Find a web designer in Ashford

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Blog

How do you find a web designer in Ashford or any place for that matter? Generally it is best to hire a professional web design company rather than getting your friends fathers uncles sons wife to do it on the cheap, not setting aside enough money to invest in a web design service is just not good business. OK so your on board, you know that you need to find a web designer or web design company, how hard can it be!? Think about this, there are no formal qualifications which are necessary to enter the industry and its is not regulated either, well not effectively anyway. This means that there are more cowboy web designers out there than builders!

There is more to buying a website than simply comparing website packages, it gets even more complicated when you compare prices. Think about it logically, a website priced at £2000.00 is not likely going to compare with one that costs £499.00 (with the exception of cowboy web designers that say yes to everything just to get your business). So how do you decide? I’ll briefly cover some concepts in no particular order.

“There are more cowboy web designers out there than builders”

Qualifications for web designers

Its best that you select a qualified web designer or company, hire an unqualified one at your peril. Unless however they have experience creating high level websites and have a proven track record of documented results, otherwise steer well clear.

Website platform

Depending on your requirements you may opt for going with PHP or .net rather than the alternatives because any future changes that could be an issue outside of these platforms or there are many other issues such as flash websites not being properly ranked in search engines, anyway that’s a new blog title in itself. .net is becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the recent changes so unless you have specific requirements you are safe with PHP.

That’s the programming language sorted now how about the website itself, you may be offered a bespoke website or an off the shelf package such as Joomla , Drupal and WordPress. Deciding on which one to go for is really down to your requirements but your web design company should be able to advise you. Personally I like WordPress because of the blogging power it has, blogging is one of the best ways to engage your customers and provide a way of marketing your website, i’ll write another blog about the power of blogging later. Bespoke websites are not always good, only choose one if you have specific requirements that cannot be served properly using WordPress etc.

Whatever platform you end up going for your web design company should know which is going to be the best option for you, if they don’t know or only give you one option then that shows a lack of experience or expertise.

Web design experience

Ideally the web designer or company should be experienced, the less experience they have, the more your website could be negatively affected. On the flip side dont presume that 10 years experience is a good thing either because they could have made poor websites for the last 10 years! Experience is also important in terms of how you will be treated as a customer, how mature they are in providing quality websites and keeping customers happy at the same time. The web design industry is notorious for extremely poor communication and equally poor customer service levels. Its very common for projects to be cancelled mid way through, we specialise in disaster recover projects where companies need to find a web designer that will complete a project quickly and efficiently.

“Don’t presume that 10 years experience is a good thing either because they could have made poor websites for the last 10 years!

Portfolio

A portfolio on its own is not enough information but combined with my other points, you can start making up your mind Have a look at their work, you will soon see the difference in a website company offering a website for £400.00 and one for £1500.00. Also, make sure that their work is theirs, go to the bottom of the website, there is usually a back link to their website, question everything!

Business expertise

What do they know about business? Are they going to make you a website that looks great but misses the mark based on poor business decisions? Do they address your target audience, what makes you different, unique selling points, marketing concepts etc. They should speak about online marketing too, this is essential to making sure that your website works well. Again, if they do not address these points, your website will miss the mark.

Communication

As I have already indicated this is a potential problem area, how do they communicate with you? Do they explain things clearly right from the start? If they dont and you are confused from the start, dont use them, you wont gel well with every web designer even if they do tick all the boxes. Use a company that explains things nicely, that’s on your level. Find out how they are going to manage the project and keep you updated at the same time.

Project management / Project life cycle

This is the area that sets apart companies that charge more or less for websites. It is the processes that are involved that will determine a successful website not just the features that it comes with, e.g. Animated Banner could be on the list of features, a good web designer will talk to you about the contents of the banner and the process that they will take in order to find out what to put into the banner such as text pictures and links. Find out how they will tackle the project, do they have a set process that they will carry out, if so what are they? Do they provide supporting materials?

Ongoing fees / Terms

Look at their terms, find out what charges may apply in certain situations, read through and ask questions about anything that you are unsure of. Ask questions such as:

  • Will I have a dedicated account manager?
  • Who will be responsible for the website if my contact is not available?
  • Where are you and your staff based?
  • Will any of the work be outsourced?
  • What processes are in place to ensure that the project will be completed on time and on budget?
  • Will I be charged for updates, if yes then how much?
  • What is the exact process for each step in the project?
  • How long will each step take?

This is a very brief description on how to find a web designer or web design company, please feel free to comment below if you have any further questions or contact us to speak with a specialist.

P.S We obviously tick all of these boxes above and more, if you need a website or you need to revamp your online marketing strategy, please contact Ashford Web Design today! Or if you have a question, post it below and we will advise you.