Not all web designers and developers are equal. If you’re looking for someone to build or re-build your law firm website, keep these tips in mind to have the best experience and get the most out of your investment.
Find Someone Who Uses A Platform You Like
These days, CMSs (content management systems) are extremely popular tools for web developers. As you interview different companies and individuals, make sure they are familiar with or willing to use a platform you like. For example WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are CMSs commonly used. If you’re planning on doing your own updates or have your heart set on certain functionality, the type of CMS used to build the site will affect your plans.
Lawyers should also ask if the design company plans on using a CMS at all. If you want to make content changes on your own, a custom solution that does not have an admin panel for making simple changes will lock you out of that process unless you are also a programmer.
Ask for References and Follow Up
It’s always wise to ask a developer for at least 2-3 names of other companies or individuals they’ve done work for in the recent past. Call these people and ask about their experience. Some good general questions to start with might be:
• Was the web design company/freelancer able to meet deadlines on a consistent basis?
• Did they deliver on the things that they promised?
• Did they work well with your staff or other in-house personnel?
• Were they able to set realistic expectations? (i.e. were they able to tell you what is possible and what isn’t and not just be a “yes man”.)
As you’re looking for a web designer for your law firm, think of down the road when you’ll need changes or updates to your site. Even experienced web designers have trouble digging through someone else’s work trying to figure out how to fix something so having the same developer works well and can reduce costs.
It’s fine to go with freelancers or a larger company but the key thing to figure out is if they will be around in a year or two when you need more work done. It can be a pain finding someone new all the time so look for someone that is reliable and stable. As long as someone has been in business (either for themselves as a sole proprietor or a larger firm) for at least a few years, it’s probably safe to assume they will be around for a while. You can always ask them too.
Same Work Doesn’t Mean Same Cost
Web design is one of those things where you won’t find similar pricing for identical services across companies. In general, freelancers are going to charge less than larger firms for the same work. For the most part, this is because larger firms have more costs associated behind the scenes and they may also be working with a different clientele that is more comfortable with higher pricing.
Look for a web designer or design company that works with clients similar to you in terms of size and scope of work. For example you don’t want to get a quote from a web design company that routinely does work for fortune 500 company websites.
How did you choose your web designer? Did you go with a freelancer or a firm? Join in the conversation by commenting below.