Building a website is usually a 1 time cost and you get what you pay for. If you try to save a few bucks by hiring a designer for a sub-par rate, don’t be surprised when the service, delivery and end-result are all sub par. Before approaching a website designer with your project, do some research on your own. This will ensure your opinion stays unbiased and will help you decide what’s really important, and what are extras. The designer can provide guidance but this is ultimately your product and it needs to function in the way that you want.
What is the objective for your website?
If I could make one suggestion, it would be to write out a plan for your website on a piece of paper. Writing and structuring a plan, materializes and prioritizes it which significantly increases the likelihood of your follow-through. This plan should include what the main function of the website will be, for example is it to display and sell products, service details, photo galleries, complete polls, schedule appointments or something else? This is your website at its core.
Firstly, you want to develop a website that is informative and caters to these needs. With a limited budget, you want to efficiently allocate your allowances. Having a small budget doesn’t mean you have to get an ugly website. If you are able to find a web developer that will design your website in stages – which I accommodate – then you can invest in increments. As the website starts to generate revenue, you continue to re-invest and upgrade.
What is your niche?
I focus on personal, small and medium sized business websites, and I do this for a reason. WordPress removes many traditional limitations, and allows developers to let their creative juices flow. When you are starting a new business or an online venture, you want to keep your Return On Investment (ROI) in mind. Anyone would gladly take your money and design you an overly elegant website, which can easily run up to several thousand dollars and above. I respect my clients and genuinely want to help them improve their businesses, and I do so by providing full disclosure. Why invest the budget of a large corporation upfront, if you are a small business? Meaning, don’t over invest in your website until it starts generating traffic, is converting customers, and ultimately generating revenue. If you over invest, your money is gone. If you invest in increments, you can adjust and gauge what additions are needed next or any at all.
Before hiring any web designer, here are some suggested questions to ask:
- Sample websites – A portfolio is a great indication of designer’s capabilities
- Time frame – How long will the website take to build once you’ve handed over the content?
- Design platform – Will you be able to make the changes yourself later on? CMS vs. static content.
- Design limitations – How flexible and functional is the design?
- Email solutions – Are emails provided for free? At a cost? At all?
- Type of hosting – Page speed and server proximity are very important.
- FTP access – are you able to upload, store, and manage your website’s files?
- Backups – Are they done? FTP(hosting) and SQL(database)? At what intervals? Is there redundancy?
- Payment Type – Is a down payment required? What payment methods will be available for your website?
- Recurring costs – How much is support, hosting and domain registration?
- By asking these questions, your expectations will be consistent with the designer’s expectations.