If you do a Google search for “website design” or “web designer”, especially in the Central New Jersey (NJ) area, you will uncover countless pages of results for everything from a custom web design to FREE websites. How do you select the right website design company or web designer..? How do you especially find someone who will understand your business and capture your online vision..?
Here are a few tips:
How do I know this designer is right? You can start by visiting the designer’s website to get an overall view of the company and their specialty or emphasis. I would check their website to see if everything functions properly and if the information is up to date. If the web company’s site is out of date, this isn’t a good sign. You would be surprised how often this is the case..!
You will want to check recent projects; some website design company’s don’t provide a “live” view of projects. If this is the case, search for live versions of their projects, you can also do some quick searches for their company’s to see how they position on Google. When viewing the web designer’s portfolio, see if they have created sites that look like something you would want designed.
Make a list of everything you need on your website. First off, you need to do some home work to make sure you known exactly what you need for your site. You will want to check your competition (online), to see how they present them-selves. Remember the competition is only one click away. You can’t expect your web designer to know all of the intricacy’s of your business. They may understand them by the end of the project, however you are the expert of your industry and your input is needed to incorporate your online image.
After you have a project list or “wishlist” for your website design project, the designer should be able to estimate if this will work within your project budget. This is generally where the project size will increase, or decrease.
A lot goes into a website and this is why the web designer needs to know the complete direction in advance. A small 10 pages website will be layed out completely different from a 50 page site that sells online and has a blog or e-commerce options.
What do you want the user to do when they visit the website..? Discuss with your web designer the purpose of your website. What functionality will you need..?
- Sign up for an email list
- Member area or sign up
- Download a file
- Search articles
- Click on ads
- Purchase a product or service
- Drive traffic to brick and mortar store traffic
What Look are you trying to achieve..? Provide design direction by showing your designer websites that you like and discuss what you like about them: color, movement, layout, menus, etc.
What kind of site, informational/ecommerce…? There are lots of different websites online:
- Brochure site (basically a brochure of the business)
- Resource type site: This is website that has valuable information that is generally changing to keep the user coming back to visit. Blog functionality and a data base are generally good for this type of website.
- Gallery Site – Photo or image heavy site that portrays a company’s work or project portfolio
- Ecommerce – Website that sells a product. It will be important for your designer to understand how many products and if you will participate in loading or building the product cart. Other variables are how the designer will access all of the product information, how often the product changes, shipping options, payment options and product fulfillment.
Options to consider:
- Will the site have an article section or blog
- Will the company be posting weekly/monthly
- Will the site be social friendly and if so, how friendly..?
- Will visual interaction on the site be essential
- Forms: What types of forms will be on the site..?
- Video: Will the site make use of videos..? If so where are they hosted and how will they integrate on the website
- Login: Will the site have member or restricted pages, will this be a generic or unique type logins..?
- Content Management System: Will the website need a CMS or content management system..?
In closing, Designers tend to work in niche areas, so a designer that creates informational or brochure websites may not be the best choice for a large e-commerce website. One of the most important gauges for selecting a website design company is the questions they will ask of you during the interview process.
Check back for more tips…!