In the past few weeks, I’ve been flooded with requests for design help from bloggers who have hired “web designers” who had no idea what they were doing. Apparently there are several bloggers who have decided to offer design services, even though they don’t have the necessary skills or even any experience with web design. (Disclaimer: There are some bloggers who do know what they’re doing, and this isn’t directed toward them.)
This is not an advertisement for my services – if anyone wants to hire me, that’s great. If not, that’s fine, too. I just hate to hear stories of people who have wasted time and money on services that the so-called “designer” wasn’t able to deliver.
Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone without taking a few minutes to make sure they’re legit. If you don’t do some research ahead of time, you could end up with a broken blog or (even worse) a really ugly one.
Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Website Designer
1. Can I see examples of your work? A real designer will have an online portfolio of past projects s/he has completed. You should be able to visit the actual websites to see the designs live – not just a screenshot.
2. Do you create the logos or headers yourself? One of the complaints I’ve heard a lot lately is that these pseudo designers are outsourcing logo design to someone else, meaning if you want changes, they are serving as a middleman between you and the person who is actually creating the logo. Real designers know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, and they don’t depend on someone else to make logos or headers for them.
3. Where do you get your themes? You can get a great design with a premade theme or template, as long as the designer is competent enough to customize it to your needs. But if he or she is using the same tired free theme that every other site uses, this could be a red flag. Take time to Google “wordpress theme [theme name]” and make sure you’re getting a premium theme that reflects the price you’re paying.
4. How does payment work, and what is your refund policy? Beware of any designer who asks for full payment upfront. A 50% deposit is normal, but you should not be asked to provide full payment before the work is completed to your satisfaction. You should also check with a few blogger friends to make sure you’re not paying an exorbitant price for your design.
5. Who owns my design once it’s completed? Beware of designers who say they own the “copyright” to your logo, header, or other design elements. Once you pay for the design, it should be yours to alter or use as you see fit. You should also receive the original files (.psd or .ai files, usually) and not just a .jpg or .png of your images. That way if you want to work with another designer in the future, you don’t have to track down the files.
Asking these questions before you spend money on a website design can help prevent disaster and help you get the blog you’ve always wanted. Always check the credentials and experience of the people you trust with your website.
Have you encountered any design disasters lately? Ever hire someone who was completely clueless? What other questions should someone ask before choosing a designer?