How To Choose A Web Designer

A little while back I had a bit of a discussion about a certain profession that I will not mention here in case someone from the industry in question takes it the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, every major profession is there for a reason and adds a tremendous amount of value to society. The fact of the matter is that every industry and profession has good aspects and bad. When you think of a doctor, lawyer, architect, accountant, etc, you tend to have a personal frame of reference, as well as a more widely held stereotype. There are usually some aspects of that profession that irritate you, or that you think could do with some improvement. Perhaps you don’t make use of certain professional services because of these perceptions, whether or not they are commonly held or based on fact.

That got me thinking about my own industry, and what it is about the internet consulting and web design and development industry that drives people nuts, and that if things were different, people would utilize these services more often. What would people change about the industry if they had a magic wand? What would you do differently if you were, for example, a web developer, to differentiate yourself?

These are some of the things I have been told hold people back when discussing this topic with some small businesses:

– Web design and development is too expensive for the average small business

– Apprehension over how qualified an internet professional really is

– There is too much jargon in the industry, which makes it confusing to assess as a non-technical business person

– There is a shortage of internet programming skills relative to visual design skills in the industry

Personally, my big wish is that a certain level of qualification (a degree combining computer science, design and business) was a requirement to practice, the same way that older professions are required to, like accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc. The low barrier to entry makes it difficult for businesses to distinguish experts from hobbyists. Imagine having to choose your doctor based on what he tells you he knows how to do for you!

So, how then does one assess a potential internet partner, who can and should be a long-time partner in the online success of your business? Here are some things to look at carefully when choosing a web designer, web developer, internet business consultant, or related service provider, from my experience:

Technical and business qualifications and experience. Is the business comprised of an inexperienced person with a web design hobby, or has the business got people with tertiary level business, programming and design skills in-house? Make sure they have real-world business experience in developing e-commerce solutions, and look into how far back that goes.

What online business applications has the business developed previously, and how does this match your requirements? Some web design businesses will give you a very nice looking static brochure site, while others will be able to offer advanced functionality, such as a database and content management capabilities, e-commerce functionality, internet business consulting services, site promotion, site management, hosting, domain registration, design, application development, site optimization, newsletter systems, form processing capabilities, logging of user activity, online surveys and polls, user registration and authentication, advertising management, content syndication, and the like. Check how many of these are optional extras an how many are included in the price you are quoted up front. You should always get a detailed proposal up front, and compare apples for apples rather than being too subjective initially. My business, for example, differentiates by bundling over 250 enterprise-level applications into our small business package, at a lower price than most web designers will charge just for the design and some basic functionality.

Long term cost/benefit. What is it going to cost you the next time you need to make a modification? I’ve never yet come across a successful website that was designed and left as it was created on day one. Your site needs to change with your business, so make sure you know how you will be billed for those changes, and what the time frame for them will be. Every site also has hosting, bandwidth and maintenance costs that most people don’t think of when first creating a site. Look into what these will be, and what you get for them, so that you can budget for them when starting your project. Also keep in mind that a cheap solution with one or two features will probably not serve you as well as a slightly more expensive one with extensive built-in capabilities.

Personal style and preference. Different businesses will bring different styles and methodologies to the party. Make sure that the one you go with suits your personal preferences. If your internet specialist loves graphic-intensive Flash-based sites, they will probably develop your informative content-based solution, just not as well as someone who specializes in your preferred style.

Online promotion. Make sure that the business you choose is good at promoting their own online presence. Google, Yahoo, and MSN are the three most popular search engines, so make use of them when choosing a provider. If you are looking for a web developer in your local area, search for the terms you find most important and include the name of your area. For example, I optimize my services for the Joondalup area of Perth, Western Australia, so a search for “web design Joondalup” or “web development Joondalup”, or many other internet-based services, brings me to the top when people are searching for local service providers. An internet business that is no good at promoting itself online will be worse at helping you get yours up to full potential.

Satisfaction guarantees. No website can make a flawed business model work, but an online expert should be able to help you make it everything it can be over time, much the same way a personal trainer can’t make you fit overnight, but they can help you become a top athlete with focused ongoing attention. Find out what guarantees, if any, are provided. This is a real differentiator, because, understandably, many web design businesses won’t do this. Those that do are at least serious and confident in their abilities to ensure that their clients are happy and successful.

Management of expectations. Any internet business that claims excessive short term success rates is probably overselling themselves. Make sure that they (and you) are realistic about the time frames in which your online presence will start producing results.

Consulting skills. Make sure that you are dealing with an internet consultancy, not just a web design house. Experienced internet consultants have the business experience to help you make your business successful online in ways a web designer will probably not.

Find successful web sites online. Many will have the site developer’s details in the footer, or in a credits section of the site.

Earn On Offshore Web Design and Development

If you have some experience in web site design and want to make good money you can try acting as IT-outsourcing partner. Learn more what you should know and how to start.

Why offshore web design and development?

Offshore web site design and development help to keep prices at least 3-5 times less, for example, average hourly rate of web development services in USA is $35-75; in UK – $25-50, in Ukraine – $5-20.

How it works?

Typical plan is like that:

  • You find a client who needs a web site, ask his/her requirements for the project and send to your offshore partner company.
  • The partner makes a proposal and gives you the project estimation basing on his hourly rate, for example, $10.
  • You mark up the rate $10/hour as high as you wish (and can – taking into consideration competition in your region, level of demand for web design services, and other marketing factors), for example to $30/hour, and sends the proposal to the client. So if the web design project is estimated on 50 man-hours of work, you charge the customer $1500, from which $500 you pay to your offshore partner company, and $1000 is your profit.
  • The partner company works on the project and delivers it to you along with copyright for the work.
  • You deliver the site to the customer.

