Okay, you have done your planning. You have a good idea about what you want, your goals, and you have a good handle on the content that is needed.
Now you need to find the person to make your site come to life. Some of you may have the skills to create your own website, and others may have the time and want to delve into doing the work yourself. But, most of you probably want to continue working at your craft and do what you love to do and want to hand off the project to a professional.
How do you hire the right web designer?
Start by talking with friends and colleagues who have gone through a web site design or redesign project. Ask them about their web designer? Ask them if they were happy with their designer. Look for a designer who is easy to contact, easy to understand and has a respect for deadlines and work schedules. Make sure there is a good personality match.
Just like any other field of work, many web designers specialize. For example, if you are a creative professional, you may want to look for a designer who specializes in creating websites for designers and creative professionals. Try to look for a designer who specializes in your field of work, or at least performed some work in that area. Review some of the designer’s work. Do you like her style? Is her style in line with your brand?
Contact web designers and actually talk with them on the phone. Share your project specifications with them. Do they communicate in a clear and effective way that you can understand? Do they answer your questions? Are they clear about what they can do for you?
When you find a designer you like, ask her to submit a brief proposal that includes work to be delivered, price quote, payment schedule and work schedule (time line).
Some organizations choose to do the hiring process through issuing a request for proposal (a solicitation made through a bidding process). It is a good process and one that allows you to gather a great deal of information. It does take a lot of effort to respond to such a solicitation; therefore, you will most likely receive responses from agencies (which is fine if you have decided that you want to work with an agency). Freelancers are often busy working and can’t afford to take the time off to respond to such a solicitation.
Consider working with a freelancer. The benefits include continuity (you are always working with the same person), saving money (often freelancers charge less than an agency) and personalize attention (one-on-one communication with the same person instead of having multiple contacts).
Questions to Ask
1. When can you start working on the project?
2. What do you need from me before we start?
3. Who is doing the work? Is anything outsourced? Who is the contact person?
4. Can you help with writing content? Some designers do more than design.
5. Do you have experience with my industry?
6. Do you have experience designing sites for mobile devices? Responsive sites?
7. Do you have experience with the content management system I want to use?
Take your time and make sure there is a good fit between you and your web professional. You will be glad you did.
by Paula Mottshaw
Paula Mottshaw specializes in web design and graphic design (print materials) for healthcare and nonprofits. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.