You want a web designer who will do a fantastic website for a great price and is excellent at customer service.
OK, so what is "a fantastic website"?
What does a fantastic website look like?
An what is "a great price"? Is $1,000 a great price?
There is a reason I raised these questions.
Let me explain.
Here is how most people select their web designer.
#1. Search Google for terms like "web designers" or "good web designer" or "cheap web designer" etc...
#2. Visit each web designer site one by one until you get bored or tired.
#3. Call the web designers who have a nice looking site and have done nice looking sites and have low prices advertised.
#4. Decide to work with the web desginers based on how nice they are on the phone, the prices and how nice the sites they did look.
So is this right way to choose web designer?
So what is the right way to choose a web designer?
#1. Know what you want.
That's right. What do you ultimately want?
A nice looking site? Not really. That is just what YOU think you need to make a lot of money.
What everyone really wants is to make a lot of money with the use of their website.
The "nice site" you want is just a step YOU think is necessary to make a lot of money.
If you were given the choice to own one of the following two sites for free,
which one would you choose?
Site A is Craigslist.com
Site B is a fake Lingerie site template you can purchase for $140.
Me? I want Site A. It's ugly but if I own it I would have $300 million in my bank account.
Site B is pretty and sexy and wow and "nice looking", but I will probably not make a dime from it.
I know this is an extreme example but I am simply trying to make a point.
Sites do not make money because they are nice.
They make money because of three things - content, traffic and usability.
Let's get straigt to the point.
Know what you really, really, really want at the end of the day and you will have a much better understanding on how to choose a right web designer.
Also read this article on web designer vs web developer.
There is no real standard for pricing by web designers. There is no starndard price because of two main reasons.
a. web designers come with various levels of experience
b. there is nothing as a standard website.
Every single website is different is so many ways - graphics, design, customizability, database driven or not, e-commerce, social network etc....
Understand the type of website you want. Is it an ecommerce site you want where your customers can purchase your products/services online using credit card and Paypl? Is a social networking site where people can sign up as members and discuss on forums, chats and share photos, videos and music etc?
Or is it a simple 5 page site that talks about your business.
Go around and look at the different prices offered by different web designers to get a feel for the pricing.
Don't go with the cheapest just because it's the cheapest because you will end up with site that you will bury in the "web cemetery" after a year.
The idea is to get a general idea on prices. You might even run across some special promotion prices.
#3. Web Designer Portfolio.
See if the web designer has done sites similar to what you want.
So let's say you want to sell automobile parts on the internet.
The first thing you want to see if if the web designer has done any site that sells online (in other words ecommerce sites).
See how many e-commerce sites the web designer has done.
I have done close to 100 e-commerce sites.
Ask your web designer if you can contact one of his clients to ask about your work. Most people feel awkward asking their web designer for references.
I personally ask all potential customers if they want to speak to any of my clients.
Here is my web designer portfolio.
For some people meeting their web designer is important. Some people want to meet and shake hands with the person they are going to write the check to. It's psychologically comforting. However, for some businesses it actually makes sense to have your web designer come over and meet you in your office or any place for that matter.
Here is a real example.
In a complex site (not a simple site), you, the owner of the site will likely be heavily involved in the content management of the site. For instance, if you get an e-commerce site, your web developer will create the site but you will need to enter the products, the prices, the descriptions etc yourself. If you and your web designer can meet in person and you can learn "how to's" your life will be a lot easier.
So it might make sense to select a web designer who you can meet a couple of times in person.
#4. Customer Service.
OK, here is what you do. You look through various web designers and based on their porfolio, location and pricing make a list of the ones you want to speak to. Call them up, introduce yourself and explain briefly what you want for a website.
Next ask them this one question.
Could you please explain the process of getting the website? I am a little new to this.
What you are doing is
a. understanding the process if you didn't know.
b. getting to know how helpful the web designer really is.
Do you understand the way your web designer is explaining things?
Do you feel comfortable speaking to this web designer?
Does your web designer sound like he/she wants to help you?
If your web designer gives you a lot of useful information then he/she is the helpful kind.
If your web designer steers the conversation to financial matters then it's possible that you will get charged for every little changes you want on your site.
I have over 16 years of experience doing websites and I am very very good at online marketing also.
But one of the reaons my clients have really liked working with me is the fact that I really care.
#5. Years designing websites.
If you can afford, please, please go with a developer with more years of experience.
This is even more true if you site is more complex and involved.
If you need a major surgery you don't want to go with an intern doctor do you?
#6. Marketing << THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
If you really really really really really love your business then this is probably the most important point to look at.
Your website will make money not because your logo looks great or the background color of your site looks amazing or even your prices are great.
Don't believe me? Create a brand new fantastic looking site and sell a valuable product for $0 (Free in other words). No-one will come an get your free stuff. Put a diamond ring for $0 and no-one will come and get it.
Because no-one knows you exist.
On the internet content and traffic determines 99% of your success.
Content is King.
Traffic is Queen.
Together they will make the kingdom.
IT DON'T MATTER how many times you change your logo, or whether your logo is round or square or octagon yada yada.
Content and Traffic is everything.
Did you know that 90% of the business websites on the internet make no money.
Most people get all exicted to build a website. They spend all their time and money on making the site look dazzling.
It makes people proud of their website. Their family and friend congratulate them for their coming success.
After months, they start realizing that it does not work.
You can't seem to get anyone to come to your site.
I am not going to go on forever on this topic, although I could.
Just get a web designer who has a heavy experience in marketing.
Ask your web designer the following questions.
Can you help me get customers to my site after it's complete?
What techniques will you use?
How much will it cost me?
Choose your web designer based on multiple criteria including prices, portfolio, marketing experience and customer service.
Contact more than one web designer.
Understand that content and traffic determines 99% of your success.
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