You have the best website idea (there isn’t a bad website idea, there are bad designers) and start telling about it to everyone you know and they love it. So you get excited more and decide to bring your idea to life (followed by a dream you flipping off your boss and quit). But how are you going to find a great web designer that will make your dreams come true? Who can you trust? What should you do before hiring a web designer?
Scope, Time and Cost
Before even going into those questions, you need to convert your idea into a project first, and you should start with clearly defining these 3 components of a project:
- What is the scope of my project? Is it complex or a simple one?
- What kind of a timeline do I expect? 2 weeks or a year?
- What is my budget? Just a hobby or serious business? (You can use our website pricing tool to get an estimate from us and determine your range.)
The answers to these questions are the keys and they’re going to guide you through the process.
1) Who is going to design?
The first question you have to answer is this and you have four possible choices for that one:
- You (Yes, you can. Maybe. If you believe in it. Why not?)
- A freelance web designer (Get ready to get updates after midnight.)
- A web design agency (for instance adogandesign.com, I heard they’re awesome.)
- A branding agency (If you’re planning to go brick&mortar.)
A decision among these isn’t an easy one and most of the time the lines between them are blurry. So let’s try to talk about their advantages and disadvantages a little bit.
DIY – CREATE YOUR OWN WEBSITE
If you’re tech savvy and decide to tackle the project yourself, you’ll save on the budget component for sure, but also, you should expect a longer timeline. And for complex projects like e-commerce or membership websites you should probably skip this option. (Noooooooooooooo, don’t click that Wix ad, they’re bad for you! I will give some details on this in a different post shortly. )
Cons: Timeline, Not suitable for complex projects
Finding a freelancer maybe one of the most effective and efficient way of completing your project. They’ll be less expensive compared to agencies and their timeline will be shorter most of the time(less bureaucracy). However you need to know how to assess them and it may take a while before you make a decision.
Even though most of the web design professionals have many talents, it may be wise to divide your project into parts like design, development, SEO, quality testing etc. and hiring a different freelancer for each part. And of course, all these are going to take away from your precious time.
You can find quality freelancers today easily on websites like Upwork or Elance.
Pros: Budget, Timeline
Cons: Decision process will be tough and often wrong, Not suitable for multifaceted projects, Little guidance
WEB DESIGN AGENCY
The difference of a web agency than a collective of freelancers is the methodology. They’re in the business for a long time and they have proven methods. Most of the serious web design agencies even sell their discovery process as a product and you have to pay for their analysis. Basically, a project manager takes your hand and walks you through the process step by step so you don’t need to spend a lot of your time. Compared to freelancers they’re a little bit slower and it costs more but you know that you can trust them and you’ll have a great website at the end.
If you’re reading this post you shouldn’t look anywhere else, I can suggest you a great one!
Pros: High quality, Proven process, Support
Cons: Budget, Timeline
This may be an interesting option if your main presence isn’t going to be online. Most of the branding agencies bundle websites within their branding package. If you just look at the cost of a website within that package they may seem less expensive than the web design agencies. But they focus on other aspects of the job more and, as a result, the quality of their websites is almost always a little bit lower than the web design agencies. If it’s not a branding agency over 50 people, you better not trust them with your website.
Pros: Package deal for brick&mortar shops
Cons: Budget, Timeline, Quality
If you’ve already eliminated the first option, then your next question is going to be “How am I going to know if they can handle my project properly?” And we’ll answer that question in our next post “What Questions to Ask a Web Designer“.