So you are wanting to hire a “web guy”(or girl). Like hiring a plumber, electrician or any other trade person credibility matters. More on that in a moment. Here are a few basic but essential questions to hiring a web designer.
Here they are:
- Do I need a web designer, a programmer, a marketer or all three?
- Does the person need to have an extensive portfolio that proves they can build what you are looking for?
- Do they answer/respond to their phone and email?
- Do they need have an actual business or should I use a freelancer (foreign /domestic)?
- How do I learn about their reputation?
#1 Answer: All Three
These days you will want to consider finding either a team or company that has knowledge and experience in all three of these areas. Websites for even small business are tools for growing business not just a brochure online.
#2 Answer: Helpful, but not always necessary.
A quality designer, programmer, marketer doesn’t necessarily have to work in your industry to know how to help you build a great website. The thing to look at is how is the person at solving problems. Examine their portfolio and talk with them and make sure they understand your needs and desires. Look at their proposal and estimates. How detailed are they? Did they ask the questions that give you assurance they know what you need?
#3 Answer: If they don’t. Run. Run fast.
Communication is a must with a web project. If your potential designer, programmer, marketer does not communicate well you should strongly consider how a business arrangement would work out. It doesn’t matter if he/she is the best friend of your cousin who will give you a deal, your business deserves professional attention and focus. And that deal they speak of… will often cost your more time and money than if you hired a team of professionals.
#4 Answer: It depends, Do you gamble in Vegas?
If you are a high risk taker then by all means you can consider using a domestic freelancer who you pay personally or hire someone from a freelancing website overseas. Early in our company we actually tried to use overseas programmers and found that without fail we never got the results or the value from a single one we hired. That is from personal experience not just trying to keep work in the U.S.A. There is a great risk in that approach and you may beat the house the first few times but remember the house always wins.
#5 Answer: Research and Referrals.
An online reputation can be a mixed bag. Usually the only people to review web designers and others are those who have had a bad experience. However, you can examine the sites in their portfolio, ask them for references and call those references. Check them out on social media and see how they work and how they interact. See if the person or company is a good fit for your needs.
In the end you will spend money and time building a website and marketing presence. Make sure you ask a few questions like these to help you make a wise decision. Remember, you get what you pay for. You also get what you ask for.