Hitting her across the head like a sack of potatoes, Susan finally realized her company was overdue for a website. Naturally her first course of action was to find the cheapest designer in her local area. Without asking for any credentials, portfolio examples, or referrals; she hastily handed over a check to a young, eager computer guru. She was convinced that her expectations of having a beautiful website and tons of exposure were inevitable.
Does the precedent sound all too familiar? It's okay, we are not here to single you out. In the best case scenario, you probably did get a beautiful looking website that you were happy to send existing clients to marvel at. Or if you were really uncomfortable, you may have received a website which resembled the work of a fifth grade student.
If you came out ahead in the first group, you need to be completed. You took a risk, and it paid off. If you are the second group, we are sorry your website was not more like the work of a sixth grader. At least you would be a little less ashamed.
Here is the hard to swallow truth. Yes, website designers are a dime-a-dozen. But do not let price, alone, be the determining factor of your company's online presence. Nine times out of ten, you will be sorely disappointed.
As a website designer and owner of a website design company, we hear all the horror stories from new clients that got scammed, swindled, or ripped off completely from the guy or girl who "could make websites." With every heart wrenching and costly sob story, we wish we could have somehow intervened or lead the previously cheated client onto a better path.
When a company is looking to have a website, they commonly avoid going with an actual website design company. They want a freelancer that can paint a big picture, and do it for cheap. This decision is erroneously made on the announcement that they will save money.
Truth be told, a website design company will probably offer an equally aggressive price quote. Plus you get the added benefit of a portfolio, case studies, referrals, and the guarantee that someone will answer the phone if / when you need assistance. The last part of that list is worth its weight in gold.
Although there are some amazing freelancers, please exercise caution and common sense when contracting with one. Do not be afraid to ask for referrals, references, and live examples. When it comes to that dirty agreement "SEO", do not take the web designers word on it. Ask for specific examples of high ranking sites. By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to find a reputable freelancer. But do not rule out an actual website design company either. You just may be surprised at what you discover.