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Freelance Web Designer vs Web Design Company

By: Rick Vidallon at Visionefx

Submitted on Mon, Nov 20th, 2006 12:00 am

A fair amount of our clients find Visionefx after wasting a few thousand dollars or a few months (whichever comes first) with a web designer that has left them angry and frustrated.

Many of these clients initially hired web designers offering terrific prices that were irresistible. These web designers are found on such web sites as scriptlance.com, elance.com, freelancedesigners.com, contractedwork.com, getafreelancer.com, allfreelancework.com and hundreds more. They offer a meeting place where businesses post projects and freelancers bid on them. It's a nice way to save a buck, but remember, you get what you pay for.

Also stay away from web site template systems. Avoid that fish-hook. Again, you get what you pay for.

Disappointed
One of our clients thoroughly reviewed a freelancer's work and decided to hire him for the company's web site redesign. According to the client, no matter how hard the freelancer tried, he just couldnt capture the creative vision the company wanted projected. The freelancer was also slow to respond to design revisions, further frustrating and disappointing the client.

Freelance = Part-time
Dont forget that freelance is another word for part-timer. This is usually a college student or a designer who already has a full-time job. If the freelancer fails to deliver on promised expectations then its no skin off his or her back and you're left holding the bag.

When choosing a web designer to develop your web site, which will be your storefront to the world, ask yourself a few questions.

- Does a part-timer have the same breadth of experience as a full-time web designer who works on a multitude of different websites from month to month?

- Does a part-timer have the time to stay on top of the latest news and changes regarding search engines and search engine optimization? (This helps to determine your ranking and website listings in search engines.)

- Does the freelancer have the need to protect his or her business reputation with the same vigilance shown by businesses?

- Does a part-timer have the resources to hire additional designers or programmers for your project?

- Will the freelancer be around next year to help you with questions or concerns regarding your web site?

Making the Smart Choice
You may pay a little more to have a web design company develop your web site, but in the end a professional company will deliver on what they promise, most often exceeding your expectations.

Every client that has come to us has had similar experiences. Most of them did not like the design, or the front-end of the database looked elementary. Professional design permeates all aspects of a web project -- web site pages, logo, layout, text positioning, database display and administrative display.

Making the Final Decision
Now that you've been educated about web designers, jump on Google and check out web design companies in your state. Make a bulleted laundry list of what you're looking for. Include links to web sites that you like. For example, here's a simple bulleted list you might submit for an RFP (Request for Proposal):

Looking for a web site for my widget business

I would like to have the following pages and functions:

Pages to include About Us, Testimonials, Contact Us, Map, Products, Refer a Friend.

* For products page I would like to have an image gallery with pop-ups
* Include a cost option for Pay Pal e-commerce
* Include a cost option for professional e-commerce like LL. Bean or similar store.
* Cost for logo design (or is this included)
* Links I like are www.widgets-r-us.com and www.bigwidgets.net

Check Company References
Most companies include a list of references in their RFPs. We include up to 15 in our current RFPs. You might even try contacting business owners by looking at the information sections of web sites that the web site design company has posted in their portfolio. Listen to what people have to say about the company. When you've collected 2 or 3 RFPs, you're ready to commit to a decision.

Most likely your decision will be based on your phone conversations and the responsiveness of the design companies you're considering.

About the Author

Rick Vidallon
Visionefx
Rick Vidallon is President of Visionefx, a Web design company based in Virginia Beach, Va. They provide services to national companies as well as small to medium businesses throughout the United States. Rick can be reached at (757) 619-6456 or rick@visionefx.net.

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