How to Choose a Web Designer
We spend a lot of time on here talking about what to do once your site is designed. We talk about building a social media presence, writing optimized copy, link building, and everything else that goes into search engine marketing. However, I noticed we rarely discuss web design.
Whether you’re just starting to build an online presence or you want to give your website a facelift, you need to hire a competent web designer to head up your project. Unfortunately, the internet is overflowing with web designers, making the decision as to who to hire a difficult one. At first glance, you might assume all web designers are basically the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
So, how can you make sure you’re hiring the right web designer for your needs? Here are some tips to get you started.
• Make sure they understand your brand—When someone is designing a website for your company, they need to understand your industry and your brand. They need to know who your target audience is and what type of design they’ll respond to. They need to also understand how your website design will fit into the theme of your other marketing collateral (unity is key to brand building). The more questions your website designer asks about your company, the better. This shows they’re truly interested in creating a design that captures your brand’s identity.
• Take a look at their previous work—What better way to determine if you like a designer’s style than to look at their actual work? The best web designers will be able to provide you with an online portfolio that encompasses all of the different styles they’re capable of creating.
• Ask about their SEO knowledge—SEO friendly design is a must if you want to rank well in the search engines. While your designer doesn’t have to be an SEO guru, he or she should understand the basics of SEO best practices. Here’s a clue: If the designer has a blank look on his face or says “ummmm…” when you ask about SEO, you should probably look elsewhere.
• Do they understand web usability?—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across websites with a “pretty design” but a complete lack of usability. It shouldn’t be either style or function; a great website combines both. When visitors come to your website, they should be able to easily navigate it to find the information they’re looking for.
• Find a designer who handles graphics as well—It’s important to note that not all website designers are graphic designers. This means you’d have to hire another designer to create the graphics for your website. To streamline the process and save yourself a little money, find a web designer that understands both how to layout the website and how to design graphics.
• Determine who is responsible for maintaining the site—Once the actual design of the website has been completed, who is going to update it with new pages, new content, etc.? Do you have the skills to do this yourself or will the web designer have to handle this for you?
• Don’t forget your budget—While you should never choose a designer based on price alone, the fact is you have a budget to consider. Just make sure you get a good bang for your buck. Also, be certain you understand exactly how the designer charges you. Is it by the hour? Does he or she charge per page?
What do you consider when hiring a web designer?