Today I had a rather unusual experience. I had received a call from a couple that wanted to meet with me regarding a price quote for a web site for a great new business idea … an idea so important and ground-breaking that I would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement at the start of the meeting. OK.
Today we met.
After the niceties, the first order of business was the non-disclosure agreement. Now, I think of myself as a person with integrity and knew they had nothing to worry about… but they didn’t know this. So, I happily signed it. They didn’t seem to feel better though.
Even after I returned their contract, and they gave me a blank unfilled-out, unsigned, undated copy of the contract …hmmm…they remained closed-mouthed and totally mum regarding what this new site was to be for.
I tried to explain to them that I couldn’t really convey what I could do to help them since they still wouldn’t disclose anything about their project. Did they need a database? What would inspire the design? Did they have a copywriter? Was their new concept complicated or easy to explain? Who was to be the reader of the site? What functions did the web site need to do? What did they need in terms of graphics? Lots of questions, but alas, no answers.
All was vague. So vague that I doubt Sherlock Holmes himself could figure out what the heck they were talking about. It was becoming very obvious that a meeting of the minds was not going to happen.
Finally, the woman laid her cards on the table…well sort of. She needed to know then…right then…what I charged for a five-page website. There could be no further information given. Except that if it was over $500 the cost was far too high. It seems that they had already had several great offers, the current leader being south of $460.
Personally, if I had an incredible idea for a web site, I would not be searching for the lowest bidder. I would be much more concerned with other things such as:
- Did the designer understand my vision for the site;
- would the designer contribute to my vision;
- could the designer contribute to my ability to reach my potential audience;
- what marketing expertise did my designer have to offer;
- what design and technical expertise did my designer have to offer;
- could my designer help with copywriting?
…but then again that’s me…and hopefully you…if you are considering hiring a web designer.
Here are some additional things you should think about when considering hiring a web designer. Custom web designers will most likely be more expensive than your basic template web design company. But, they should have a lot more to offer you.
- Your custom web designer should be available to answer your calls and talk to you on an as needed basis. You should not experience long phone waits on hold and/or unreturned calls.
- Web site updates will be done on your schedule, on an as-needed basis. There is no need to fit into a rigid company schedule for simple updates.
- A custom built site can provide flexibility in content. Content does not need to be presented in simple paragraphs that fit into basic layout and formatting.
- Content can be formatted so that it is easily scanned by the potential customer. This is very important for the busy web reader.
- Designs can be whatever you want them to be. They are only limited by the imagination of you and your web designer. They are not restricted to putting copy in Areas A, B and/or C and putting pictures in areas D, E and/or F.
- Web sites can be written and truly formatted to help with SEO. Meta tags are well thought out, and do exist as part of your site.
- Web sites can be formatted specifically to help promote the understanding of new or complicated concepts.
- Page layouts can be easily changed in the future.
- The web site can evolve and grow with you and your company. Your business growth and expansion will dictate the future design of the web site.
- The site will not look like every other site. It will not get lost in the internet crowd. It will clearly represent you, your company, and your vision.
Gee. I think I feel much better now.