Result – you have a satisfied client and good profit from the marked up price.

How to start?

The first and most important step is to analyze market in your region and decide if it’s worth to start this business.

If you already have your own web design company it is easier for you because you already know situation in the market, gain certain reputation, have clients list, etc.
But don’t be afraid if you are new to web design business. Believe in yourself and work hard and finally you will be rewarded for all your efforts. As in any type of business, starting the one in web design area, you must ask yourself general marketing questions:

1. Who will be your customers?

2. Why they will order the web design services exactly form you?

3. Where and how they will get to know about you?

Without having clear answers to these questions you shouldn’t try to start anything.

The second step is to find trustful and reliable partner – offshore web design company – that will work as “development center” for your business. This company must have good experience in web design and development area, good reputation, top level of customer care and communication. There are many resources in the Internet where you can find necessary information – search engines, web design directories, outsourcing portals.

For example, you can try searching in search engines for appropriate key phrases “offshore web design”, “offshore web site design”, “offshore web development” and analyze sites of your potential partners.

Also here are several sites where you can find lists of offshore web design companies sorted by country.

http://web-designers.bluegeckonetwork.com/

http://www.theoutsourceguide.com/

http://www.1234-find-web-designers.org/

How to choose the right offshore web design partner company?

There are 2 main factors that determine your choice – cost and quality of web design work.

Cost

Basing on the average web design prices in your local market and your competitive abilities you set prices that you will charge to your customers. There are several methods of web design price calculation, most used are flat price for fixed web site packages, and price based on man-hour rate. Most web design companies operate with both and choose one depending on each project type and requirements.

Then you decide which profit you want to have and narrow down your search choosing companies with appropriate price range.

Quality

Consider the company reputation, portfolio of previous works, testimonials of previous customers, level of communication. Pay attention to payment policy and method, conditions of ready projects delivery, warranties, post-development support and maintenance.

If all details are agreed you may start partnership. Sometimes the first project is quite simple to test abilities of both parties and if everything is going well the partnership will bring mutual benefits.

5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Web Design and Development Company

Along with the technological advancement, there has been a sheer abundance of websites and applications. You would hardly find a reputed company or even a startup who does not own a website for their business. The website and application have become a cornerstone of the businesses in the modern era where technology sits at the topmost place.

However, a bad side also appears with lots of greats! Keeping the immense popularity of websites and mobile applications in mind, a huge number of web development companies have risen with their own promise of excellence. While some keep their words, some simply fail! That’s why this article is a must-read for you as it will provide you the best solution how you can choose a web design and development company standing in 2018. So, let’s take a tour.

How to Choose the Best Web Design and Development Company: Some Questions to Ask Before Hiring

Following are the questions which are needed to be asked to the company you are hiring. Consider the questions as the interview round. Since you are hiring, you have all the right to fulfill your satisfaction.

What is the inclusive cost of the project?

Costing always plays a pivotal role regardless of the service or product you’re going to purchase or anything else you are opting for. So, why not ask the web design company about the costing? Various reports are registered regularly regarding the problems occurred for pricing.

There are two sorts of pricing agreement you would find: hourly and project based. If you are a small company, you must not have a huge budget to invest. So, the wisest decision would be being aware of all the hidden price, annual subscriptions, and support charges. On the other hand, large fortunes should also not waste unnecessary money behind everything. Ask the company about the quotation and judge it by yourself whether the price is good enough.

What is the timeline?

The timeline is the second-most important aspect to take into consideration while appointing a company for your website development project. In most cases, people make mistakes and they have to suffer for that with an unnecessarily stretched timeline. Basically, companies give false hopes with a short timeline and once they sign the contract the delivery gets delayed.

Thus, the solution is asking for a timeline and contacts of their previous consumers. Ask them about the company and their experience with them. Also, ask for a phase-wise project workflow which would display the project and the timeline broken into various phases. This would simply lessen the complication and risk of the lengthened project.

Are you providing both the design and development within the cost?

This is often ignored but an immensely important question to ask a web development agency. You have to understand that web designed and development are not the terms which can be used interchangeably. Those are two entirely different subjects. One takes care of the front-end and one takes care of the backend. In various occasions, it has been noticed that the web design firm has only provided the quotation for the design (it can also be called front-end development), and the consumer regarded that as the price of the whole project. Consequently, a misunderstanding and argument have initiated later. So, you need to be cautious and ask the IT Company whether they are quoting for the whole project, or only for design or development.

Will the website be responsive?

Standing in 2018, this is the most relevant question to ask any website design and development company. With an uncountable number of mobile users, your website needs to be mobile optimized so that you get noticed by the billions of mobile users around the globe. If your website is not responsive, the chances of shining among your consumers are less than you can ever imagine. So, ask the company you are thinking of appointing whether the website they will design and development would be responsive to all the devices. If they cannot provide such responsive websites, you should simply start looking for other companies.

Will I be able to manage my website’s content by myself?

Yes, you may not consider this question in the excitement of having an awesome website for your business but at the end of the day, this question would be one of the most essential aspects of a good website. Basically, you would certainly require managing the contents of your website at any point of time. Adding, editing or deleting contents (images, texts, videos and every other thing) are the vital aspects which can take you to the height of success.

If you do not have a CMS (Content Management System) embedded on your website, you are most likely to land in the middle of a deep ocean. You have to contact the web development form each time you want to add, edit or delete any content on your website. This can make your business vulnerable as they can ask for a further monetary contribution from your end. Moreover, they may not be available at the moment when you need them the most. If you have a CMS, you can do almost anything on your website even if you don’t have any idea about technicalities.

So, these questions can evolve to be your savior when you are opting for availing a web design and development agency. If you are aiming at getting the best service, the company you are going to hire has to meet these aspects.