The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Choose a Web Designer for Your Nonprofit Website

You have less than eight seconds to create an impression on your visitor when visiting your website. Be very selective when it comes time to choose the web firm for your website design. Here are ten guidelines and pointers to help you choose the right designers:

1. Do they have a portfolio?
Make sure they have some experience under their belts and unless you want to be a designer’s test subject, make sure they have some experience behind them.

2. Can they cater to any type of business?
Look through the portfolio for variety. Do their client’s websites all look similar in format and structure? Make sure you are paying for a custom web design service, not a cheap template.

3. How is their response time?
This is vital to the success of your website. Take note of their choice of response (e-mail, phone, fax, instant messenger, chat) and how quickly they can respond to your inquiries. If you prefer to do business over the phone and the designer doesn’t, then it’s probably best to move on to your next choice.

4. Do they have a contract?
If it’s not written – it’s not true. Everything should always be put down in writing. Before you sign anything, make sure you read the entire contract, including all the fine print. If you have any questions on anything: ASK! Don’t sign a contract unless you understand everything in it. If the company’s representative makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable with your “bothersome” questions, then end discussions and find another designer.

5. How reasonable are their prices?
Make sure you get what you pay for and if you are on a budget, that the designer you choose won’t exceed it. But it is also important to insure you put plan for extras and have a plan to continually invest into the website’s construction. Your website is going to the link between you and your customers, so make sure it is the best it can be. Nowadays, you can find websites for $500, or “package deals” that will “save” you money. You’ll soon find that these kinds of deals are like going to McDonald’s when you should be going to the grocery’s healthy foods section.

If you can’t afford for everything you feel your website should have then settle for a smaller website and create it in stages. Don’t settle for a cheaper designer. You get what you pay for.

6. Can they help you market your website?
Online marketing is key to your website’s success It is best to find a designer that knows how to promote the sites they work on whether it be through search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, viral marketing or another method. Ask your design firm what they feel is best for your company. You should feel comfortable in their explanation and reasoning, otherwise ask some other firms what they’d recommend.

7. Are their clients satisfied?
Can you find client testimonials on the site? Don’t hesitate to contact their clients to ask for opinions and get their feedback on how their service with that company went. It’s your money after all. It’s better to spend 15 minutes on the phone than months of hassle and pain with the wrong developer.

8. Are they able to meet all your needs?
Do you want an e-commerce store, Flash elements or a custom web application? Can they do everything you want? The last thing you want is different companies meddling with your website’s design. Choose a firm that has the full corporate solution for your needs – whether it’s Flash intros or database-driven websites.

9. Can they deliver on time?
Are they willing to meet reasonable deadlines? If you need your site done by a certain date, can the designer you choose get it done by then? Be sure to ask about delivery times when you’re on Step #7.

10. Do they take a personal and friendly approach?
Is the designer willing to help and suggest his/her own ideas, or do they robotically go along hoping they got everything you want? It’s always best to find a designer that has some ideas of their own, with fresh ideas and that knows their limits and won’t insist something be done a certain way if that’s not what you want.


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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

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