Whether your business is well-established or a newly formed startup, a carefully crafted website is key to your growth. Many times the first interaction a potential customer has with your business is online, so making a good first impression is key. The design of your site must align with your overall brand image and sales goals.

If you don’t have the time, interest or capability to design a website, hire a professional – or at least someone with enough knowledge or experience to assemble a simple but professional site that meets your needs.

If your budget allows, hire an experienced and proven website-design firm. Assess whether a team can meet your expectations and goals while staying within your budget.

Before you hire any Web designer or team, there are some questions you need to take into consideration:

  • Does the designer or firm have references? If so, call them. Ask about your candidate’s record of meeting or missing deadlines, ability to collaborate with clients and their work ethic.
  • Do they have examples of their designs available on the Web? Carefully review these sites — not just for quality and range, but for styles that agree with your own.
  • What payment options do they offer? Beware any that require full payment up front. By the time you discover that they’re not as good as they seemed, it may be too late to cut your losses.

More questions to consider: What are their verbal and written communications skills? Can you understand them when you discuss your website needs? Will you need ongoing support? What is the marketing strategy for the website?

  • How much should I pay for a website? There is a wide range of service providers; more experienced and “in-demand” providers may charge premium prices, while beginners may work very cheap because they lack experience. Different skill sets demand different pay scales. If you choose the lowest price possible, you will probably not get a quality website. Use the same due diligence you would in hiring any member of your business team. If you wouldn’t hire them for a staff job, don’t hire them on contract.

Pay scales for Web designers, by experience level and firm size:

  • Student: $500-$1,000
  • Freelancer: $2,500-$5,000
  • Medium-sized firm: $7,000-$20,000 (best option for most companies)
  • Large firm: $25,000-$100,000

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