The Dos and Don’ts of Working With a Web Designer

Oct 3, 2011

You’re planning to launch a new website for your shop, or want to overhaul the one you already have.

Is the design work going to be handled in-house or are you going to hire a web designer to tackle this project?

In a recent article for the Xero blog, freelance writer Karen Leland offered advice on selecting and working with a web designer.

“For most small businesses, outsourcing web design work is a necessity,” Leland wrote. “The bottom line is that unless you are that rare creature who possesses an extremely good sense of design combined with a highly evolved programming prowess-you should not be creating your own website.”

Recognizing that you should hire a web designer to create or update your shop’s website leaves you with several considerations, according to Leland, including how to find a designer, how much it will cost to have that designer work on your site and how to judge if that designer is doing a good job for you.

So how do you do that? Leland shared three don’ts and three dos to follow when working with a web designer.

Don’t base your decision on budget alone.

“While you can get value for money, in many cases, web work falls into the category of ‘you get what you pay for,'” Leland wrote. “Consider the fact that if it’s not done right the first time, you will be spending more in the long run to fix it.”

Don’t try managing the web development process without the time or desire to do so.

“[T]he small business owner is usually so busy with the day-to-day running of the business that they can’t really commit the time or attention necessary to make getting the website built a priority,” she wrote. “Alternatively, assign someone in the company to head the project or hire an outside marketing consultant to oversee it.”

Don’t short the marketing aspects for design.

” There are literally dozens of considerations that go into making a website a functioning lead-generation, lead-nurturing and conversion machine,” Leland wrote. “Design is critical, but so is marketing competence, so make sure someone in your company incorporates Internet marketing best practices in the design process.”

Do check out technical competence.

“In today’s continually changing online environment, technical competence requires constant updating,” she wrote. “Inquire as to how the web developer stays on top of the latest technological bells and whistles in website development.”

Do study their creative style.

“Does something about their style resonate with your personal taste or desired brand?” Leland asked. “If not, chances are they won’t be able to magically create a look that works and you will have incompatible design ideas.”

Do consider their communication skills and ongoing capabilities.

“Many developers spend the majority of their time honing their technical expertise, so in some cases, interpersonal communication skills may have gotten short shift,” she wrote. “Always call references and ask: How easy is the developer to do business with? Did she/he take a collaborative approach? How was her/his follow-through on what they promised? Did she/he get work done on time?”

To read the complete Xero blog posting, click here.