How to Choose the Right Portland Web Designers
A company’s website provides most customers with their first impression of the brand. Portland web designers can design an online space to build relationships, share information, and make sales. Before you make the big decision, here are eleven questions to ask before hiring web designers in Portland.
1. What experience do you have with similar projects?
An experienced web designer will be able to showcase multiple work samples in their portfolio. Experience working on similar projects, either for clients in the same industry or for similar types of websites, eliminates much of the learning curve that comes with a new web designer. If they can show you examples from similar projects, it will give you a better idea of what they can provide for your company and that they understand the nuances and jargon of your industry. Work samples can also showcase a designer’s style to see if it matches with your vision.
2. What is your design process?
Before you start working with a web designer, it’s helpful to understand their process and the steps they take to creating a great website. What do they need from you? How hands-on do they expect you to be? Do they have specific briefs that need to be completed? Understanding the design process can also help your company know when to expect updates and deliverables.
3. What are your rates and deadlines?
Before hiring Portland web designers, you should be on the same page about the rates and deadlines. Be clear when discussing rates—some web designers charge a flat rate for the entire project, and others charge an hourly rate depending on how long it takes them to finish the project. With a flat rate, be clear about what is included and who owns the rights to the content and designs when the project is complete. You should also check to see if the rates include post-launch maintenance and support and if that is something the web designers offer. Having clear deadlines is also helpful to keep everyone on the same page. Deadlines can include everything from when the initial brief and mockups will be ready to when the entire site will be complete and ready to go live. Taking time before hiring a web designer to fully understand rates and deadlines can prevent confusion and miscommunication down the road.
4. How do you test your websites?
Web design is more than just creating a beautiful website. It also must be functional. Great web designers thoroughly test their websites to ensure everything works and that it creates a great user experience. Data privacy and security is also an important issue, especially on websites where customers are making purchases or sharing information. Ask potential web designers how they test their websites and what they test for. Some firms may only test to make sure the links work, while others will run the website through the entire gamut of testing. The best testing is done on multiple browsers and devices to make sure the experience is consistent no matter how the website is accessed. Web testing should be done before the site is live; otherwise, you could be faced with disgruntled customers or employees trying to work through an in-progress website.
5. Do you optimize your designs for mobile and other devices?
In our modern world, most people don’t access websites on a computer. More and more people are online on their phones or other mobile devices. Your website should be optimized for mobile, which means it still provides a great user experience that fits on the screen and is easy to navigate. Before hiring web designers, ask about their cross-device optimization. If will be helpful to know if optimizing a website for mobile is included in the price and deadline expectations or if it will be an additional cost. The best websites have a modern design and are scalable and responsive.
6. Do you have past clients I can speak with?
A web designer’s portfolio can give you a good idea of their style and skill, but if you want to know what it’s really like to work with them, ask to speak to their past clients. References can share with you their first-hand experience of working with the web designer and often provide advice for building a strong working relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask past clients lots of questions so you can fully understand what it’s like to hire the design agency. Ask about the creative process, the website results, and if they would recommend the web designer.
7. Who will be involved in designing my website?
Some larger web design agencies have huge teams, and you might not always be aware of who is working on your website. Other, small companies may only a handful of web designers, so you may get to choose who works on your project. Some web design agencies outsource parts of the design and development process, which can be useful for you to know as a customer. Knowing who will be involved in designing your website helps you understand the role of each person on the team and makes it possible to contact them directly with questions and concerns. Understanding the chain of command also lets you know who is in charge of certain aspects of the process and the overall management of the team.
8. Who will own the website?
There are a number of aspects that go into a business website, including the domain name, the design of the website, and the hosting account. Some web designers maintain ownership of the website design, while others will hand over the artwork and source files once the website is complete. If the web designer is also creating custom graphics or a logo for your business, check to see who will own the original files after the work is done. Some designers hand over the files, while others keep them for themselves. If you plan to use that logo on other materials, you likely want to have control of it yourself. Similarly, some web developers want to stay in control of the hosting account and website backend for maintenance and don’t grant access for their clients.
9. Are your websites optimized for SEO and to drive leads?
Great business websites do more than just look good—they also help drive sales and business results. High-quality web developers understand what it takes to drive leads and turn people browsing the site into full-fledged, paying customers. Before you decide on a web designer, talk to them about their lead generation strategy and how they plan to optimize your website to increase sales and customers. You can also ask how their websites have impacted sales and leads for past clients to see what results the company has achieved in the past.
Search engine optimization is also a vital part of any website. SEO helps sites rank higher in search engine results, which drives more people to the website. Much of SEO has to do with the content on the website, but the foundation is built into the actual website design. Hiring a web designer with a strong understanding of SEO and how to build it into the website can help your website score higher on Google.
10. Will you build a website for my competitors?
On one hand, it can be beneficial to hire a web designer who has built sites for your competitors because they understand the industry and what customers are looking for. But on the other hand, it can create a bias against your website and lead to a conflict of interest. Before hiring a web designer, be aware of their policy for working with your competitors. You likely don’t want your website to be used to create a great website for your biggest competition. The answer to this question might not take a web designer out of the running, but it is helpful to know to give you the full picture of who you’re hiring.
11. What will be required from us to ensure the project is completed?
In order for a website design project to be successful, you as the client will likely need to be involved at some level. It’s important that you understand what your designer will need from you in the process so you can allocate time and resources to get things to them. For example, if you are wanting to write all of your own content and provide your own images, you’ll want to make sure you understand how soon the website designer needs everything to get the project going.
Taking time to ask questions and do your research before hiring Portland web designers can help you find the perfect match to create a professional, quality website that meets your company’s needs.
Ready to find your website designer in the Portland area? Connect with Cyphon Design to learn more about what we do today.