How to Choose a Custom Website Developer

Have you thought of an idea for a website? Does your current site need a fresh, new look? If you’ve answered yes to those questions, but you’re curious as to what the next steps are, read on.

Once you have a firm business plan in place regarding your website, it’s time to start looking for a designer.  A lot of your decision will be based on whether you want to work locally with someone or if you are willing to work remotely with them over the phone. Whichever you decide and are comfortable with, here are a few things to think and ask when finding the  right web designer for you.

  • Does your potential web designer ask a lot of questions regarding your website?  They should want to know what the goals are for your website, what the potential  is, target audience, etc.
  • Look at sites they have designed to see if you like their style. Are they simple,  streamlined, and efficient? Or are they slow to load, cluttered, and confusing?
  • Ask if they designed the full package including graphic design or just the  programming. If only the programming, do they have a graphic artist they work  with or can they recommend one. If you happen to have a graphic artist in mind,  would the web designer be flexible and willing to work with them?
  • Find out what they know about internet marketing and search engine  optimization.
  • Ask the designer for their fees and an estimated cost for the site you want. The  more specific you are with the features you want, the better an estimate you will  get. Web designers will run anywhere from $60-$125 an hour. After speaking with  a designer about your project, most will draw up a proposal to include everything  that you talked about, development phases, features required, timeline, and cost.
  • Inquire about billing. Will you be invoiced monthly or as certain developmental  phases are completed, or at the end of the project? You will also want to find out  if a deposit is required.
  • Discuss who will be maintaining the site once completed. If your web designer  will maintain the site, how much will they charge for that? If you want to maintain  your site, make sure it is designed in a user friendly way so that you can go in  and make updates and changes as necessary.
  • Make sure you own the domain name, even if the website designer registered it  for you.
  • Discuss the content of your site. You may find a designer who will write all  content for you, but don’t count on it. Chances are you will be responsible for  writing all content yourself, or your designer may suggest hiring a professional  copywriter if you are not comfortable writing the text. Make sure to find out about  the extra cost, as copywriter costs vary.
  • Discuss deadlines. If you have a specific deadline for the completion of your  website, ask if the designer can meet it. If you don’t have a deadline, it’s a good  idea to brainstorm with your designer to create a timeline in which you both are  comfortable with in completing different phases of the design.

Your website is an extension of you and essentially, it’s your business’s calling card. Do your homework and receive estimates from several designers. This way, you will find the best fit for you in terms of layout, graphics, budget, and timeline.