budget, how easy they were to work with, and whether you can expect to be able to get ahold of them when you need to.
11. Tack on a Mobile Website
When you're getting a quote from a developer for a website, be sure to tack on a mobile-friendly version of your site as well.
Americans spend more than 3 hours a day on mobile devices. This means that your customers are likely to visit your site from a mobile device.
While you could add a mobile version of your site later, getting both done at once, by the same developer, will help ensure that your sites match and operate effectively.
12. Make Sure the Future of Your Site Is in Your Hands
Depending on the developer you choose and the contract that you agree to, you may be working with your web developer long after your initial site is built.
A website needs constant work and updates to stay running effectively. If you don't want to handle these tasks on your own, you might keep your developer on board to handle them.
But if you choose to go this route, be sure that you still maintain control of your website once it's built.
If your web developer ever quits or you choose to replace him or her, you'll want to ensure that you'll still be able to use your same website rather than having to build an entirely new one that you have control of.
13. Ask for a Trial Run
If you're worried about whether you are choosing the right candidate to handle building your website, consider asking if they can do a trial run.
You can hire a web developer for a smaller project before making a big commitment. This will give you a chance to not only test their skills but also to see whether or not you will be able to work well with them.
Hiring a Web Developer to Build Your Website
You're making a big investment in your website. It's important to choose someone that you are comfortable working with, and who you feel confident can handle creating a website you and your customers will love.
Hiring a web developer to build your website doesn't have to be complicated. Use these 13 tips to guide your search and help you make the right decision for your company.
While it's obvious why major companies need a website, if you're thinking of launching a home-based business, you might be wondering whether you really need a website. Click here to learn why you definitely do!