Who's the Right Web Designer for You?

Let's cut to the chase: this is a business blog, so you already know that I'm going to tell you why I'm the right web designer for you. But! There's a chance that I'm actually NOT the right web designer for you. And I want to talk about that too. In the long run, being clear about who my websites work for helps everyone -- it helps me spend more time with clients who want what I have to offer, and it helps you figure out if you're one of those clients. So let's dig in!

When I talk with prospective clients, I always start with some open-ended questions. What do you want your website to do for you? What kind of functionality do you need it to have? Our conversation goes from there, to cover everything from security questions to whether a particular feature like a donate button can be included (to which the short answer is almost always yes). Throughout that conversation, I can get a feel for the role a website will play in your organization. Some clients need a website to sell products (can do!), some need a promotional website for a new product or products, some need an educational resource that will be around for years. Every conversation plays out differently, but the quality of that conversation is really important.

That brings me to the first key point: if you have trouble talking with a web designer on a high level about what you want or need, they are absolutely not the right web designer for you. Every person and organization has their own way of communicating about their goals, vision, and the nitty gritty ways those high-level things get implemented. If you find yourself struggling to explain, or just not connecting with your web designer on how to make a particular idea work, back off. Get a second opinion. If you can't tell a web designer what you want and be sure they're understanding you, you will not work well together. Communication is key -- but it isn't everything.

Your web designer also needs to be prepared with targeted questions, and a plan that doesn't require too much up-in-the-ether high level design planning. From all my work with clients, I've found that it's often better to get a draft website on the table early, so design changes can happen in context. It's so much easier to point to a particular thing on a draft site and say "Yes, just like that but with this change" than it is to describe everything with no visual aids. If your web designer doesn't want to build anything until they know exactly what you're looking for, they're going to waste a good deal of your time -- and nobody has time for that.

Speaking of time, price is a key consideration when it comes to web designers. I've gone into price in more depth on other posts, but far too many business owners think they can't have a great website unless they pay for it out the nose. And too many web design businesses take advantage of that: they aren't streamlined, they use clunky programming platforms, and they charge astronomical hourly rates. My business model is simple: I keep my overhead low, I charge fair hourly rates, and I use an incredibly efficient tool to build websites. I can build a great website for almost any small business for under $1000. If you're paying more than that, ask your web designer why they charge so much -- or cut to the chase, and change designers.

So, ask yourself: Can I talk with my web designer and feel heard? Do they ask me questions that help me clarify what I want from my website? Are they quoting reasonable prices? Do I feel comfortable recommending them to friends and family?

If the answer to all those questions is yes, then you've got yourself a good web designer already. And if the answer to any of them is no... let's talk about what you need from your website.