Searching for a web designer, part one

OK, so maybe I said something in the previous post that made you think, ‘hmm, maybe I do need a web site.’ That begs the question however, who should I get to design my site?

There are literally hundreds of people in your local area (this of course depends on where you live, but generally it’s probably true) who could build a web site for you. A search on Blingo for ‘web design dayton’ returns 595,000 hits. I break them down into a few general categories;

  • The large design firm
  • The small design firm
  • The freelancer
  • The geeky ‘kid, co-worker, niece, retiree (choose one or provide your own)’ next door

Actually, any of the above could create a quality web site for you, but at the same time, any one of them could do just the opposite.

Before I get into the distinct qualities I feel you should look for in a web designer(part two of this series), let’s consider the pros and cons of each of the above.

The large design firm
One would assume the reason they got to be a large firm is because they have built up their client base by doing good work. There are probably exceptions to this assumption but generally, if you do crappy work you won’t be around long enough to build your company.

  • PRO – Large, established and experienced.
  • CON – On the flip side a large firm may use multiple employees to develop your site and you will end up paying for all these employees plus part of the overhead to run that large company.

The small design firm
A small design firm can be small by choice or because they are fairly new. If they are small by choice I tend to make these assumptions:

  • PRO – If they have been around awhile they probably fall in to the ‘must do good work category’.
  • CON – If they have chosen to remain small, they are probably selective and might be expensive.

The small design firm that is fairly new;

  • PRO – Smaller and not as established so the prices may be more reasonable than bigger firms.
  • CON – Less established could also mean less experienced and you may not get the quality work you deserve.

The freelancer
The freelancer could fall into many different categories like the college student trying to build a portfolio or the professional web designer who does this on the side for the money, or for the joy of it (or both). In my view, the pros and cons of freelancers are;

  • PRO – Does not have the overhead of the big firm so will probably be less expensive.
  • CON – May not have the experience found in the large and small design firms.
  • PRO – Professionals who do this on the side bring the experience at reduced prices.
  • CON – Freelancers have a ‘regular’ job that may impact their turn-around time.
  • PRO – May exchange services instead of working for cash which might not be an option for firms.

The geeky kid next door
Everybody knows one.

  • PRO – Will work for beer money (or candy bar money), or for free
  • CON – Probably no training and little experience and may not be able to meet all your web site needs

Now I reiterate, this is just my opinion and not every scenario above will necessarily be true. Just because a firm is established and has longevity and experience doesn’t necessarily mean that they are up to date in their methods. Some of them are old dogs and there are new tricks in web development every day. You may be comfortable with the geeky kid next door doing your web site for you but remember, the final product might look like the kid next door did it, or, it just might be one of the freshest web sites on the internet.

Your decision needs to accommodate your wallet and your gut feeling about your designer, just remember there are many options to choose from and you CANNOT necessarily tell a book by its cover. So, how to decide? In my next post I will let you know what you should look for, and ask about, when trying to choose a web designer.

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