Discover essential tips for choosing a web designer in the Bradenton – Sarasota area. Rooks Agency offers expert advice to help you make the right decision for your business.

Step One: Be prepared!

As a web design customer, not having a basic list of needs and desires can be a cause of frustration in the web design process. Prepare a basic outline of what you want from your website. This outline will help you communicate your ideas to potential web designers. Letting a web designer do this preparation for you can be like a toss of a coin. You know your business better than anyone. Presenting a comprehensive outline to the web designer will save you alot of time and money.

The first step in preparing this outline is to search the Internet for websites that are similar to what you envision for your website. Write down the address of each website that has visuals, features or functionality that you would like to see in your website. Create a list of all the web pages that you may need, and order them in hierarchies or categories. Make a list of functionality that you want your website to perform, e.g., contact email form, search box, homepage slideshow, YouTube video playlist, newsletter signup, photo gallery, calendar, shopping cart, etc. Determine if you will need email and if so, how many users?

Step Two: Price

Decide on how much you can budget for the web design production. Most web designers require a percentage of the total payment at the time of contract. To stay within budget, determine which items from step one are not absolute requirements. The cost quote you receive from the web designer will be a hint to their competency and quality. Very low and very high prices should be approached with caution. Medium web design quotes will most often provide the best value.

Step Three: Get quotes from local web designers

Phone or email web designers in your local area. Ask them the questions such as:

  • Do they sub-contract their work outside of the US?
  • Do they use budget quality website hosting, such as GoDaddy, etc.?
  • Do they develop with WordPress?
  • Do they develop with PHP / MySQL?
  • Are their websites HTML5 compliant?
  • Are their websites Mobile compatible?
  • Do they have previous client references?
  • Do they have a portfolio of previous work?
  • Do they provide a written contract with scope of work.

If you like the web designer’s responses to your questions, give the web designer the information you documented from step one. You may have heard horror stories about offshore sub-contract web designers. The best rule of thumb: all web design vendors must reside within the continental US.

Low cost website hosting can also present problems in regards to website quality and performance. Godaddy hosting, for example, has admitted to having incompatibilities with the Internet’s primary website software language, PHP. Companies that specialize in high performance website hosting, such as RackSpace or Nexcess, provide service that will noticeably outperform low cost hosting companies such as Godaddy.

Step Four: Research your potential web designers

Review the web designer’s portfolio, inspect their their contract and contact their references. Note any questions or concerns you may have so you can present them to the web designer during your next conference.

Step Five: Follow up and contract your web designer

Schedule a follow up meeting or conversation.
Have an in person meeting, if possible.
Submit any desired changes to the contracted web design and/or apps.
Submit any desire adjustments to the scope of work and contract, if desired.
Select your web designer, sign their contract and deliver it with the downpayment.

Warning Signs and Red Flags!

Not all web designers are created equally.

Web design competency can vary drastically from one web designer to another. In Sarasota Bradenton, web designers range from an award winning 15 year professional, … a part-time mom who publishes web pages with Microsoft Word. You, as a web design customer, don’t know the difference. You only see that Mom’s Web Design costs a fraction of the price of the Professional’s Web Design.

Pricing is the first clue.

Shop around and do your research. A competent freelance web designer has an average hourly rate of $50 to $100. A larger website company typically has an hourly rate of $125 – $175. A recent graduate typically has an hourly rate of $25 -$40. An amateur web designer will have an hourly rate of less than $25.

Amateur Web Designers

If you don’t need a professional website, nor have a need for mobile compatibility or dynamic functionally, then you can drastically reduce your costs by choosing an amateur web designer.

Recent Graduate Web Designers

If you need a semi-professional website, but your budget won’t allow it, then a recent college graduate may be an alternate choice. The web design industry changes super fast, on an annual basis. Colleges cannot keep up with this constant change in their curriculum. Therefore, a recent graduate’s web design knowledge will often be obsolete. However, a recent graduate will make up for it in enthusiasm, creativity and low cost.

Professional Web Designers

If a professional, mobile compatible website is a must, then a freelance web designer or web design company will be the best choice. They will be more expensive, but you’ll receive a quality product with valuable functionality via apps and/or custom programming.

Web Design Companies

If you need ongoing website support and maintenance, a web design company will have more staff to efficiently support these needs. Web design companies also typically have more resources than freelance web designers, which results in more piece of mind for you, the customer.

In Conclusion

You may have heard horror stories about egregious failures by incompetent web designers. Following the steps and recommendations in this article will help you avoid such experiences. Planning is the key to success with any project. Web design is no different. If you invest a little time into documentation and research, you will reap the benefits of receiving a valuable website with minimal incident.

Ready to elevate your online presence? Contact Rooks Agency today to find the perfect web designer for your business needs!

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