Friday, 6 May 2011

How to find a web designer

Following on from our last post, 5 questions to answer before speaking to a web designer, you should now be in a position to start looking for a web designer to talk to. You have so much choice it can be difficult to narrow it down to the handful you want to start speaking to. And, because of the internet and email, you aren't necessarily restricted to local companies either. However, this can be one way to narrow down your options and it can be reassuring to know that you can call in to meet your web designer if you have any questions - sometimes there is no replacement to face to face meetings.

If you don't have a friend, relative or friend-of-a-friend who's a web designer, you are most likely to find your web designer via one of the following three ways:

1 - Word of mouth: 
Ask who friends, colleagues, customers, suppliers have used and what they thought of them. A web designer can look great on screen, but if you can speak to someone who has been through the development process you'll find out a lot more about whether you'll be able to work with a particular designer or company.

You can also ask for recommendations on Twitter & Facebook, but be aware of anyone you don't usually communicate with or spammers who may be paid for recommendations.

2 - Sites they have designed:
If you come across a website you like the look of, find easy to use, or want the same functionality as, try to find out who designed it. Usually there will be a link towards the bottom of the website to the web designer. You should then be able to see more examples of the designers work.

3 - Search engines:
Enter your search term and you are likely to receive millions of results and possibly hundreds of companies to choose from (unless you're looking for something very specific in your web designer). So while you are looking through their portfolios, try some of the checks below and see if this helps to narrow down your options.
  • Look at the websites they have designed - not just the pictures, but go and use them. Do you like the look of the sites? Are they easy to use? 
  • What size are the websites they have developed? Would you be happy they could manage what you need?
  • Do all the websites look very similar or would you be happy they could do something different for you? If that's what you want!
  • Have they done sites in a similar field to you? If so, they are likely to have done previous research and will have some knowledge of your industry. 
  • Maybe perform some searches to see how the websites are doing in search engines.
  • Have they done sites with similar functionality to what you want?
Much of the time it will come down to instinct and a gut feeling. If you like the look and feel of a web designers website, then get in touch. Try to provide as much information as you can so that they can give you the best advice and if you can spare the time to meet with your web designer, do it. If you go to them you can see where they work, how they present themselves and you'll get an idea of whether you'll be able to work together.

Next week I'll cover questions to ask your web designer at your meeting.

So, how did you choose your web designer? How many did you get quotes? Did you meet your designer? Let us know your stories below.


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