Last week, we discussed things to do before you hire a designer. Now you’re ready to move forward.  But there are many web designers available and with so many, you’re likely wondering, “How do I pick the right one for my website?” Here are some things you should consider.

Are they licensed?

Decide if it matters to you if the web designer is a licensed business or simply doing websites as a hobby. Either can be an excellent choice but future availability of the web designer is a key issue. If they are a licensed business, ask for their Unified Business Identifier (UBI) if it’s not listed on their website so you can check historic information about them. Look at them the same way you would a contractor who is going to work on your house or car.

Are they available?

If you want a web designer who will be available when you need them, check their posted hours of operation. If they do not have their hours listed anywhere, that might be a problem.

Call or email them to see how long it takes for a response. That may give you an idea how they normally operate. Most should respond within 24 hours. When you need changes made right away, quick response time will be an important part of their customer service.

Have a contract.

While paperwork can be a hassle, a contract between you and the web designer makes good legal sense and protects you, as the consumer, in case of problems later. It should provide the services expected, the costs involved and establish ownership when the website is completed.

Take a look at their portfolio.

Ask yourself if the designer’s style matches the way you’d like your site to look. Are the designs very similar, or can the designer provide a custom look and feel to your website?

Are there limits to edits and revisions?

Is the designer flexible with changes to the website or is there a limit to the number of changes that can be made? Some web designers limit changes, even from the beginning, to two (2) changes before you have to accept what is given to you.

Do they keep you informed?

Will the designer explain in plain English what steps are being taken with the website? Jargon runs wild in the web design industry, such as “Web 2.0”, “bandwidth”, etc. The designer should be willing to take the time to explain anything you are unfamiliar with.

Does the designer provide periodic updates as to what is being done during the process? The most frustrating thing is to pay for something and then have to wait without knowing what is going on.

Take the time to ask questions before hiring a web design firm.  It’ll save you time, money and frustration.