So you’ve established your business. You’ve got official business cards and company brochures, and you have a group of loyal customers. But now, you’re looking to grow. So, you look to the online world. Your website is your digital storefront. First impressions are formed from the moment visitors click into your page. You decide that the development of such a powerful tool should be left to a professional. Even after you’ve chosen to leave your website in the hands of an expert, it can be a challenge to find someone you trust. Make sure you do the five following things when you shop for a web designer.

Ask for recommendations

One of the best ways to find a good web designer is to ask someone you trust to recommend one. There are an abundance of good web designers out there that can put together a decent website, but if you’d rather have a coffee with your designer and tell them exactly what you’d want, your personal network may be a great place to start.

If you are unable to find someone in your locality or you aren’t opposed to hiring someone online, then go ahead and search online for someone who may be able to bring your dream website to life. Search engines come in handy here – all you have to do is search for what you need, and you are sure to find many people who would be happy to design your website for you.

If another company in the industry has got a website that you like, you could even go ahead and contact their web designer.

Set goals for your website

Prior to even contacting any prospective web designers, you should know what the purpose of your website is. Are you selling merchandise, or are you trying to provide information?

Knowing these things beforehand will help you get a better idea of what kind of website you really need and what you need to put on it. It will also help your web designer figure out how to design your site. If you don’t know where to start, consider one of your close competitors and look at what they are doing on their website.

Put together a vision board

Vision boards aren’t just for people who haven’t figured out their lives yet. They are incredibly useful tools for business owners to focus and really set goals for what they want to do for their company and its identity.

If you are a hands-on type of person, you could make a physical board to set by your work desk. If a virtual board suits you just fine, there are lots of resources online. Go ahead and throw in the color scheme that you want to use for your branding, the fonts you love, different taglines, and even potential graphics for marketing.

List out what you want on your website

If you’ve already got a website, you’re probably looking for an upgrade. If you have yet to establish your online presence, you will need someone to bring your vision to life. These are two completely different things.

If you don’t have a website yet, write out a list of the things that you think are important on your site. You may want to specify the pages, headers, buttons, and other visual aspects of a website that you want to incorporate.

Additionally, make sure to add any other social media channels or even e-commerce platforms that you will need your website to link to. This will make it easier for your designer to estimate how much it will cost and how long it will take for them to bring your website to life.

Establish a budget

Most of the time, websites cost more than you think it will. Don’t let this keep you from developing your online presence, however. Simply be prepared. Do your homework and get a better idea of how much funds you will need to set aside for this purpose before you get a quote from a prospective designer.

A great way to get a better idea of your budget is to ask other local business owners how much they paid for theirs. You could even contact the business of that website you admire, let them know their website is fantastic, and ask if they would put you in contact with their designer. People like compliments, and most of the time, they will be happy to help you out.

At Digital Bravado, we specialise in website design for small businesses – get in touch today to see how we can help.