How do you shop for a web designer?

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 10:34 AM

Hey everyone,

I am going to start shopping for a webdesigner for my business website soon. I know what I like in terms of appearance and the guidelines for making a website look good and work well for a user, but how do I shop for a web designer? All the articles I've read say look at who designs the sites you like, which is a good idea, but what types of questions do I ask to know if I want to hire them? I am not looking for bargain pricing so I don't want a student (no offence to students) but I am someone who is infuriated very quickly by computer problems so I definitely want a full time professional who will fix things, very quickly. Considering how very little I know about web design I am extremely particular about how a site looks and if I see a spelling mistake on a business site I will leave immediately.

Also I have no idea how they price. Well I know the number of pages would factor into it, but what else? I am guessing that more interactivity, which requires more skill would add to the pricing. Anyone know anything about pricing? Anything at all would help because I don't want to start interviewing until I have at least a few really good questions to ask. Thanks!

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 11:09 AM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

An ex-friend used to do web design - here's some things I would suggest:

Do they charge a monitoring fee each month - if there's a problem does this fee cover any trouble shooting they might have to do?

Will you have access to change anything (do you want to have access to change anything)?

Odds are they charge for set up and most charge each month for up keep. Some over charging for set up and then if you don't keep them on 'retainer' a fee to fix something.

It sounds like to me, you're probably going to want something on retainer.

Also, find out if you own the site name or do they? So if you choose to leave that company, can you take your site with you??


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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 12:07 PM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

Hi Tanis. Im pretty sure you have seen my wedding business site (www.myaislerunner.com ) since you and I have discussed our mutual businesses at length. Personally, I think my site is really well done. I think a good business website tells the story of who that person is. Since I include a lot of humor in my wedding business and Im also a really laid back person who often becomes friends with clients - that overall mood is projected on my site. I actually used someone who used to post on this site a long time ago. She doesnt really post here anymore, but at the time, she gave me a hefty discount if I would be her first customer. Now, she has started her own business as a Web Designer, so even though shes fairly new technically speaking, shes also really good. She took all my ideas and just put them into place. She did exactly what I wanted, and we were always in contact, working on every change together. I would recommend her and I can give you her info if youre interested. Just let me know.

Generally speaking though, I think a good way to find a great web designer is to look at other peoples websites either in or outside of your own business. (other wedding planner sites or just any type of business sites.) When you like one, find out who the web master is (you can usually find out at the bottom of the page) and contact them. Everyone has a different style so find out which overall style you like or dont, and go from there.

As far as price, it really does vary depending on how complex your site will be. Things like pictures, video imagery, or complex fonts etc cost more money. Like us with our business, some charge by the hour and others a flat fee and then once its done, additional for updates.

You know how to reach me if you want my web designers info.

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 12:51 PM Go to message in response to: kelleyiskelley

Thanks Pharmtox and Kel,

Pharm the questions help. I just don't want to appear clueless and have sucker written across my forehead. Sucker = $$$.

Kel I thought of your site but I haven't been able to get into it the last couple of days :( I think I am going to try and find someone local because Charleston is relatively small and people here do a lot of business by word of mouth. In fact a lot of businesses don't even have websites. Every connection with a business will help me. I've even heard some people in the wedding business say that they don't do business with anyone unless they've been around for 25+ years which pretty much writes off anyone under 45 and definitely writes off a newbie from Canada. Its the biggest disadvantage I have. I think the majority of my clients will be destination brides so the bulk of the advertising budget will go to the website.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 5:15 PM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

Dear Tanis,

A huge amount of good web design is in storyboarding. My suggestion is to turn off the computer and sit with a pencil and paper and draw out what you want people to see. It need not be elaborate art work, but it should be detailed enough to indicate what happens when a button is clicked or a drop-down is selected. Get a set of colored pencils and lots of blank paper.

Once you, the client, have your storyboard, then take it to various web designers for a quote.

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 5:20 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I like the idea of having it drawn out as a story board as I know what I want it to look like, but I think I will print the graphics. If I try to draw anything they will not take me seriously!

I went to a painting class with my little sister a couple years ago and the Big Sister's Organization selected my painting to represents the littles, until they found out I had done it. They seriously thought hers was the adult's and mine was the child's.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 6:42 PM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

Dear Tanis,

To storyboard, you don't really need to DRAW anything. You can just make a circle, and put "wedding gown graphic here" in the circle.

Printed-out graphics are fine.

The idea is to draw out, with colored pencil and paper, a mock-up of what you want your site to look like. How many pages? How much detail? Any database look-ups? Things like that.

THEN, take it to a web designer for a quote. You'll get a better quote if you have the storyboard worked out in some detail.

Movie directors make heavy use of storyboards. They have a good idea of what the movie will look like before exposing a single frame of film.

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 6, 2009 7:07 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

To storyboard, you don't really need to DRAW anything. You can just make a circle, and put "wedding gown graphic here" in the circle.

Alright I get your meaning now.

THEN, take it to a web designer for a quote. You'll get a better quote if you have the storyboard worked out in some detail.

That part I really like. .

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SoonToBeAWard Posts : 280 Registered: 5/22/06
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 7, 2009 7:17 AM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

Hi Tanis,

I agree with AOTB. I was a content manager for an airline website for many years and I now do some freelance web design work here in Australia. Storyboards, wireframes, whatever you want to call them, always helped us get our point across to the web developers whenever we wanted to enhance something on our site or develop something new.

I also liked it when the developers would present us with their own storyboards of what we had requested. It makes sure that everyone understands each other in the development process.

The web designer will also gain a good understanding of your business right from the word go.

Good luck with your business!

:: Lisa x ::

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Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 7, 2009 7:48 AM Go to message in response to: SoonToBeAWard

Tanis, I was married to a Web designer/ Developer for 4 years so I'm kinda like you. I know what looks good, but I really couldn't tell you how to get there. I would give you his name and information if you want it, because I know he does good work and isn't an ass. lol I understand how you would want someone local though. I'm sure there are some good ones in Charleston. :)

 

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TanisJ Posts : 2,669 Registered: 4/25/07
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 7, 2009 9:31 AM Go to message in response to: Nalamienea

Thanks Lisa. its good to get the perspective of someone who has worked in design, especially about approaching with a story board. Its hard to know if designer, of anything - websites, dresses, cakes really likes that approach. I would think it would be helpful and more efficient than starting from scratch, but I've met creative people who really want free reign on their designs and I definitely wouldn't work well with someone who wasn't interested in my design ideas.

Nal good to know he wasn't an ass! That would be on the top of my priority list. lol. Fortunately I don't think its a question you have to ask someone. It just sort of comes out on its own. if you read this I am feeling much better today and we are doing chores all day so I will give you a shout tomorrow.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: How do you shop for a web designer?
Posted: Feb 7, 2009 6:03 PM Go to message in response to: TanisJ

Dear Tanis,

"Its hard to know if designer, of anything - websites, dresses, cakes really likes that approach."

Most designers of ANYTHING make little sketches of their proposed work as a first step. Surely you've seen designer sketches of dresses.

Remember, the web designer works for you. It is not up to them to tell you what to do; it is up to you to tell them what to do. The web designer can certainly make suggestions and offer up ideas, but you are the final decision maker. The web designer needs the storyboard as a place to start.

The number of pages and "flow" from page to page is your decision.

Think of your own job. It's easier to do a good job for your customer if the customer is organized and clearly defines what they need you to do. You shudder in horror at the customer who comes in with a jumbled mess of stuff and asks you to, somehow, organize it and produce a professional product.

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