11 Tips for Hiring a Website Designer
Hiring a website designer to design your website can not only boost sales but also give you a sleek interface with which to communicate with your customer base. Here are 11 tips for hiring a website designer so that you can get everything you need without question.
If given the right tools, a person is perfectly capable of building their own website. That same person could also build a birdhouse given the right tools.
But if you don't have the time, talent, or interest then no birds or customers will come. Websites today need to serve several functions.
Today's competitive website needs to attract customers, retain customers, entice someone to make a purchase, and provide them with pertinent information.
That's a lot to handle for a busy small business owner on their own. Which is why hiring a website designer makes sense. Unfortunately, not all of them can handle your needs.
Here are 11 tips to help you find the perfect website designer.
1. Don't Try Hiring a Website Designer Without Defining Your Goals First
Many business owners wonder why they should hire a website designer because they feel they can do it on their own. But unless you know both coding and graphic design, at some point, you'll need an expert to help you.
A lot of the back end of website building is complicated and requires someone with a knowledge of coding.
Start by determining your project goals, which includes an outline of how you plan to measure success. This will help you figure out what the circumstances, skills, and goals are.
Perhaps you want to retain control over some of your website, perhaps involving editing any and all content. Maybe your website needs to incorporate full shipping integration along with secure online purchasing.
Maybe your goal is to build up your brand identity and increasing conversions and a design company like Maxburst can help.
Knowing what you want first will help you find exactly the right type of website designer.
2. Check Out Their Previous Work
A professional web designer should have a portfolio of their previous work. Many of them feature several examples on their website.
Take a look at these examples. It will help you determine if you like the look and format of the work the agency provides.
Also, this is a good time to ensure that the web designer understands the niche business you are in. If the designer only handles websites for creative industries and you're in construction, this might not be a good match.
3. Start With Small Projects
When you decide to hire a website designer, it doesn't mean you need to throw all the big projects their way immediately. It's okay to start small.
In fact, it's recommended. If you like a company, ask them to complete a smaller project first.
That way, you get a better understanding of how their company works. You'll get to see first hand how they communicate with your company.
And you'll get to see whether they can produce the type of work you're looking for.
Also, if problems arise, you'll get a great indication of how they work while under pressure and how they solve problems.
This way, if you find it's not a good match, you haven't invested too much time, energy, and money with one company.
4. Ask How They Measure Success
One of the most important questions to ask when you are looking to hire a website designer is how they measure success.
ROI or return on investment is the most important part of any website building project. But how that's measured can differ greatly.
That's why it's such an important discussion to have with your web design team.
Discuss how long both you and the design firm feel it will take before you begin to see results. Figure out which numbers indicate success.
Find out what the company feels is a successful campaign. Make sure that their idea of success and yours match up.
Have them share with you other success stories from clients they've worked with in the past.
Have them provide you with a good indication of why they felt it was successful.
5. Focus On Content
While content is consistently considered the number one priority of a web design process, it still is vastly overlooked.
Unfortunately many web design companies either focus solely on design and function or they focus on relevant, valuable and keyword optimized content.
Find a company that can focus on both. Google places a high value on content and so do your customers.
The whole point of your website is to engage people with photos, videos, and written content that makes them want to stay, buy, and come back.
If the content of your site isn't a part of your conversation, hire a website designer who does understand the importance of content.
6. Discuss Your Budget
Your budget is extremely important when it comes to finding the best website designer for your needs.
However, if your budget is small, don't choose to work with someone solely based on the fact that they are affordable. Their work may not be worth the price.
It's smarter to pay a talented web designer their asking price and simply have them do the work in smaller projects than it is to hire someone at a lower price point who can handle all the work.
If you're going to pay for it, you might as well pay for the best.
However, a budget will also help both you and the designer develop a working plan for all your goals.
7. Check The Web Designer Communicates Well
There is nothing more infuriating to a business owner than to begin a working relationship with someone only to find out the hard way that their communication skills are lacking.
A lack of communication will hinder your project and create unnecessary stress for both parties.
If you want to hire a website designer you can build a long-term relationship with, make sure they communicate well with you.
But communication goes both ways. Don't expect the designer to be a mind reader.
Both parties should determine the preferred methods of communication before beginning. Also, make sure that both of you are responding to questions and comments in a timely manner.
Lastly, having good and frequent communication between both parties helps create an environment where great ideas are shared and developed.
8. They're Focused On Aptitude Rather Than Acquiring a Skill Set
The tech world moves so quickly that skills become obsolete every two years or so. Which means it's smarter to hire a web designer who focuses on learning new technologies rather than someone who is highly skilled in a specific technology.
Focusing on learning new technologies is also an indication that the person adapts well to change.
Ask them what new programming languages they've recently learned. Have them share with you their go-to places for learning new tech tips and tricks.
If you're looking to hire a web design company, make sure the entire team is focused on continuing education to help their company stay at the forefront of the latest web development technology.
9. They Know How To Work With Your Web Platform
Not all websites are made the same way. They each have different platforms or CMS.
If you don't have a website yet, hire a web designer who can help you choose a platform or CMS. If you do already have a site, find a firm that has expertise in building sites on your platform or CMS.
Keep in mind that sites like WordPress, HubSpot, Squarespace, and Drupal often have partner ecosystems. They'll have a list of their partners, including web designers who are properly accredited.
If you haven't chosen a CMS like Squarespace or HubSpot yet but want to, work with a firm who is willing to help you determine which CMS site makes the most sense for your business and goals.
That's because some platforms are template based and proprietary (Squarespace, Wix) while others are open source (Wordpress, Drupal.
10. Ask To Meet Your Team
You know you need a web designer, but often you're working with a company rather than just one individual. Except in today's world, you never know where anyone is doing their work.
Until you ask. Have a discussion about where the work will be done (local or outsourced) and who is responsible for which parts of the work.
It may turn out that your coding is done in India. And while that may not seem like a big deal, it could be.
If something is coded wrong or changes are needed, you could end up waiting hours because of the time zone gap.
To avoid potential delays, ask to meet the team working on your project. You and your team should spend time with them to ensure it's a good fit.
If location isn't a concern, you should at least take some time to converse with everyone on your web design team, even if it's over Skype or via email.
11. Make Sure You're The Owner Of Your Own Website
If you're hiring a website designer to build your site, make sure you are the one who ultimately owns the design and all its content.
Ask if they're willing to sign over all intellectual property rights to your website. Do this before any work begins.
It's hugely important to own your design and content because it can prevent and even hurt you from getting investment capital. It can even cause problems when you go to sell your business.
Also, having web designers sign over intellectual property rights is common practice. Meaning that if they refuse to sign over the rights, it's a huge red flag.
Submit Your Site
While your site will never truly be "finished" as technology is continuously changing, it's still worth taking a look at.
Especially if you've hired a great website designer. Your site deserves a little extra recognition.
Click here to submit your website to our site.