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How should I choose my web designer?

Wednesday May 7th, 2008 by fathersez

So far I have not done anything on monetizing or commercializing my blog. The main reasons being that my traffic figures would not exactly make any advertiser drool, and secondly I am still not comfortable with the technical skills that go along with placing ads etc.  

But getting involved with this blog has however, opened my mind wide open, on online businesses in general.  

Now my wife and I have decided to set up an online shop. Selling a product that we think has a market. Some of the market research work is going on at the moment. But this is not the reason for this post. 

We want a web site done. We know how the end product should look like. We know what features we want on the site.  What we are not that sure about is whether this knowledge is sufficient to commission a web designer?   


To be able to commission a web designer, I have to be able to give clear and mutually agreeable specifications. How on earth do I do this, when I can’t recognize CSS even if it fell on my head? What if I miss a key requirement and realize only, say, 6 months later? And how do I test the web site to make sure it meets my requirements, when the content is going to be built up over time.  

What about modifications that may have to be made later? Do I have to go back to the same person or can I do it with someone closer to home. 

It may be a little easier when it comes to things that we can see, like say, a garden retaining wall. Even then, we are warned to define clearly what the contractor is expected to be doing for us, making sure it covers all the things we want completed. We should spell out any preparation work, protection of surrounding areas, clean up, etc.  

I have listed the requirements as I understand them on Elance, and so far some bids have come. I have time to “evaluate” them before I make a decision.  

Some great guidance has been obtained from the Web, here and here. 

I am thinking of just listing all my concerns, plus the suggestions that I got from the Web and asking the short listed bidders to address them. Then just go with my instinct.  

Is this how it is supposed to be? Is there a better way? I would appreciate some pointers.

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5 Comments for “How should I choose my web designer?”

by Matt
On May 7, 2008
At 10:45 pm

Picking a designer can be a challenge especially if you’re not familiar with the coding aspect of the web. I find that it boils down to two elements the design and the programming. If you can find someone who has expereince on both sides of the fence you can explain your concerns and they are likely to come back with suggestions.

I would suggest going through a persons portfolio to make sure that their general style matches with what you’re looking for. And the next and probably most important item is being comfortable with the person. You can purchase a design from an off shore company in India or Chine for a lot less than in North America but you might encounter a language barrier. Don’t spend your money on something when you’re not entirely sure what you’re getting.

There are lots of potential concerns when it comes to designing and developing in the online space and the best solutions are ones that are flexible and custom to your needs. If you have any questions shoot me an email I might be able to help.

On May 8, 2008
At 10:13 am

Thank you, Matt for your thoughful comment.

Unfortunately I am not a US resident and dealing with people from my half of the world may be less stressful from at least the time zone point of view.

This weekend I am going to begin my process of evaluation and will certainly remember your suggestion on the bidders’ portfolio analysis.

And I am most grateful for your offer of further advice.

Best regards and may there be no bumps or thorns whilst you are on your milliondollar journey.

Best regards

by Matt
On May 8, 2008
At 7:15 pm

Thank you. Dealing with people you’re comfortable with is the best way to start your search. There is probably a very good chance you can find a college or university student (or recent graduate) that is very talented and willing to work for less. Good luck and keep us posted

On May 15, 2008
At 12:07 pm

If you’re considering a US designer, you should find a US designer who loves to work late at night to ensure you’re on the same time zone and communication is on point.

To find someone you’re comfortable with, I’d begin by looking at a testimonials page and asking for references. You can also talk to other website owners you know and talk to and see if they have any recommendations.

Good luck :)

On July 28, 2008
At 1:45 am

[…] - bookmarked by 4 members originally found by dnlkrl on July 18, 2008 How should I choose my web designer? http://www.fathersez.com/how-should-i-choose-my-web-designer/ - bookmarked by 2 members originally […]

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