In choosing a designer, you have to think if you want to work side by side, or you can work from a distance and communicate via phone. Some factors you need to consider in hiring a website designer are the following:
Do they ask you a lot of questions about your business? They should be interested to know more about your business. Since they will design a website that represents your brand, they should spend time to know it better.
Visit the sites they have created to know if they are your type of designs. Do all of them have a particular feel, or they are also flexible when it comes to their designs?
Ask them if they did everything, from the programming to the actual layout and graphic work.
If they do not do graphic work, ask if they can to refer you to a graphic artist.
Do they follow a process that is planned well and which brings you all throughout the design phase? Will they keep a record of the things that were discussed and decided on?
Are they familiar with SEO and Internet Marketing? Make sure that the site they are creating will be able to meet your bigger business and marketing needs. (A visually appealing website is useless if it does not generate income).
Ask about the designer’s fees, including the estimated price of the site they will create. However, you first have to discuss the features and content that you like for them to be able to provide a good estimate. Certainly, it would cost more to include autoresponders, a blog, email address setup, logo design, membership site, newsletter, SEO or shopping cart (or if you have several web pages).
Ask about billing. Do you have to give a deposit? Will they give you an invoice every month or when reaching certain milestones?
Check if they will stay within your budget, or if they will suggest add-ons that will increase the price of your website. Always keep in mind that you are responsible for your budget and not the designers.
Visit some of their past and present clients and ask about the process. You want to hire somebody with good communication and project management skills. They should pay attention to what you like and not just give advice. Also, they should communicate with you in a well timed manner via emails and phone calls.
Will they continue to maintain your site even after creating it and how much will it cost? There are designers that only want to create websites, but do not maintain them. If you want to maintain it for a lower price, you can hire a virtual assistant or VA to do the job, provided that he/she has website programming skills. Know the types of programming used in your site. This way, it would be easier to find someone to update it.