Do you get the “warm and fuzzies”?

September
17
2009

So what separates a good web designer from a great web designer? When trying to hire the best web designer for your project, there’s a whole long list of important things to consider. In the final analysis, however, it could be said that it actually comes down to one simple thing:

Do they give you the “warm and fuzzies”?

Don’t misunderstand and get the impression that you should just be on the lookout for someone with a kind smile. When I say “warm and fuzzies”, I’m talking about an overall good feeling that you’ve found a freelancer or web design agency that’s perfect for your needs.

There’s no doubt about it – it’s “buyer beware”!

That’s easier said than done, but there are definite ways that gaining your trust can be accomplished. The best web design freelancer or agency will ensure a few key things

They should spend the time to learn about you and your business – what drives you, what your goals and needs are, who your market is, and where your best opportunities lie. This discovery stage should be just as important to them as anything, or they’re not really serving your needs

They ought to be honest about what they can do for you. Anyone who guarantees a top Google ranking should be disqualified from the word “go”. Also, honesty about what they cannot do for you is important too. If you require an aggressive email marketing campaign, and they don’t offer that service, they should be up-front about it. A response of “Well, we can discuss that later” shouldn’t be acceptable. Dodgy behaviour should send up some red flags. Another thing that helps convey honesty is their willingness to provide a list of references. Testimonials posted on a website are fine, but being able to talk to a living and breathing client of theirs is even better. Above all things, you should be able to get a sense of what it was like to work with them from their previous customers.

Keep in mind that you should be hiring a professional. To some degree, you should really let them do the job you hired them to do. That being said, they should still include you in the process. True, they’re the web professionals, but the best web design companies understand that this is a relationship. Communication happens in two directions in successful relationships, and you shouldn’t be left to wonder if your web designer is still alive or not.

They should speak your language. Specifically, a human language. If your web contractor can’t relate all this technology mumbo-jumbo in understandable human terms, then they’re falling short in my opinion. You should end up with at least some working knowledge of what is going to be included at every step, especially if you want that knowledge. Some clients don’t want to know anything or have to sit through lengthy explanations. They just want the job to get done, and that’s fine too. But if you’re one of the folks who likes to be an informed buyers, your web pro should take the time to make you comfortable with what’s going to happen. After discussing your project, you should get a summary of what’s included in the price. Fees should be transparent. Preferably this will be in writing, but at least a verbal breakdown is a must, and don’t be afraid to ask for it in writing. Any web industry professional won’t need such prodding anyway. Basically, you should know at the outset if the price includes what you need to help avoid surprises later.

There are certainly many other things that can help you gauge whether or not you’re hiring the right web designer. These are some broad lines, and it should be a helpful starting point.

Don’t forget about gut instincts too. In the end, you should consider this a long-term relationship, so make sure you feel good about it.

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