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In these economically difficult times it might seem odd that I’d write a blog offering advice on how you can get someone to take your hard–earned cash off you; surely they should be biting your hand off. I gets lots of enquiries for web design projects and of course not all of them turn into work. Sometimes it’s because they find someone else they want to work with—and that’s to be expected. But sometimes even though the job is probably there if I wanted it, I turn it down. A website one of the most important aspects to any business these days—especially in a recession—so the advice herein is to give you the best chance of employing the web designer that’s best for you. So from my experience here’s how to get a web designer to work with you.

Note: Most of my enquiries come via email but quite a few come by telephone. I’m writing this as though you’re filling out a form online or composing an email to ask a web designer for a quote but the points are equally as valid if you’re talking to a web designer on the phone.

Use a personal touch

It’s amazing how far the personal touch goes. What’s even more amazing is despite the fact my name is clearly visible on every single page on my website I still get lots of ‘Dear/Sir Madam’ or ‘Hi’ emails. Even worse, they’ve CC’d all the other companies they’re planning on getting a price from because they couldn’t be bothered to email each one individually. That makes a somewhat bad first impression and also shows that haven’t really looked at your website. Which bring me onto the next point…

Read about the designer/company first

Don’t just fire off quotes indiscriminately; web designers and agencies vary greatly in size and skill sets. Some target specific industries and some favour projects of a certain size. Sending a generic quote to every company you can possibly find through Google just ends up wasting your time and theirs. A web project is seldom something you want to rush into so take the time to read about different companies, look through their portfolio and get a feel for their design approach and their clients.

Stand out from the crowd by doing your research. I specifically say on my contact page that I don’t want to hear from recruitment agencies, work placement students and Indian SEO companies yet not a week goes by that I don’t get at least three or four emails of this nature.

Don’t be too vague

Believe it or not, I’ve had some web design briefs that have been under ten words. Most aren’t that terse but more often than not they don’t give you nearly enough information to give a price out. That’s fine because some clients know they want a website but don’t really know how to express their requirements in terminology that a web person would understand. In such cases arrange to chat with the designer over the phone; don’t pressure them for a price when you haven’t given them sufficient information.

Respect their knowledge and experience

A good way to get the most out of a web designer is to let them take the lead. It can be a little insulting sometimes when someone who has probably never had anything to do with a website before starts telling you that their friend from the pub knows of a better cheaper way to do it than the way you suggested. I once quoted to build quite a complicated management system. I spent a lot of time tweaking it and making it the best possible value only to be told, ‘if it costs that much you must be doing it wrong.’

Don’t try to get them to clean up another designer’s mess

If you’d paid for a cheap website or had the misfortune to get stung by a web design cowboy cut your losses. Trying to salvage a broken website can be more expensive that starting again from scratch. If you’re in this situation and need to change your web designer ask the designer to take a look; if they say you have to start again, start again.

Don’t complain about your budget (or lack of it)

Probably the most irksome thing to be told by a prospective client is they don’t have much money to spend on their project. The first thought that crosses designers’ minds in these instances is usually, ‘so why are you approaching me to get a website built then?’ Most of us would probably also like to point out at this point, ‘I’m not a charity’ but usually tact won’t allow this.

While I appreciate sometimes you don’t have as much money to spend as you like and I do work hard to make the best of a budget it’s important to remember when dealing with a web designer, a limited budget is your problem, not theirs. A decent web designer would not do a cheap website anyway as they know it would damage your business.

In short, it always pays to be clear, honest, friendly and up front. If you’d like to work with me on a project call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a web designer and developer. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.