Learning Hub | Content Marketing

Three Things to Ask Your Future Web Designer

March 13, 2015 | Jon Teodoro

If you personally have the digital tech savvy to craft a website for your business that not only draws a large audience, but also draws the right audience, the infrastructure for success is already within reach. But that’s easier said than done. Your future web designer may not be you.

Punctuated by Google’s increasingly strict search engine parameters, it takes only one missed digital connection for a business to unwittingly turn away a customer. An erroneous phone number on your business’ search engine profile or a discouraging and clunky mobile site are some examples. And as the dominant gatekeeper of the digital realm, Google’s window of sympathy for those missed connections is shrinking.

A properly designed website for both desktop and mobile platforms is essential. For any business. While web design is certainly accessible to anyone who is computer literate, establishing a web presence that generates positive revenue from outstanding levels of (converted) web traffic calls for a particularly advanced set of skills. So, if you don’t have these skills, who does?

Call them web designers, developers, or techies; they exist to make your site. Some cruise through the process by working off of preexisting templates for cheap. Others custom code from scratch for a price. The former won’t tell you that you can probably do what they do by yourself. But if you’re interested in the latter, here are some questions that you should keep in mind before taking them on.

What are people saying about her/him/them?

Since they literally live and die by the Internet, a web design/development agency or individual expert should have a significant presence online in both social media and search engines. It follows that you should take a look at their portfolio and evaluate whether your business is a good fit for their style.

In the same manner as browsing through Yelp! reviews of restaurants for a place to grab quality chow, finding reviews about the quality of their work is important (Facebook and Google are good starting points).

Where and how do they work?

While video conferencing can interface you with anyone around the world, you may just be speaking with someone who’s casually running a meth lab behind his webcam. If you are investing a chunk of change into a company or person’s presumed ability to create your website, a transparent and open line of communication is extremely important because each miscommunication can result in extra misallocated labor costs.

So how can these lapses be avoided? Hire locally; personally walk into their office. A web developer may be a prodigy, but if he has to leave his keyboard and wash his hands of pizza grease before shaking your hand, that should be a red flag. If you walk into a full-fledged office with air conditioning and a sense of professionalism, you should probably be prepared with a larger budget; but bear in mind that a larger staff with larger salaries will be better trained and qualified for your endeavor.

Don’t take their word for it

If a client is happy, there’s a pretty good chance they won’t mind sharing that sentiment with a web designer/developer’s prospective clients. Reputable companies in particular will take the time to vouch for people/organizations who have been instrumental in their success. That’s why asking a potential web designer/developer for personal references (not just from the Internet) from their previous clients is crucial.

Remember that your website is a vehicle through which you deliver your business. You can drive into the showroom with a pedestrian, stock model and fit in; or you can roll in with all the impressive aftermarket upgrades and stand out.