The three most important questions to ask yourself when hiring website designers and developers:
Most of the times when we are asked about building a website, the first three questions we receive are: When can it be done? Do I need to do anything? How much will it cost?
These questions pop out within the first five minutes, and are unfortunately anything but easy to determine. Whether we like to admit it or not, a project like this does not usually have quick answers to number 1 or number 3. The short answers are usually “when do you need it by” and another answer telling you “typically between ‘x’ and ‘y’, depending on how large of a project it is”. This brings me to the three important questions you must know the answer to in order to make any meeting with a developer/designer as beneficial as possible.
The most important thing to ask yourself when looking to build a website is what kind of website do you want? By kind of website, I am referring more towards what you hope to get out of the website than what type of business or setup it may be. Are you looking for:
- A quick method to get your presence online
- An extension of your branding with little to no added features
- A platform that you can use to direct your online strategy for years to come
The average designers and developers are automatically assuming it will be part way between the second and third option, or solely the third option. When you ask any of your other questions about price and time, the answers you receive will be based on this assumption.
The second most important thing to ask yourself is “how much am I willing to spend to get what I want?” This is a difficult question to ask, because there is usually someone out there who knows “a guy” who can do it for a fraction of a cost.
You can get an idea of the quality of work they do from looking at their website.
This dynamic influences what the end cost is expected to be when going elsewhere. I am here to tell you that much like anything else in life, not all websites are created equal; nine times out of ten you really do get when you pay for.
It’s up to you to define your budget, but if you go into it with a budget clear from the get-go, you can even meet with developers/designers that look to be within your target price range; the easy thing about hiring a designer/developer is that you can get an idea of the quality of work they do from looking at their website (and portfolio). Once you end up meeting with them, don’t be afraid to mention what you’re looking to spend; it will lead to a more informed proposal from them and let you know how far your money will go from company to company.
Most website designers and developers are flexible. We have a sometimes frightening ability to create time where there seems to be no time.
The next question is when this really needs to be done by. I know everybody would like it “as soon as possible”, but specifically find out when you want the site to launch. Is there a grand opening, anniversary, or launch party planned? Let the designer/developer know what the specific deadline is, as this will both prevent a project from dragging, but it will also allow for them to keep you on track for when they need content.
Most website designers and developers are flexible. We have a sometimes frightening ability to create time where there seems to be no time. If a project really needs to be done in three weeks, we can recite the phrase “we shall double our efforts” and a forty hour work week turns into a sixty or eighty hour work week. Because we can seemingly hit most deadlines if they are viewed important enough though, it does not mean that it is any less work to finish a project because we found a way to shave 2 weeks off the project timeline. If anything, it was more work.
In a time where your website will ultimately be seen by more potential customers and clients than any other form of marketing, it can easily be said that it is the most important aspect of your brand behind the logo itself. Former first-tier tools such as business cards, flyers, decals, stickers, swag, and commercials are now used as a method to direct people to your website; your website tells someone everything they need to know about you.
And you control what they see when they get there. As website designers/developers, we try to make it memorable.