Once you have decided you need a website or need to re-design your existing website, the logical next step is to find a web designer to do the work. There are many talented freelance web designers and web design agencies in Australia, so how do you know which one is right for you?
Before you begin the search for a suitable designer and start the quoting process, you need to understand exactly what it is that you need/want in your new website. That is where the process of writing a brief becomes invaluable – a brief is a great tool for web designers to understand your requirements, but it also helps you cement your ideas and goals for your website.
Your brief should include:
- What functionality will the website need – this could include an online shop, forms, photo galleries, blog, slider etc.
- Do you want to be able to easily manage the website yourself, ie make updates to images and text, add new products and blogs?
- What do you want the site to look like – do you have any ideas in regards to layout and style (include examples of websites you like).
- If you have an existing website – what don’t you like about it?
- How many pages do you anticipate the website will have?
- Do you need web hosting and domain name registration included in the quote?
- What is your budget? Note: some people do not like to include this in their brief – if you choose not to that is fine, however make sure you have a clear idea in your mind how much you would like to invest in your website.
The final brief doesn’t have to be a fancy document – just a Word document on your company letterhead is fine. Trust me – any web designer will appreciate a written brief as it makes their job easier. Having a written brief also helps with the quoting process, especially if you are intending to source multiple quotes.
Now that you have your brief ready, you can start looking for a web designer. There are numerous ways of finding a web designer, such as a Google search, referrals (eg ask friends or business colleagues for recommendations), or ask your local Chamber of Commerce for recommendations.
Here are my tips for choosing a web designer:
Check out their website for their portfolio of work. Take the time to look through their portfolio and visit some of the websites they have built. Get a feel for their style of work to determine if they would be a good fit.
A good web designer will have testimonials – check out their website and social media pages for feedback from genuine customers.
What services does the web designer offer? Can they meet the needs of your brief? For example, if you want to be able to update the site yourself, what content management systems do they use, can they manage the hosting on your behalf, do they provide maintenance plans.
A good test of a web designers ability is how long they have been in business. Your website is an investment so it is important to choose a business that has a proven track record and an ability to support your business into the future.
You can often get a feel for their level of customer service from testimonials. Other ways of getting a feel for how they communicate with their customers include how quickly they respond to your original enquiry, how quickly they follow-up with quotes and other information, if they are willing to chat with you on the phone or a face-to-face meeting to go through your requirements and offer their own ideas as well.
In-house design rather than outsource
Some web designers and agencies outsource their web design work overseas. Make sure you are able to talk directly to the person who will be creating your website. This can ensure more personalised service and can mitigate issues around time delays and understanding of your requirements.
Cheapest is not always best, however price is an important consideration when choosing a web designer. Web design pricing can vary considerably between designers, and if you have sourced multiple quotes you probably have a different price from each. My advise is to first consider your budget. If you have a quote that is considerably above what you are willing to pay, you may need to rule that one out. If you have a quote that is lower than your budget but the designer does not meet the points above – don’t be tempted by the price alone.
When comparing web design prices make sure you are comparing “apples to apples”. Some web designers may include optional extras or have other costs built into the quote that another may not include. If you are uncertain about any item of the quote you should ask for clarification.
If the web designer meets all the above criteria, you feel comfortable with the prospect of working with them and their price is in the ball park of what you are willing to pay, then they may be the right choice for you.
If you are in the market for new website or a website redesign, I would love to help. Call me on 0408 721 441 or visit my contact us page.