Hi, Loves! Today I started a new series for you my readers. Ask An Expert series is designed to go in-depth on topics that entrepreneurs have series questions about. Ask An Expert tag teams with our How To Series and will give you a better understanding of those topics. The first expert in our new series is Kim of Her Name is Kim Website/Graphic Design. I asked Kim over 20 questions that any business owner or blogger might ask when going through the process of hiring a designer. If you have any questions for her, please leave them in the comments.
Meet The Expert: Kimberly Marie is the Principal Designer & CEO of HNIK Graphic Design Boutique. With over a decade of experience, she is dedicated to assisting female entrepreneurs and bloggers in the creative industries, while establishing brands through creative graphic design and web design.
How does one find a website designer? You can use Google, Craigslist or even Facebook, but referrals are the best way to find one. Ask friends if they know someone. I have heard horror stories from past clients about flakey or incompetent designers, so your best bet is to get someone that comes highly recommended. If you can’t get a referral, check out their testimonials or references and see what their past clients have said about them. Also make sure to check their portfolio to make sure you like their design style. If you’re into whimsical designs, then don’t go after someone who has a corporate aesthetic.
Best Platform for regular site? I would say WordPress. It gives you the client the ability to update your own site quickly and easily for small tasks and keep costs low for you the client, so you’re not spending extra $ asking your designer to add a picture to a page. Most designers like myself, can design a website without using WordPress, but it is not as cost effective.
Best Platform for blogging? If you’re looking to blog for business or monetize your blog, then the self hosted version of WordPress, but if you’re new to blogging and want to get a feel for it, I would recommend Blogger. It’s super easy to customize and it’s free.
Best Platform for ecommerce? If you have a very small site with say 1-10 items, I would say use WordPress with an E-Commerce plugin like WooCommerce. The back-end is really easy to understand, but you might need a designer to assist you to install and set it up. If you’re looking to have a large site, I would recommend 3dcart.com or BigCommerce.com
What should a person’s budget be for their custom design project? This is a really hard question because each project is different. There are different variables that go into giving a quote for a design service. It depends on if you’re a blogger, if you’re a large corporation, a non-profit or a small business. The quotes would come back differently for all of them even if they all requested a logo design. Why? Well a blogger’s logo design might take a few weeks where as when you’re working with a large corporation, the project could take months since there is a large amount of branding involved. You’re essentially paying for time and expertise, time for consults, revisions, email correspondence, invoicing etc. I will just say be reasonable with your budget and you always get what you pay for.
If you’re trying to run a professional business, ensure that you are getting quality design. Also most designers will offer you a discount if you use them again for another project, so maybe it’s not in your budget for a logo this month, but if you use the same designer, they might offer you a special. Also, most designers are negotiable with their rates. All you have to do is ask, but be reasonable and do not low ball. I’ll just say that a website design from a professional designer does not cost $200 and a logo for a corporation does not cost $150. You can definitely find people that will design for low rates, but a lot of times, you get what you pay for.
Should I go with a designer who has a flat rate or charges by the hour? This depends on the service. If you’re a really particular person and know you’re very indecisive in regards to a design or anything for that matter, you’ll spend a lot more money if you go by the hour. I do a combination of both. I charge a flat rate for most services; however I limit the number of concepts and revisions. If a client goes over the contracted revisions, then my hourly rate kicks in. A flat rate works best in most cases. You know what you’re paying, and there isn’t any room for surprises. I mainly use an hourly rate when it comes to website maintenance or website change requests.
Thank you Kim for answering questions about the basics of hiring a website designer. Next week, she will answer questions about the legalities of freelancing. Once again, if you have any questions for Kim, please leave them in the comments below and I will add them to the series.