Before Hiring a Web Designer
Helpful articles because running a small business is Big Work!
Before Hiring a Web Designer – Ask These 6 Questions
Are You a Small Business Owner Looking at Hiring a Web Designer?
Are you looking at hiring a web designer for your small business? We know that it can be daunting. There are several service providers to choose from. So many, in fact, that it’s difficult to know who to choose or how to choose. Whether we ultimately work with you or not, there are several things to consider when making your selection.
When small businesses do not properly vet their website design provider, they may feel buyer’s remorse once their project starts or their site is launched. We hope that this list will help you to be informed enough to ask the proper questions before hiring a web designer partner.
TEMPLATE OR CUSTOM DESIGN
Every website design agency has a business model that works for them and their target audience.
Studio Barn Creative only creates custom designed websites. We do not use pre-made templates. This ensures that your site is one-of-a-kind. The other benefit of a custom design is that we only include the parts, pieces, and plugins that are absolutely necessary for your site to function. This approach keeps your overall site file size to its absolute minimum. A smaller site means a faster site.
As of July 2018, page speed is more important than ever according to Google. When a template is used, several potentially unnecessary or unused plugins are added to the site increasing file size.
We have found that a designer may use a pre-made template because their skillset is still growing, or their time is limited, or they are targeting an audience with smaller budgets. If any of these is true, you may be limited to the initial pre-built functionality of that template. Or, the pre-made template may include a design that you’d like changed, but the designer won’t be able to make those updates.
What to ask: Do you design custom websites or will you use a pre-made template?
WILL YOUR DESIGNER OFFER TRAINING?
One of the things we are most proud of is our comprehensive Video Tutorial training. These videos helps customers confidently make content and image updates on their site after launch. Many of our customers like being able to take control of the content on their site and not have to wait on us (we might be sleeping). In addition, we offer friendly phone and email support to answer technical questions the videos may not address.
What to ask: After my website is launched, how will I know how to make edits to my content?
ONGOING MAINTENANCE, CARE & UPDATES
Other customers prefer not having to learn anything. They enjoy being able to rest assured that their website is fully functional and up to date all the time (let’s be honest, if your site was “down” right now, would you know it without checking Google first? Then, would you know what to do if it was?). Working with a website designer that offers a consistently high level of maintenance and care after launch is invaluable.
What to ask: After my website is completed, do you offer maintenance services to keep my core files and software up to date or will I be responsible for that?
GRAPHIC DESIGN INCLUDED?
Typically, small businesses getting started are budget conscious. Making sure that their dollar is stretched is key. When you are hiring a web designer that has in-house graphic design services, too, it can save hundreds of dollars. Studio Barn Creative never outsources graphic design pieces. We create them in-house with industry standard software by Adobe. SBC is able to bundle designs such as logo or business cards into your website design project costs without additional upcharge typically associated with outsourcing to third-parties.
What to ask: I may need a logo or business cards, or even custom graphics for my site, can you provide those services in-house or do you farm that out to a third-party?
SEO & GETTING FOUND
We are in awe of some of the beautiful websites that people create. We marvel at the design details and the creative use of type and space and color and motion. If you are fortunate enough to have one of these beauties, we’re pretty sure you’ll want lots of people to see it. Especially, potential new customers. Therefore, if your website designer isn’t familiar with SEO, you may want to look elsewhere.
A successful website is equal measure beauty, favorable user experience, and SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. We go into more detail about SEO for small business on our site. In simplest terms, SEO is a process of creating content (including images) that can be easily found by search engines like Google and Bing.
At SBC we are well versed in getting your website found using on-site and off-site processes. And it’s all just part of how we build all of our websites.
What to ask: Do you provide SEO services as part of or after the website build project? Will my website be found by search engines?
THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS
Hiring a pro isn’t just about a web designer with a pretty portfolio. Look to find one with a set of processes and procedures that they can share with you. Knowing what you can expect from them will be helpful as you make your selection.
Does your designer have a plan in the event of a website crash? Can they answer some commonly asked questions about the process?
What to ask: Do you have a set of processes and procedures I can reference before we get started to help me understand how the project will flow and what to expect?
Understanding these topics should put you well on your way to having a successful conversation before hiring a web designer of your choice.