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How do you know if a small business web designer is up to the job?

If you’re looking for a small business web designer, be sure you know what you’re getting.

There are a lot of firms out there that do website development, and how satisfied you are with the final product will depend on the firm that you choose. Small business needs to be especially vigilant because many firms may not deliver what you expect.

Often, a small business web designer is a one-person show, with a new entrepreneur creating web sites from his or her home. Sometimes, website development is an additional service offered by a graphic designer or marketing firm as an add on to their core business. Many call themselves a small business web designer because they don’t have the capabilities to do big business designs. Some of these are using templates to create your design, rather than a custom site developed for your needs.

But although a website developer may think of you as a small client, you know that your project isn’t “small” to you. Your business and your budget may not be the largest out there, but if you choose to hire a small business web designer, you want big business service.

You can dramatically improve the chances that you’ll get what you’re paying for. Simply ask these questions:

1. What has been the most complex project that you’ve completed?
One of the great values in hiring a small business web designer is that they can suggest things that you may not have thought of. You may have an idea of what you want from your website, or you may not. A smart website developer will take that vision and help you see what else it could be, suggesting functionality or features that will help your business grow, and allowing you to make the most informed decision. The best web designers will be able to tell you in depth about the types of work that they’ve done -- things like developing a members-only section of a website, incorporating a blog or social media, creating an e-store, integrating with a custom mobile application and more. Ask for links to the websites that they reference in your discussion, so you can see their work for yourself.

2. How does your design process work?
Even rudimentary websites come out of a process. A website developer should be able to tell you how that process works for them, from how they learn your needs and get to know your business, to timelines, communications schedules, signoffs and approvals, and ongoing maintenance and review. Fees for this work should be transparent, either on a project or hourly basis, and there should be no question at the end of the conversation of how the project will proceed or how your feedback will be collected.

3. How do you determine the right web strategy for a client?
It’s easy for a small business web designer to create a website that has all of the pertinent info about your business and a splashy design. What’s harder is creating a site that supports your business. Good site developers spend time asking you questions about your goals and your business, and want to learn about what other kinds of marketing you’re doing and what has or has not been successful for you. The best small business web designers can integrate what you’re doing offline with your online activities, making each avenue more successful than if they worked alone. A solid developer will also mention tracking and metrics, discussing ways to ensure that the website that you get delivers the results that you want.

These questions aren’t rocket science, but they do give you a concrete idea of how a potential small business web designer works. Compare their answers with your own work style, priorities, plans and expectations, and you should have a clear idea about how a small business web designer will work with you.

Ready to start that conversation? BolderImage provides web development for businesses of all sizes, from large international corporations to the mom and pop shop around the corner. We believe that every business deserves big business attention, and will create a custom strategy just for your business needs. Contact us today and learn how we can make your web marketing effortless.

- The BolderImage Team

Tags: web design 

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