Selecting a provider for any service or product brings with it inherent risk.
Is this person safe to buy from?
- Will they be reliable?
- If the product doesn’t work, will I get my money back?
- How will I be treated?
- Will what they do work?
And buying a service, such as web design, is even harder. Just how do you compare one design to the next? After all, most designers can make a web site look nice.
So how can you be sure that the web designer can offer you what he says he can? And how do you know what he has to offer is what you need?
Compare apples to apples
Compare apples to apples. Because of the nature of the industry, many of the people who provide us with a brief for what they want the web site to have or do, do not have the ability to truly know what the best solution is for them.
I know that sounds a little harsh, but I’ll stick by it!
Before you select your web designer, you need to have a highly detailed brief of exactly what you want and need the site to do. Only then can you compare apples to apples.
And only then can you assess the merits of each web designer who is pitching for the work.
One of our biggest advantages over the years against other web designers is the fact that we have had such high profile successes. From the Gold Coast Marathon web site (used to get 780 visitors a year. We redid the site – they average 780 a day now!) to the success with resort web sites to our own web sites.
What this has meant is that we have developed proposals with the added advantage of having the experience of knowing how to develop the site for best advantage and how to effectively market the site.
They are two- (2) huge advantages.
Here is what I would judge with a web designer
Examples of previous work – look at other web sites they’ve done. Do you like the look of them? Can the web site be found in search engines? Does the web site do what it is supposed to do?
Experience – how much experience do they have? Not how many years, but how many web sites? Have they been in the industry for a while or are they new?
Technical Expertise – this relates to such things as search engine optimisation, load time, usability, browser compatibility, etc. In their discussions with you did they address each and every one of these vitally important considerations? Or did they only talk about the look of the web site, i.e. how pretty it will be?
Testimonials – do they have any? Are they easy to work with? Do they do what they say they are going to do?
Specialisation – can this designer provide the specialist skills your site requires.
Guarantee – does the web developer offer a guarantee for his work? This is an important one – if your designer doesn’t offer a 100% money back guarantee, then he is really saying , “I’m not too sure I can do this job.” And you don’t want that.
Price – I’m the world’s biggest believer in value over price. If the designer provides good value, then that’s more important than price.
Point of Difference – why should you use this designer? Does he have something the others don’t?
But wait, there’s more…
It’s pretty rare that you will be able to perfectly compare apples to apples when comparing web designers. Even with a highly detailed brief, many will add their own interpretation and recommendations to the mix. And that can be a positive thing.
Other things to consider:
Is the designer easy to work with? If you designer is impossible to get hold of, never returns your calls or over-rides your decisions, then he may not be the person for the job!
Can the web designer relate web site jargon in layman’s terms – you want to understand what they are telling you. The web can be a tricky place for the unwary and you need to be able to understand everything about your site to achieve the full benefit.
Hidden Costs – will the web designer charge you every time you need to make a minor change to the web site?
Customer service – have they made themselves available to you to answer questions?
During your initial discussions with a web designer, did they endeavour to establish your needs? Or did they just try and sell their product even though it might not be what you want?
Do you like them – I’m big on this one. I think most of us can intuitively feel if a person is decent and honest. If you just don’t like the designer, then that’s a good enough reason not to select them. Our first impressions are usually correct.
At the end of the day, you have to get on with the web designer. After all, you will be spending a fair bit of time together.
Make or break your business
Done right, a web site can be a tremendously valuable asset. It can make or break your business.
Don’t go with the trendy little advertising firm that makes pretty sites. Go with the firm that can best do what you want and need them to do.