Posts Tagged ‘designer’

Choosing A Web Designer/Service for small Business

October 2, 2008

October 2, 2008

“Choosing a Web Designer/service provider for small businesses”

There are many different roles and functions needed in order to create an effective and successful website, such as web hosting, a website programmer, a web designer, a graphic designer, and an internet marketing specialist. Sometimes if you are lucky you can find all these essential services from one individual or company, but finding this really is a rare occurrence. Here we will look at the issue of web design and choosing a web designer or web designing service. Web design is the second phase of the whole web site development cycle, so we will be analyzing issues within this framework or phase.

 A web designer is someone “helps you to determine the page layout, graphics, text location and colors of your site, as well as the navigation and how pages will cross-link to one another. He may also do the actual computer programming and graphic art work for the site, or may hire out that work to a programming specialist. A Website Designer is the project manager for your site design or redesign” (http://www.passionforbusiness.com/articles/choose-website-designer.htm).   Choosing a web designer is not easy, and is actually a very critical step, especially when launching an e-commerce site for the first time.  When launching an e-commerce for the first time, a good website can attract customers and bad one can draw customers away, regardless if you are self-employed of a small –medium sized business. There are a number of factors that should be considered when choosing a web designer.

Firstly, one should consider their business and their customer’s needs, and what exactly they are attempting to offer their customer through their website. Website requirements will vary for service-based websites, information-based websites and so forth.  Secondly, in brief, it is important to have a realistic time frame and website plan and a budget to go with this plan. Thirdly, comes actually choosing the website designer, which should be accompanied by some research.

There are a number of things that should be considered prior to choosing a web designer such as: credentials, cost, contact, experience, vision, planning, testing, technology, consultation, legality, and ongoing support.  There is a great deal of informative articles, blogs and sites concerning this type of research for organizations to review. Based on some of this research, below is a summation of tips and suggestions that surrounds choosing a web designer, with a focus on credentials, cost, and experience. 

Credentials

An article found at mediacollege.com, (http://www.mediacollege.com/internet/intro/choose-designer.html), suggested that there a lot of web designers out there who claim to be qualified but have no real experience.  The sites suggests asking any prospective web designer if they can: manually write HTML code, work with languages such as JavaScript, create meta-tags, and optimise for search engines, create forms and other interactive content and work with websites in a secure server environment. If a web designer is lacking in any of the previously mentioned areas, they probably aren’t qualified to work on your website. The article also gives out advice with regards to warning signs, or indicators of a qualified versus an unprofessional web designer. For example, very few professional designers use Microsoft FrontPage; this would be a bad warning sign. Where as, many professional web designers use programs such as adobe dream weaver – this would be a good sign. 

Cost

Even if you are working on a tight budget, do not be blinded in by cheap quotes.  However, one should keep in mind that cost and end results go hand in hand. Karen Greenstreet is a self employment expert and small business coach, sharing tips, techniques and strategies with self employed people. In her article found at Passionforbusiness.com (http://www.passionforbusiness.com/articles/choose-website-designer.htm), she gives great advice concerning cost and web design. She states that if a web designer gives you a quote or estimate before even discussing the content or features of your website this is a bad sign. She also advises to pay attention to whether or not the designer will stick to your budget, or whether they will continues to suggest new add-ons and expensive features.  Finally, she suggests asking what the costs for maintenance or upgrades will be.

Experience

Always ask a web designer for his portfolio, a professional web designer will have one to show you.  In addition, actually talking to some of their previous and preset clients to see how the process went is not a bad idea. Creative behaviour.com (http://www.creativebehavior.com/index.php?PID=47), suggests to first asking the designer how long they have been in business, and that this will be a good indication of how familiar or unfamiliar they are with the current technologies of web design. The websolutions blog at http://jyotitis-websolutions.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-choose-website-designer.html advises to ask the designer for a small test in order to examine their web designing ability. They also suggest checking out the potential web designer’s reputation online. Chances are that if a web designer has any sort of track record or history, whether it is good or bad, it can be found online. Finally, one should always look at the web designer’s site or company site; this will be a very good indication or professionalism and quality.

Having no website at all is better than having one that is unprofessional or amateur in design.  With any type of customer relationship, there should be a certain “fit” and the same applies to choosing a web designer. The research required in order to locate the web designer suited for your needs and business may be a little time consuming but it will be well worth it in the end.