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14 Tips When Choosing a Web designer

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Web designers are a dime a dozen nowadays, but choosing a web designer for your needs can be tricky, especially finding the perfect one! You have to keep in mind so many factors when choosing one! If you want to ensure that you get the best Web designer possible, we recommend following these 14 tips every time.

Table of Contents

Check Their Portfolio

The Web is full of people who think they know what they’re doing but don’t have any experience or talent. What good is it to hire someone with zero proof? Always check out a web designer’s portfolio before hiring them by looking at their past work and seeing if it’s something you like and would want on your site.

Discover Their Process

If it is not apparent, ask about their process – Web design projects come in all shapes and sizes. Some designers like working with a particular process, while others are more flexible. When choosing a web designer ask them how they like to work and their process. This will help you get an idea of whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your project.

If they have a good process, this is a good indicator of a professional, if they just “freestyle it” then this is less appealing.

Recommendations

There are many ways to get some recommendations for a web designer.

  • Get referrals – One of the best ways to find a Web designer is to ask around for referrals. If you know someone who’s had a great Web design experience in the past, they’ll be more than happy to recommend someone to you.
  • Word of mouth – If nobody has had good Web design experiences in the past, don’t be afraid to ask around for further recommendations if you need them. You’ll be able to find someone great with even more referrals than you started with.
  • Get a list of references – A Web designer isn’t going to be able to show you any past projects if they haven’t worked with somebody else before. That’s why Web designers will always have a list of references that you can contact and ask about their experience working together. 
  • Talk to some of their current and recent clients – The best way to get an idea of how a Web designer works are to talk to some of their current and recent clients. This will give you a good idea of the quality of their work, how they communicate with their clients and how well they work under pressure. If you cannot talk to them, look for reviews online and try to get a gauge that way.

Check Their Rates

Rates can vary greatly for Web designers. Some may charge by the hour, while others charge by the project. It’s important to know what web designers are charging ahead of time so that you be sure you are choosing a web designer that best works for you and within your budget.

Rates are not everything though, you must consider while choosing a web designer what is the value that you will gain from a website they create for you? You can buy a website for $150 and you can buy a website for $5,000.  What will the $5,000 website give you that the $150 site does not?

If the more expensive website provides you with better leads, more clients, retains existing clients, pushes your business forwards, and provides a professional image on the world wide web, is this an expense or an investment?

The $150 website will likely not be customized to you or your business, has the time been taken to consider your business? You may get a nice looking website but how are first time clients going to feel? Will they convert, send you their details, and become a new lead or customer? Likely not.

Ensure the website you purchase will give value to you and your business, but most of all encourage your clients that your business is the right one for them.

Web Designer vs. Web Developer

Choosing a web designer

Web designers are often excellent at making nice-looking websites that work correctly on mobile and desktop devices. On the other hand, Web developers know how to build functioning sites that incorporate data structures and server-side languages. If you need someone to help develop a website, make sure you find someone who is a Web developer and not just a Web designer.

Many people have knowledge of both which is useful, as a web developer can handle unexpected, technical, and complex issues well (generally!).

Check Their Availability

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a web designer. Will they be able to start on your project right away? How long will it take them to finish? These are all important questions to ask before making your decision.

Some web designers have too much work and can get caught up in other projects which ends up with yours being put on the back burner.  The time spent waiting can be frustrating!  Ensure that the web designer has time for you, but perhaps not too much time that they have no other clients, why do they have no other clients? It is all a balancing act, it is like the restaurant that is empty and the restaurant that is busy, which would you choose to go to?

How is Their Communication?

This goes along with availability. You want to make sure that you can easily communicate with your Web designer. If you need to send them a lot of feedback or if they need to update you frequently on their progress, make sure they are okay with doing that.

This also links in with their availability, when choosing a web designer make sure they communicate well and are available for you, should you need something.

Communication as a Web designer 400x300

Look for Experience

Web design is a constantly changing field, and what was popular a few years ago may not be popular anymore. That’s why it’s essential to find a Web designer who has a lot of experience and knows what trends are popular right now.

Just because they have a good looking portfolio, you need to know their experience too. Learn a little about them, what they like, the design styles, their thoughts on certain things, all this will influence the end result and the website that you receive.

If you are not impressed by what you see, but they are flexible and gain a full understanding of your project then it could be fine.  Often aligning yourself with someone who is closer at the beginning will get you the end result you desire.

What Do They use?

Choosing a Web designer 400x300

Ask about their favorite design tools – Web designers use various design tools to help them create beautiful websites. If you have a preference for the tools they use, you can ask about this prior to starting the project.  This can be useful if you intend to make edits and changes later down the line without the need for you to have to learn something new.

If you are keen to learn something new then make sure to find out if they will teach you how to make simple edits and changes, adjust what you need, or will they charge you a fortune for the smallest change in the future?

Find out what languages they know

If you are hoping to have a website built in English and their written English is not error-free and flowing as it should be, how is this going to look on your website?  If you have any doubts you should ensure that you do all the website copy yourself or hire a professional copywriter.  This also applies to the communication between yourself and the web designer, if the communication is not completely understood then some of the finer nuances may get passed and escape them.  The details matter.

Find out what coding languages they know

To have a website, Web designers have to write code for it. That being said, they’ll need to use different coding languages depending on what type of site they are building. Web designers usually know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP/ MySQL. Ask your Web designer what they know to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Do They Question You?

Pay attention to how much they ask you about your business – Web designers should want to know about your business to come up with the best design for you. If you feel they’re asking too many questions, it means they’re taking the time to learn about you and your company which is a good thing! 

A web designer who is not taking the time to learn about you, your business, your clients, and the project is likely to create a poor end product. The end product may look good, but is it targeted to your clients? Will it provide you everything you need from a website? Will the website provide a ROI? 

If they aren’t asking any questions, that could mean they just want to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Ongoing Services

Ask them whether they will maintain your site after the initial design – Web designers often focus on coming up with a great design and then hand it off to somebody else who specializes in web development. Web designers should be able to maintain your website after the initial design is complete so you don’t have to continue working with another person.

Different Packages

Make sure they offer packages for multiple services – Web designers usually offer packages that include everything you need to start your website. You can usually choose from website design packages, search engine optimization ( SEO ) packages, and content management system (CMS) packages. Web designers will go ahead and throw in multiple services for the price of one to save you money.

Getting your web design and your SEO done by the same person if often a good idea as they will know the web well and understand where it needs to go.  This is however often not ideal if the person is specializing in web design and doesn’t really know about SEO.  Search engine optimization is a difficult field and requires a decent level of knowledge.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a simple site or a site that costs thousands, making sure to ask enough questions and find out about the person who you will be putting your trust in is time well spent.  Don’t rush in and choose the cheapest, or the one with the fanciest looking websites.  Take a moment and look behind the scenes at what you will get and what they can offer you.

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