You need a website. Or maybe you need a new website. You'll be needing to hire a designer or a developer, but you're not entirely sure where to start, or what you need to look for when you have a few options to choose from. I mean really, other than making a good website, what should you look for when you're hiring someone to essentially change how the world sees you and your business online?
While this list won't be exhaustive, I will definitely outline some important aspects to consider when it comes to hiring web monkeys. On that note, you should definitely not hire web monkeys, they do exist, they will take your money, and not really help you achieve your goals, and they'll probably leave you feeling like you just got done. I'm here to help you avoid that. Also, they might look cute, kinda. But don't do it!
To clarify, a monkey is someone who can kinda do the job, but is only good at one part of the task. In other words, this is an extra tip by the way, you want someone who can approach the whole project with a wide understanding of what you're seeking. A lot of people can make websites, but can they do it well, and incorporate your customer journey into the process.
1. Clear Communication
This might seem obvious, but if you don't feel like you can talk comfortably with them, it might not be a good fit. On creative projects like getting your website developed, you want to be able to speak freely with the people making it. And when you have a question, you want to be able to speak to the people actually doing the work, not get mucked around.
Are they speaking your language? It's really easy for developers to get stuck into technical things, and leave you, their customer, completely lost at what they're actually saying. Hire someone who can speak your language and use words you actually understand. Optimised landing pages might be better interpreted as when people visit your website, it's really important that your page loads fast. Or responsive design, it's much better said, your website will look beautiful on mobile phones and someone's desktop.
Not only should your designer be great to talk with, they should also be able to clearly communicate what work they're going to do and what work they won't. They should make it plain and simple, and confirm if they've understood the scope of the project. The last thing you want to happen is get charged for something you didn't want or need.
2. Your Gut-Feel
The least scientific of all my recommendations, there's definitely something to be said about your gut feel. If it ain't right at the start, there's little chance things will change throughout the process. And the last thing you want to be stuck with is someone you don't really trust to do a good job. While you might need a website as soon as possible or Mr. Slimy is going to offer you a really good price, I'd say never compromise, because you'll end up disappointed at the end. And if it's really bad, you might find yourself looking at round two of development to get it right.
You should ask yourself too, are these guys more in it to make money, or to help me succeed online? If it's the former, I'd drop them straight away. While no business is out to make a loss, no business should be pursuing money at the expensive of solving a customer's problem.
3. Do They Get You?
"I'm hiring these guys for a website, do they have to get me?" Absolutely. While it's always good practice to outline what your designer is going to create, it should be important in speaking with them, that they understand you and your business needs. If your brand has a strong element of fun to it, they should be able to pick that up and bring that aspect to the website. Maybe your business has a minimal aesthetic, if they see that and build you a completely different website, you'll be disappointed. Remember, your website is most often one of the first touch points your customers will go to. Your website is a reflection of your business, if the website lets them down or gives the wrong impression, you're plain and simply losing customers.
"So now what do I do?" Go and try this out for yourself. Make an appointment with a few different designers, and see for yourself. You can start by making a time to meet us at OneToo, we'll even take you out for coffee. See if we practice what we preach.