Learning Hub | Planning a Website Design Project
Should You Hire a Web Designer or a Web Design Company?
December 1, 2015 | Jon Teodoro
If you search for a “web designer” on Google, there are literally hundreds of web design companies in the southeastern Michigan area alone. Dozens are clustered in parts of downtown Detroit, Ferndale, Troy, and Royal Oak (for you non-Michiganders, these places are known as ‘trendier’ areas).
At first glance, all of these entities seem to be established businesses. They all have websites. They all have portfolios of some kind. But what sets these companies apart?
The fact that a lot of these places are single person shops and not diversely staffed firms. This is the difference between a web designer and a web design company, respectively.
When Should You Hire A Single Web Designer?
If you have less than $5000 to spend on a professionally designed and developed website, you probably don’t have much choice but to go with a lone freelance web designer. Some high end freelancers would argue that even $5000 is unrealistic when it comes to a price ceiling for professional web design services. Despite this, $5000 seems to be the minimum budget for most reputable firms in the metro Detroit area.
Freelance web designers can also be a good option if you’re looking for a personal touch when it comes to support and communication. You should able to reach most freelance web designers at their personal cell phones or email addresses, therefore, you won’t have to deal with the big corporate hoo-ha. So if your website needs to be tweaked or updated, you’ll be talking directly with the person who is making the changes.
When Is Hiring A Lone Web Designer A Bad Idea?
If you own or run an established business and/or growth is your number one priority, you may want to steer clear from hiring a lone web designer.
Building, maintaining, and growing a business through digital channels is a lot of work. It is much more work than a single person can handle. If your expectations center around having a fully managed web presence that’s going to drive up your revenue for years to come, you’re going to need a team of people to do that for you. It’s not realistic for one person to juggle ten different tasks at once and do them all equally well.
Save yourself the headache and potentially thousands of dollars by always making sure you thoroughly vet all of your potential web design vendors or they could go MIA and potentially bring your web presence to a screeching halt.
When Should You Hire A Web Design Company?
As mentioned earlier, if you’re looking to use your website as a tool to position your business for growth, a single person won’t be able to execute all of the tasks necessary to facilitate that. You’ll need a team of people that specialize in each of the following areas of digital growth: design/UX, development/programming, content copywriting, marketing, and account/project management.
By hiring a team of people, each individual can focus on doing the best job possible on each part of your website development project. Going this route helps ensure that the quality of your project doesn’t get diluted. Remember that old saying, “Two heads are better than one?” Well, five heads are better than two.
Additionally, if you are looking to build a long term relationship with whoever is handling your digital marketing, a full-fledged company will always be the better alternative. Similar to what you would do with a single web designer, make sure you research all potential companies by looking at their reviews, asking for references, and checking out their portfolios.
What Should I Look Out For When Hiring Any Web Professional?
Regardless if you are hiring a single, freelance web designer or a fully-staffed web design company, you’ll need to do your own research to make sure you don’t get screwed over.
Always remember to not make your decision on a single variable. An amazing portfolio of clients or a nice website doesn’t tell the full story. Remember that you will be working closely with whoever is handling your web presence, so there should be a personal chemistry between you and your web professional. Working with someone that you don’t personally like could hinder communication, and thus could negatively affect the outcome of your project.
Here are a few examples of basic questions that you should be asking all of your potential web design vendors:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a degree or hold any certifications in web design, development, or marketing?
- Do you have any experience working within my industry?
- Do you work with any of my competitors?
- How long have you personally been working in web design, development, or marketing?
The Business Itself
- Are you by yourself or do you work with a team?
- Do you have an established process?
- Are there any long term commitments required?
- Do you use contracts?
- Do you have any guarantees or warranties on your work?
- Do you have any other projects besides the ones in your portfolio?
- Can you walk me through your thought process on a particular project?
- Can I contact any of your old clients for references?
When You Hire A Web Designer, Don’t Forget This
When you’re hiring a web designer or a web design company, you’re not buying a website. You’re buying a service. The quality of that service is a function of the skill level of whoever you hire and the amount of time the web professional(s) has to dedicate to your business. Think of your future website as less of a commodity more as a living, breathing entity that will always continue to evolve. Looking at things from this perspective can help you to remember to make smart decisions when choosing the right service provider for your next website design!