When you're in need of a website for your business or organization, first ask yourself a few basic questions:
- What do you want your website to do?
- Where should you look to find a designer?
- You've found a few designers. How do you decide which one to use?
- How much will building a website cost?
- You have a lot of requirements. Should you build everything at once?
Are you looking for your website to serve as the equivalent of an advertisement for your business? Or, do you want it to be able to take input from users and process transactions, (such as credit cards)? Do you want users to be able to download video or audio files?
You'll want to meet with your designer to list all of your needs, requirements, design and look-and-feel ideas, and any wish list items you have for your site. Your site is a blank slate before you begin; it’s up to you and your designer to decide what your site will become.
Choosing a local designer is almost always your best bet. You can see a list of local website designers on Kudzu.com. Because the work of designing a site often requires discussion and brainstorming, it's helpful to be able to discuss your needs, requirements and goals for the site with someone face-to-face.
Visit each designer's website(s) and evaluate what you see. Is the design pleasing to the eye? Is the site easy to use, and is the content written in a natural, easy-to-understand way? If it's not, think carefully before choosing to work with them — your site may turn out to be difficult to use as well.
Also consider whether the navigation elements and content (the text on the site) are designed in a consumer friendly manner? Strive to find a designer who has a track record of putting together uncluttered, easy-to-use websites.
Website designers generally do businesses on an hourly rate, while others prefer the predictable nature of flat-fee-based service. It depends on what the designer and client are most comfortable with.
Generally, hourly rates for website designers can fall anywhere from $25 to $85 per hour, or higher. Flat fees for website design projects can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the requirements.
If you have a designer you're thinking of hiring, ask them to provide you an estimate for the project once you've established the needs of your site.
If you're planning a complex site, ask for pricing options, almost as you would when you purchase an automobile. Ask for pricing for sites of basic, mid-level and premium levels of complexity.
If you're not ready to pay the full cost of building out all your requirements at once, consider building your site in phases. Have your basic site built first and add more complex site elements and additional content later.