Finding and Working with a Web DesignerThe time has come to finally have a website created or to have your current site redesigned. You want the site to look professional and make prospects want to call you or place an order online. And you want to be sure your site can be found by search engines. How do you find and work with a web designer who will get your site built quickly, professionally, and at a reasonable cost?
Here are some suggestions:
Talk to other business owners whose websites you like and get the contact information for the companies that created those sites. Ask the site owners if they were satisfied with all aspects of the work and service. Also, ask if they have any idea how much you might have to budget for a website design similar to theirs.
Look around the web and make a list of sites that you find attractive. Be sure to copy the complete URL (website address) for each site you like. Along with your list, make note of what it is about the sites you like. You might find one that has a color scheme you like, another that is easy to navigate, and another with the type of artwork or photos you like. The list of sites will help your web designer get an idea of your tastes and preferences.
Contact the companies whose work you like. When you find websites that you like, look toward the bottom of the pages to see if the name of the company that designed the site is listed.
Make a list of the important keywords and phrases for your business. A good web designer will ask for this to set up page titles and do some basic optimization.
Note: keywords and phrases are terms prospective customers are likely to use to describe your product or service or look for it on an Internet search engine. For example, if one of the things you sell are baby shoes, typical keywords and phrases might be: “baby shoes”, “infant shoes,” “shoes for babies,” “baby sneakers,” “walking shoes for babies,” etc. If you’re not sure what keywords are important, ask friends, family, and customers what they’d search for to find your type of products or services.
Decide on and prepare all the editorial information and marketing copy your website will contain. At a minimum, you’ll want a “home” page (the main page for your site), a page or pages describing your products and services, an “about us” page, and a “contact us” page. You should also consider having a way for visitors to sign up for a free newsletter or coupons or something that will get them to give you their email address so you can contact them again after they leave your site.
Write or have a professional writer create the editorial content as soon as you decide what you want on the site. The purpose of your website is to market your business, and web designers don’t usually specialize in writing marketing copy. Remember, the web designer can’t finish the job until you give them the copy that goes on the website.
Decide what photos or images you’ll need, and make it clear whether you’ll provide the graphics or whether the web designer will need to do it. Graphics you may need to provide yourself would include photos of staff and other in-house images.
Be sure you sign a contract that spells out all the details you have discussed with the designer.
Review work in progress quickly. Remember the designer can’t move ahead with your project until you sign off on what they’ve sent you to review. If you delay, they may be moving ahead with someone else’s project when you finally get back to them, and may not be able to schedule your work again for some time.
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