For many web designers that work on a contract basis, much of their workload comes via word-of-mouth. Do a good job designing a site for a company and they are likely to recommend you to others in need of the same services. As more small businesses look to stay competitive in today’s challenging economy, the design and effectiveness of their Websites plays an important role.
With that in mind, the opportunities for web designers are out there; it’s just a matter of finding the right company to ply your trade for. Small business owners, meantime, are looking for web designers that not only have experience, but have a proven track record to get the job done correctly, at an affordable price, and with a high degree of professionalism.
So, what are the important factors that both the business owner and web designer need to agree on?
For the business owner:
See what your rivals are up to – While you do not want to copy what the competition is up to, it does not hurt to see what their design looks like. If something comparable will work for your site, by all means consider it;
Ask around – Word-of-mouth is a great means by which to track down web design help. Whether it is through friends, family or even those you work with now in your business get opinions from others as to who they like when it comes to web designing;
Get background information – Just as you would with any full-time employees you are considering hiring, make sure to do a background check on any web designer you are considering hiring on a contract basis. Make sure they do not have a past history involving complaints from customers, failing to make deadlines, etc. If their track record with previous clients is skeptical, think twice about hiring them to oversee your site’s design;
Think about long-term growth – With any luck at all, your site is going to grow over time as your business grows. Think about how such growth will impact the look and size of your site. Will you be comfortable sticking with an outside contractor to oversee the look of your site or will you consider hiring your own in-house team?
For the web designer:
Shop around for business – Although there are those web designers that will take whatever work they can get their hands on, be careful of who you might go to work for. There are those small business owners that will under pay you and think that is just fine, so make sure you know the going rate for your kind of work to avoid being ripped off. You need to make sure you know who you are doing contract work for, in that the business owner’s reputation is good enough that you don’t have to worry about getting paid properly and on time;
Work with someone that is easily approachable – Although you are supposed to have the answers when it comes to designing a business site, you want to work with a business owner that will listen to your ideas and provide professional feedback. You don’t want to get someone that will always question your ideas, be late on getting back to you with changes, and makes your work more difficult than it needs to be;
Make sure the content is coming – Some small business owners either do not have the time or have no idea what they are doing when it comes to providing relevant content to a designer. While you can be expected to come up with the design of the site and upgrading such designs, the business owner is more than likely going to need to provide relevant content for the site. In the event the business owner is hesitant to do this, recommend to them they hire a copywriter that can craft search engine-friendly text;
Network, network, and network – Many freelance designers will turn to their comrades in the field to find additional work. It is also advisable to use local business directories and even attend trade shows and conferences specific to your line of work. Along with putting together a prospect list of clients, also look to utilize social media in order to find additional work by creating pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn for starters.
As small business owners continue to look for ways to save money, the idea of hiring a freelance web designer can be very enticing in the fact that you avoid making a full-time hire, paying benefits, etc.
In turn, those designers looking for a little more flexibility as freelancers can find working for small business owners to be just to their liking.
Either way, both business owners and designers should focus in on designing a Web site that is beneficial to both.