Choosing Your Web Designer

Does the web designer you hire have to be local talent? Absolutely not! The most important things in hiring a web designer is to find someone that’s good at their job, clicks with your personality and is good for your web site.

Website designers deal with many potential clients throughout their work week. A responsible, experienced designer cares more about the client’s web site and their business than they do about getting the job. It’s important that the working relationship be a good fit for both parties. Our wish is that the most qualified designer having the best match with the client gets the job, period. Word of mouth advertising is our best asset or can be our worst enemy. If the working relationship is not a good fit, things will not go well and everyone pays a price.

Professional web designers care about the web design profession as a whole. Promoting good website design and development helps our industry to grow and individual designers secure a good reputation. We prefer that you hire a qualified, reputable website designer whether it’s us or someone else.

It shouldn’t be about competition

Professional web designers realize that there’s enough work for all of us, we don’t have to compete. If we are good at what we do, we know that people will find us. We don’t have to go around telling people how good we are, we don’t have to sell you nor do we have to push you to hire us. A good designer has happy clients who’s generous word of mouth advertising will do that for them.

We recognize our limitations and will not take a job we don’t feel qualified to do. We’ll be up front with you and will turn down a job if we feel it exceeds our limitations or that our participation may be a detriment to the client or the client’s business.

A smart designer will turn down a job if we get the feeling the Client-Designer relationship is not a good fit. Keeping our sanity is high on the priority list. Finding a web designer is not like falling in love. There isn’t that one special web designer that you ask “where have you been all my life?” There are plenty of us out there that will fit your needs just fine.

When your site does well, your business does well. If you’re happy with your designer, your recommendations to others helps us build a good reputation which in turn helps us grow. It also fuels us to do the best job we can for you and those you’ve recommended us to! That in turn, makes you look good to those you have given our name to. One hand washes the other and everyone wins! It really boosts our egos, our confidence and our productivity levels when a new client comes on board having been recommended by another satisfied customer. These people are often the very best clients because they come to us already knowing they will get a job well done for the money they’re spending.

Responsible Web Site Development

There are many talented locals, beginners or not, who really do care, who are striving to make a good mark in the business world and they’re are going about it the right way. Just like you, we all had to start somewhere. Up and coming responsible web designers want to learn, they want to grow and be reputable. They have done some homework, are open to change, to learning, to wanting to do their very best for every single one of their clients which includes getting help when they need it. Eventually, they’ll have a long list of happy clients themselves. I can say this because that’s where I started out. A good web designer really can help your site and your business to grow and they can do this from anywhere, they don’t have to be located within a radius of x miles. We do the same good job for you no matter where you’re located. A client is a client, and that doesn’t change with location.

On the other hand, there are also irresponsible, inexperienced, unprofessional designers who aren’t keeping up with today’s web design and coding standards, who maybe designing web sites because they heard somewhere that there’s money in it. (If that were the case, web designers wouldn’t have to work as hard as we do for our paychecks.) They will jump into jobs without any thought of the consequences to others. This can literally destroy any progress our profession has made, can stop your web site in its tracks from being found on the Internet which can delay or prevent your business from growing. These are the designers who wind up giving all web designers a bad name and who’s carelessness can cost you plenty. Like anything else, inexperience can work to your benefit or it can do serious damage. The moral? Choose your designer wisely!

Local Isn’t Always the Best Choice

You’ll most likely find any number of web designers within the geographical boundaries you set. Ahhh, but are all these local designers good at what they do simply because they’re local? Nope! Every web designer is local to someone and every location has local web designers. This is why you must ask yourself and be painfully honest when you answer yourself, why is hiring a local designer on your priority list?

Are you hiring local just because you like that “close-knit-hands-on-warm-fuzzy feeling?” Is it that you feel you’d like to drop in to visit your designer? Maybe you like that “oh my designer is just down the road” idea. If your answer is “yes” to any of these, you’re making what could be a very costly mistake. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to work with your web designer even if you’re in New York and they’re in California or somewhere else around the world. Thanks to the Internet, we all live in a very small world! Has the thought occurred to you that while you’re having coffee and gabbing with your designer, he or she is not getting any work done for you or any of their clients! This is business, folks! When we’re chatting just to chat, we’re not making money to pay our bills and we’re not doing all we can to help your web site business.

What about courtesy? Newsflash! While many of us may work from offices in our home, we are not always ready for drop-in visits. You may as well know, some of us do our best work in our jammies! Some of us are not set up to have clients come to our home offices. We have an office in our home, we run a business from our home, but that doesn’t mean our home office is a public office for conducting business with clients.

Double Standards

You want to sell your products or services to anyone, anywhere, right? Why then is it okay for you to want to reach out to the world, but you draw the line at hiring a web designer who isn’t located just across town? If you can produce for anyone, anywhere, isn’t only fair that you believe others can as well?

To give one of your most important assets, your web site, to someone who’s local for any reason other than you’ve done your homework and decided they are the best qualified person for the job is not a good business decision. Hiring local for any job just to have the convenience of locale, can be business-suicide for you.

