What You Should Know Before You Hire a Web Designer
I love buying cars. I enjoy researching, comparing, test driving, and even negotiating. For me, it’s a challenge to purchase as much value as possible within my budget. Cars are fairly easy to compare, even amongst the same category of car, and there are national standards for determining things such as MPGs, power, and performance. It’s a tougher task, however, when you need to hire a web designer. There are no national rating metrics, no EPA regulations, and no Cars.com.
Just like a car, when your browsing the web, you know when you’re driving a corvette vs. a focus. Speed is incredible, ease of navigation is superb, and add to that a visually appealing aesthetic, and you will pick out the corvette. You might not be ready for a corvette yet, but you still want to get the most value for your dollar. This guide should help you know what to expect, and what information you can provide ahead of time, to help get accurate quotes, save yourself aggravating mistakes, and hire the perfect web designer for your project.
Know Your Audience
Who is your audience? This is easiest when you think of several different “personas” that will interact with your business online. Your business doesn’t have only one type of customer, or even only one type of stakeholder. Each stakeholder in your business will want to use your website, and they may have completely different purposes for that use. If you overlook one of those stakeholders in the beginning, you are setting your project up for scope creep, which means more money and time than you initially expected.
Additionally, you should know if your audience is local only, nationwide, or worldwide. Do you have different content depending on the locale of the visitor? Did you know you can show a completely different website to foreign visitors?
Providing this information will help potential web designers understand the level of online marketing that might be required to attract each audience. Local SEO is easier to achieve rank quickly than is national SEO, and similarly for worldwide. When you hire a web designer, you want to make sure that they understand on-page SEO, and how your keyword strategy will inform the design.
Know Your Project Scope
Unless you’ve been involved in web design projects in the past, you might not even know how to define your project scope. If you don’t define the project scope, you’ll end up with quotes that are all over the board, and it will be very difficult to distinguish a good value proposition from an underestimated proposition.
Before you begin, ask yourself these basic questions:
- How many pages do you anticipate?
- Do you want each of those pages to be custom designed, or do you just want to focus on the homepage?
- How many design revisions do you anticipate? (If you are really picky, you might want to see 5 different versions.)
- Do you need advanced functionality such as contact forms, calendars, forums or e-commerce?
- How quickly do you want to launch your website?
- Do you just want a website, or do you want a website with ongoing promotion strategies?
- Should the website be optimized for on-page SEO?
- Do you need a keyword strategy, or do you already have this defined?
If you provide some of these details, then you have a fighting shot at getting some quotes that are actually comparable. At Catch22, we prefer to meet with potential clients to delve into the scope with our professional expertise before offering quotes. This process will help you define your project scope.
There are some web developers who will create a website for $1,000. Then there are others who won’t look at your project unless it’s over $100,000. This may seem confusing, but don’t expect to get a Cadillac with Ford money. Yes, there are deals to be had, but I’d recommend having a knowledgeable web friend take a look if it seems too good to be true, just like you’d have your mechanic check out that new car.
Know How Your Website fits Your Marketing Strategy
Similarly to the project scope, you might think you have a pass on this one. After all, you know your business, but you are not a marketing genius any more than a web genius. Smart Insights did an informal poll of organizations and found that 50% of them don’t have a digital marketing strategy. If you find yourself on the wrong side of that poll, you will want to evaluate your digital strategy, which centers around your website.
Need a little help? Entrepreneur can give you a head start creating your digital media strategy with their four tips.
Know Your Website Goals
In order to get an accurate quote, you should be able to identify your goals and relate them to your current website’s performance. How many visits per month do you get, and is this number trending up or down? How many of those visitors become leads, and then customers?
If you set goals, then the expert can help create a plan of action to strategically reach those goals. If you want to double your organic traffic by next year, then we might recommend blogging twice a week. If you need to improve your conversion rate from 1% to 5%, then we’d need to improve your calls-to-action and landing pages.
We require our prospects to provide us with their goals before we provide an estimate. Without goals, you are sailing your ship into the ocean without a compass or a map. You may end up getting somewhere, but it won’t likely be your destination.
Know Your Budget
For some businesses, budgets are flexible based on perceived value. If this is you, then determine a range that you feel comfortable with, pick the middle, and provide that as a guide in your quote request. You will get fewer extreme quotes when you do this, and you aren’t playing your cards. You still have negotiating power until the end, you’ll just give web designers a starting point.
If your budget range is $20 to $30 thousand, you aren’t doing yourself a favor by getting quotes for $5,000. We will work with both of those budget ranges, but the product we will produce is going to be significantly different. There may be scammers out there who will sell you a $5,000 Ford Focus for $30,000; but hopefully, if you’ve come prepared with knowledge, you can spot them a mile away.