Just started your own business? Or trying to give the one you have a new lease on life? Then you've probably already realized that, nowadays, no matter what kind of company you have, you MUST have a great website to have a great business.
You can definitely learn to design and build your own site — and gain some amazingly useful tech skills along the way! But, if you want to leave it to the professionals, how do you know which professional?
Here are three steps to take to hire the right person to give you an online presence worthy of your business and manageable within your limits.
1. Figure out what you need and want
Think about what your website needs to do and what you want it to look like. You know your business and your brand best so you're the best person to communicate that to whoever you hire to do your site.
Make a list of:
- functions your site should have for example: a blog, photo gallery, calendar, reservation system, online store, etc.
- sites that you like the style of and why you like them
- any particular design features that appeal to you and why like: colors, fonts, graphic images, photographic style, etc.
The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to design and build your site. But try to stay open to the suggestions of your web professional too! After all, they're trained and experienced in what looks and works best with the schedule and price range you set.
2. Find a professional to work with
If some of the sites you like are for local companies, contact those companies and ask who did their site. You can also ask friends, other local companies, or even business organizations in your city (like the Chamber of Commerce or professional organizations) for recommendations.
Note: Working with an individual freelancer or small agency can be a fantastic way to go. Not only will they understand your situation as an entrepreneur, but they're almost sure to give you personalized and flexible service plus the most up-to-date design and development ideas. And, hopefully, you'll even have the chance to work with a female designer or developer who can really relate to you and your business and make you both shine!
Should you hire a designer, a developer, or both? A web designer creates the look and structure of a site while a web developer turns that design into a site by "coding" it. In today’s world, many designers also code, and many developers also design. So, don't get too hung up on titles. Instead, go ahead to the next step to see what's on offer.
3. Focus on what you'll get
Once you've found some potential partners, contact them in the way that's most comfortable for you (to see if your communication methods and styles match) and share your lists from step 1.
Then, ask them to tell you about their:
- Former clients and projects (Bonus if you can contact the clients!)
- Process and deliverables
- Availability and timeframe for your project
- Policies for content and assets, SEO, responsive design, revisions, and maintenance and updates
(And, by the way, here's a few questions NOT to ask if you want to be their favorite client!)
Be sure to speak up if they use any terms you're not sure about and to get a written contract before you start. A true web professional will be more than happy to answer any of your questions and to put their promises on paper.
By following these 3 steps and trusting what you feel is best for your business, you’ll be well on the way to finding the right person to design and develop your company's digital future.
Adda Birnir is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.