One Sure Way to Destroy Your Online Business

I know personally of organizations that hold onto their web designers of many years just because they’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings! This attitude is particularly prevalent in the small town atmosphere. These web designers are generally the original site developers and some simply are not following through in their job. They’re are still coding web sites the same way they coded them twenty years ago. They don’t mean any harm, they’re not being intentionally neglectful, they just don’t realize they need keep up with the times.

Some designers have to deal with clients that are not willing to let them update their sites, which is absolutely no fault of the designer. Part of owning a web site is to keep it current, not only with content but keeping current with the standards.

The resulting effect is that the organization’s web sites may be so outdated in some browsers that visitors cannot even view the site. I have very recently actually seen this happen. Depreciated old coding methods don’t work in the newer browsers. The organizations are literally killing off their own business because they don’t want to hurt feelings or they don’t want to spend the money to keep their sites up to date. Do you want people to hit your web site and find nothing but a blank page? Anyone with a lick of common sense knows this is just not acceptable.

That’s just one example of what can happen if you insist on hiring or keeping local talent instead of expanding your options. Word of mouth, especially in small towns, gets the local web designers business just because they’re local but it does not guarantee you’ll be hiring someone who is capable of doing quality work. By insisting on hiring local, you’re by default, excluding what could be the best designer qualified for the job just because the best designer works outside your boundaries.

Can this happen if you don’t hire locally? Sure it can! That’s why you must check references, review the web sites your designer choices have done and talk to their clients. A good web designer is not afraid to provide references and links to their work.

It’s All About Your Business

There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a local web designer if the designer is qualified to do the job.”If the designer is qualified to do the job” being the key words. If you’ve decided that being local is a necessary qualification to be awarded the job and you really do want to limit your hiring to local designers, then your requests for estimates should be sent only to those who are within the geographical boundaries you have set. There is no point in requesting an estimate from a thousand miles away if you literally have no intention of hiring that person. We call this “web designer shopping.” Tire kickers are one of the most time consuming, unproductive and unfair practices we deal with. If you want a local designer for any other reason than achieving good results, you’re looking for trouble.

It’s imperative for you to seriously consider exactly why hiring local is so important. Be honest with yourself! After all, this is for you and your business and it’s of the utmost importance! Who looks out for your business better than you do? You need to ask yourself if your reasoning in hiring local is important enough that you’re willing to limit your web site and business potential just because you want someone close by that you can have face-to-face communication with.

Don’t get me wrong … it’s a wonderful thing to support your local area retailers and service providers! People with good business sense realize that like it or not, sometimes you have to have a more open mind. Isn’t developing a web site more importantly about doing what’s good for your online presence? If your local designer has what it takes, by all means, hire them! If they don’t have the experience and knowledge to do the job right, are you not then hiring a detriment to your own business?

From the Web Designer’s Point of View

I can’t tell you how many times a designer hears a potential client tell us “we’re going to hire someone local.” The numbers are staggering. This most often is sprung on us “not local enough” designers after we have spent many hours evaluating and researching your site needs, your Wish List and asking questions so that we can prepare an estimate or proposal without having been told that being local is a requirement to secure the job. On the other hand you have spent quite a bit of time filling out website planners, answering questions and providing information. Why would you want to waste your own time when you already know that out-of-area submissions aren’t going to be a serious part of your decision making process?

When we learn that you’re really only interested in hiring local talent, honestly speaking, the first (and not-so-nice) thought that comes to mind is “Then why did you waste my time by asking for an estimate from a non-local designer?” Think of the time and effort you could have saved us both by requesting estimates only from the area you wish to hire in.

Hiring a local designer is most often a consideration for people who want a “hands-on experience.” The first thought that comes to the minds of experienced designers is “Why?” We know this means someone wants to be watching over our shoulder and telling us how to do our job. We know it may mean drop-in visits and endless phone conversations that take on a personality all their own having nothing to do with your site work. Think about it. Do you do your best work with someone looking over your shoulder? Do you appreciate someone telling you how to do your job? Would you be comfortable if your web designer came to your office and shadowed you? Where is the trust?

You decided to hire a professional for a reason. Hopefully, that reason is for nothing else but that you want to do something good for your business. Do you not trust your decision? Perhaps you’ve chosen the wrong designer? A professional web designer that’s a good fit with you does not need a babysitter. They need you to know that you’re confident in your decision. If you truly feel that you must babysit your designer, what this really means is that you feel you’re the only one who’s qualified to produce satisfactory results and you should then develop your web site yourself. You will not be happy with results developed by someone else and you’ll feel like you have wasted your time and money.

There is absolutely no good logical, common sense reason to make being local a requirement to develop a web site. Both small and large companies are realizing more every day that they can hire very talented people who can effectively work remotely and achieve excellent results! If your local designer has been in business for any length of time, you can bet they have plenty of clients well outside their own local area.