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Choosing a Web Designer

Aug 26, 2007
If you are new to ecommerce, and you need a website for your internet business, you probably have no idea how to go about hiring a web designer or a programmer. Where do you start? How do you find a web designer? Should you hire someone who works for a design firm, or should you pay a freelancer who works alone?

If you need someone to develop a simple website for you, then a freelancer will charge a lot less than a professional, but a freelancer might not do a good job. Make sure you request to see samples of web designs they have already done. I find it best to hire a professional, because even though a professional will charge more per hour, they can usually do much better work and get the job done more quickly.

What are the differences between a freelancer, a sole proprietor, someone who owns a small, reputable web design business with a few employees, and a designer who is part of a huge company that employs up to one hundred web designers? (there are design firms that employ hundreds of web designers under a single company umbrella and also provide domain name registration and web hosting services all in one package).

A freelancer is usually someone for whom web design is a hobby. This sort of a person has probably taken a few courses in simple web design at a local institute or college, or might be self-taught, and dabbles in web design as a part-time job or a way to earn extra cash. Some of these freelancers might be quite talented, but their designs are not as professional. When the project is complete, the freelancer probably will not provide you the design you really wanted, and will refuse to refund your money.

A web designer who is part of a larger company that employs one hundred or more designers is just as bad as a freelancer. These sorts of web designers do not have much design skill, and are often given many different jobs to do at once. As a result, they do shoddy work and will throw your design together haphazardly. You will be very disappointed with the result.

The best web designers to hire are professionals who do web design as a career, and do only several projects at a time. You should hire either a sole proprietor who has a large portfolio of work to show you, or a small firm of web designers who work together and have extensive web design experience. Professionals charge more than anyone else, but they have more experience.

The only time you should use a freelancer is if you can meet with that individual in person, explain exactly what you want, and if the project itself is very simple and the design work necessary for the job is not too extravagant. Do not make the mistake of hiring a freelancer over the internet that lives too far to visit and only accepts payments via PayPal or through some other electronic means. Make sure your freelancer is someone who resides close by so that you can monitor their progress and visit them if you are not satisfied with their work.

Also, it is extremely important to hire a designer who has a contract that you can sign that stipulates certain terms and conditions. You should be able to pay the designer 25% - 50% of the total quoted price up front, with the balance due upon completion.
Follow all of these recommendations and be careful when hiring a web designer or programmer. Always work with a professional if your project requires a certain level of expertise and skill, and make sure they show you some samples of work they have produced in the past. Make sure their previous work is up to your standards.
About the Author
Jim Pretin is the owner of http://www.forms4free.com, a service that helps programmers make free HTML forms.
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