This post was originally created for the now discontinued ebusiness blog (ebizblog.ca) on July 7th, 2008.
The average small business does not know how to find a web designer or web developer. However, with some initial planning and careful preparation, you will be able to find a web development professional to meet your business needs.
1. Evaluate the Needs of Your Online Business Presence
Setting clear, concise goals will help you understand what your business wants to achieve from the website. Create a "Request for Proposal," or RFP, to write these goals down and determine which website features are essential and which ones would be nice additions. A website RFP is also useful when you are recruiting and communicating with web development professionals.
2. Narrow Down a Group of Web Designers/Web Developers
After creating your website RFP, you will need to shortlist a group of web development professionals. Below is a list of websites that will help you assemble your potential shortlist:
Additionally, a Google search for "Vancouver freelance web design" or "Vancouver web designers" will give you many different local web designers to consider. When looking at the portfolios of potential web designers, think about the following questions:
- Do I like the look and feel of their previous work?
- Do they have quality references?
- Have they created websites similar to what I need for my website?
- Do they have all the technical skills required to complete the job? It's important that whoever you choose to work with thoroughly understands the technical requirements necessary for your website.
3. Email Your Website RFP
Email your website RFP to the entire list of potential web designers you have shortlisted. Here is an easy way to do so:
- Compose a new email address it to yourself.
- Add all your potential web designers to the BCC field of your e-mail
- Create a clear subject line, such as "XYZ Business is looking to have a website created (RFP attached)"
- Write a brief introductory sentence describing your business and yourself
- Attach your website RFP to the e-mail, send and then wait for feedback
4. Review, Negotiate and Get Comfy.
Next you'll be reviewing the feedback from you website RFP. There will likely be a mix of good, not-so-good and standout replies. If possible, call and make a one-on-one appointment with the candidates that stood out. Meeting the potential web designer is very important, especially since you will want to feel comfortable working together. Consider the following points when meeting a web designer:
- There is no need to pay for an initial meet and greet
- If you do not already have a domain name or web hosting, let the designer know you will still need to do so. It is ideal to have both registered in your business name
- Ask for references to websites that the designer created with similar requirements to your own needs
- It is okay to ask for a list of past clients to contact. If you do contact a reference, the only question that really matters is whether the client would work with the designer again. The only answer that matters is "Yes."
- It is not common that a quality web designer will develop a website mock-up for you as a free pitch to get the contract. This approach will often scare away quality talent
- A quality web designer will listen to your plan, assess your needs, and provide constructive feedback regarding any areas of your website plan that may need improvement
5. Get Everything in Writing
After picking a web designer, commit everything about the project to writing, including:
– Having everything in writing provides both parties with a clear blueprint of what is expected.
– Following this process will help to make the process of finding a web designer an easier task. The time spent planning your website needs will make for an organized, well-communicated working relationship between yourself and the designer you choose to create your website.
- Financial terms and payment schedules
- Any legal requirements that need signing off
- Itemized list of what and when deliverables will be provided to you by the web designer
- Itemized list of what and when deliverables will be provided by you to the web designer
- A project timeline outlining key milestone and final release dates