Finding the best web designer for your company can sometimes seem like an impossible task with hundreds and even thousands of sites claiming to be the best agency. It’s a critical hire, as web developers are responsible for the layout, visuals, text, and navigation of your website. The decision of choosing a web design agency can make or break a business quickly, and you should make the most informed decision possible. However, if you keep these few things in mind while you go through your search, you’re sure to find the perfect web designer for your new website!
Few processes require more collaboration than building a quality website. One of the most important things about choosing your web designer is making sure they are good communicators. Since they’ll be working on the one thing that nearly everyone will judge your company by, you’ll want to have quick and frequent communication with your web designer to make sure you’re on the same page.
One the other side of the coin, you need to be prepared to communicate as well. Web designers are not mind readers. You are ultimately responsible for how the site turns out, and if you can’t communicate what you want from your web designer, then there’s only so much they can do for you.
It’s a good idea to look at websites whose designs and layouts you like and compile a list of the features you like for your site. You should also compile a realistic list of goals you hope to accomplish with your web design for your web designer to work with. A good web designer will be able to take your goals and set them into groups based off of how much impact they will have and how much time is needed to accomplish these aims. This is an essential part of Growth-Driven Design and will help you focus on the most realistic and useful features.
[blockquote]Make sure their schedule matches yours. Ask if they work weekends, nights, holidays, etc. If they can’t be reached at your convenience communication will be difficult. Don’t forget those time zones![/blockquote]
All good web designers have one thing in common: they are research experts. Scoping out the competition, performing A/B testing, and asking pertinent questions about your company’s mission and marketing goals are all vital qualities of good web designers. If you find a designer that is asking these questions and offering these services, then you’ve found a keeper. You can tell the difference between a website factory that is pumping out sites and doesn’t care, compared to a boutique web designer that takes the time to research what makes your company unique and incorporate it into the web design.
These “website factories” that pump out site after site look nice on the surface. Where they fall short is actual usability, brand identity, and research. These web designers typically charge less, and to make a profit, will rush websites out the door. This practice should be avoided whenever you want your website to drive sales and bring in customers. Users can sense the “out-of-touch” feeling you get from these sites. My mom always used to tell me “Cooking is better when you put love into it” and websites are no different. Do you want your visitors to feel your brand or see it?
A great indicator of whether a web designer will be a good match for your company’s style and goals is their past work. Spend some time looking over their design portfolio before you hire them. You’ll be able to tell if your idea for your website design matches with what the designer’s skill set and capabilities. If they build a particular niche only be cautious and make sure they are capable of creating a custom website to suit your business, not just a quick “get-it-done” site.
Also keep in mind budget here. Looking at previous work, quality may be lower or higher in their earlier work than what you will receive. If you see a previous site built that looks beautiful, keep in mind that site may have had 3x the budget as you have, and vice-versa. Ideally, the web designer will showcase websites of all budget types and not just their highest tiered work. A good web designer should make sure to explain the level of service and quality you can expect from your budget.
Remember, web design is an art form. You want to make sure your artist’s skill matches your needs.
Take your time:
Don’t pick the first guy you come across. As I mentioned earlier, your website is the most important aspect of your business, and you want to make sure you get it right. Many times business owners will do a single search for a web designer, ask a friend, or call someone they know. This is a grave mistake many times. Your website is a significant investment and usually one you don’t want to do over again. Think of it in terms of building a house. If you go with the first or cheapest builder you find, and the job doesn’t turn out right or something is wrong, now you are stuck with it. Web design is no different, do-overs are costly, and most web designers will charge more to fix a bad site than to build a new one.
Post Design Costs:
An often overlooked expense is maintenance, updates, security, and or reoccurring charges. Don’t just look at the price to build a website, ask about prices for hosting, any recurring fees, etc. I have seen business owners get hammered by something as simple as changing their phone number, where the designer is unresponsive or charges them $150. Do you expect your website to need Search Engine Optimization to place higher in Google? Ask how they handle that and what rates they charge. Do you need other marketing services such as Graphic Design, advertising, and Content Marketing?
A good web designer should be prepared to answer all of these. You may not think you need them now but as businesses grow so do their needs. Remember the ebb and flow of marketing changes constantly. Something many business owners miss is, a great website looks awesome, but if no one sees it how will you get a return. You should always be sure the agency you choose is well versed in digital marketing and the techniques that fit your business’s budget, goals, and needs.
It’s a big choice:
Make sure you take the time to make the correct one. The presidential election last year arguably was won with digital marketing. Be sure that you don’t overpay but don’t skimp on quality. A website is an investment that can seriously affect the next 3-5 years of your business. A good web design will affect growth and ultimately the bottom line. If you offer a service or a product, you know well the adage “you get what you pay for.”