Looking for a web designer?
Maybe you just started a new business and you need a website as an online brochure for your business.
Maybe you’ve been in business for several years, your prospects keep asking if you have a website, and you’re worried that you’re losing business because you don’t have a website where people can read more about your business.
Maybe your company already has a website, but it’s outdated and filled with cheesy stock photos of corporate workers.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, sooner or later, you’re going to need to hire a web designer, web developer , or creative agency to help you make a website.
Where do you find a web designer or a web design company though? There are many ways. Here are the most popular ideas, along with pros and cons of each idea.
1. Google ****
You can find anything on Google. And because of this, a lot of web designers make sure that their companies do show up on Google’s search results.
There are many terms you can search for, but the most likely one would be “web design _______.” Just put in your city or state in the blank when you search and you’ll have plenty of results.
Pros: Easy to do. When you do your search, a lot of businesses should show up. Simply open them all up, then compare and contrast. Send an email or write down phone numbers of those you like.
Cons: “You never know what you’re gonna get.” Google really is like a box of chocolates. I trust Google, the company, but I can’t say the same about random businesses that I find on Google searches. Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: you never know what you’re gonna get.
2. Your Personal and Professional Networks ****
This is definitely one of the best methods for finding a good and reliable web design company. Reach out to people you know who network a lot. Business owners and independent contractors usually network with each and they usually know someone that does or sells x, y, and z and does a good job of it.
The most important thing about networks is that the people referred are referred for good reason: they’ve either been hired before or have had many good things said about them. Everyone that networks knows that your referrals reflect on you, so no one willingly gives out bad referrals. Because of this testimonial element, referrals from your network takes a lot of the risk out of the equation.
Pros: High trust factor. There are a lot of shady businesses out there, so by sticking with referrals from people you trust, you can dramatically weed out a lot of the shady, mediocre, or unprofessional companies.
Cons: You have to ask around. You’re going to have to ask a bunch of people before you find what you’re looking for. Also, remember that the strength of a referral reflect the referrer, so if you network with a lot of shady people, they might give you shady referrals.
3. Craigslist ****
When I first started my business, one of the first things I did was make a Craigslist ad. I got a fair amount of leads in that first month. This was because it’s a very popular website for find things… anything, which is very similar to Google. Whatever you want locally, you can find on Craigslist, whether it’s a used car or a date for Friday night.
For finding a web designer, you can either look under services >> computers for business ads or post a listing under gigs >> computers or under jobs >> web/info design saying that you’re looking for website help.
Pros: Semi-legitimate listing for businesses. Craigslist is seen as a popular place to post ads for businesses in certain industries. Many ads are posted weekly or daily.
Cons: Expect lots of low quality listings. There are both low-quality businesses as well as low-quality leads on Craigslist. This is because anyone can post on Craigslist. In my experience using Craigslist, I found that leads from Craigslist had a super-high flake rate — people would schedule a meeting, I would go there, and they would not show up. No email, no call, no text message telling me they want to cancel the meeting. But I also met some great clients from Craigslist as well. Basically, when using Craigslist, be ready to swim through a lot of sh*t before finding some gems. Same holds true whether you’re looking to work or looking to hire.
4. Yelp ****
I’m a big fan of Yelp – it’s like getting an honest recommendation from a friend who has used the company’s service or product. Except it’s not a friend that’s giving a recommendation, it’s a total stranger. Yelp is the best review site because reviews are by real people with real faces. Many Yelpers are very devoted and post frequent reviews of establishments they’ve frequented or businesses they’ve used. Meanwhile, a lot of other review sites you see online could easily be faked (aka astro turfing).
Pros: Authentic reviews. The biggest draw is that Yelp has real feedback from real customers. Yelp has not failed me yet when it comes to accurately reviewing restaurants.
Cons: Not too many listings. Yelp was originally a review site for restaurants. Though they’ve expanded to reviews for all businesses in general, it is still primarily a restaurant review site. This means businesses that don’t feed you, like a web design company, won’t have many reviews or none at all. Despite it’s wonderful reputation, Yelp is still not considered a primary business directory.
5. Do It Yourself ****
Some people want to make their own website. Some people want to save money. Some people just don’t know anyone well enough to hire them. Those people can make their own websites using Dreamweaver, site-builders, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace… the quantity of website builders out there are endless.
Pros: Save money and feel awesome. There is nothing better in life than trying something new and proving to yourself that you can do it. Also, a lot of new businesses can’t justify the $500-$2500 they might spend on a professional website because that money could be spent on other, more important things, like marketing or networking fees.
Cons: Just because you can make a website does not mean that it’s going to look good. I’ve had many clients and prospects approach me and they’ve asked me my opinion on their self-made websites. A lot of them looked unprofessional. Okay, actually, they all looked unprofessional. A professional web designer does more than make a website: he has to consider compatibility, usability, legibility, marketability and a million other -bilities. Sound like a lot? It is. Although site-builders are a great idea for businesses starting up and needing a web presence, at a certain stage of your business, it makes much more sense to hire a professional web design company.
These are 6 great ways to find web designers and web design companies. Whatever method you use, make sure to do your homework! Check for prices, check their portfolios, ask questions about their business practices and design processes, and above all else, make sure they’re not shady!