There are a lot of steps between recognizing the need for a new website and unveiling the finished project to the teeming masses of the internet. We like to say your website is your front door. This means it’s the cornerstone of all of your digital marketing. Building a website is a significant investment. It takes months to create. And it requires ongoing support. You’ll get the best results from a lengthy project like this if you begin with a strong team. Here’s what to look for when you’re choosing a web designer:
A web designer should be creative.
At the end of the day, everyone wants their website to look good. And just as your business or organization is uniquely yours, your website should have its own personality. It should distinguish itself from other websites. So finding a creative partner in this process is very important. How do you find that? Start where most people do: look through the designer’s portfolio. Learn about their graphic design experience. You’ll get a good idea of their style and their flexibility. If most of their work has a certain sameness to it, you may not get the creativity you’re looking for.
A web designer should have experience.
Remember, building a new website is a long-term project. Website design and development go hand in hand. Not only does it take months to design and build, but the software that makes it run needs ongoing support. And while every web design agency was once a brand-new business, there’s something to be said for choosing a web designer who has years of experience under their belt. A number of clients have come to us over the years because their previous designer either went out of business, or retired, or simply stopped doing that kind of work. Remember that portfolio you were looking at earlier? How much work has that designer done? Click through and visit the actual websites in their portfolio. How are they holding up? Can you find your way around? Do you like interacting with the website? This will give you a nice preview of how your customers will experience your new website.
Your web designer should offer ongoing support.
And how will you experience your new website? Will you be able to add or modify the content easily? If you need to go back to your designer to have them change something, will they be available to do that? And at what cost? In a perfect world, you would get the answers to all of these questions at the start of the project. However, these are questions that often come up either in the middle of development or after the website has been built and deployed. It bears repeating: websites require ongoing support. If you cannot manage that in-house, you will want to have that conversation with your web designer.
A good web designer should offer marketing and SEO services.
We’ve all heard and loved that phrase, “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. With so many choices vying for our attention, your potential customers need a bit of help finding you. And while there are plenty of companies out there who specialize in a variety of related services — like content creation, email marketing, SEO optimization, etc. — choosing a web designer with experience in these services can provide you with a well-rounded and seamlessly-integrated digital experience. Web developers who have experience with web solutions like these aren’t common. But finding the can mean the critical difference between a successful website or a mediocre one.
Your web designer should be your partner.
In a way, your web designer is part of your team. Their ultimate goal should be to make you look good, to make your business succeed. So you want to find someone who clearly has your best interests in mind. While you’re the one paying for the development of your new website, in reality it’s your customers who need to be satisfied with it. If it’s not easy for them to use, or they find it unappealing, they will leave. That means that your beautiful new website, which may have been built to your personal style and expectations, isn’t actually doing its job. A good designer will guide you through the development process and alert you to possible conflicts between what you like and what your customers like. (Do they understand user interface and user experience? These are commonly referred to as UI and UX design.) At the end of the day, what matters most is interactivity, and ultimately, conversion.
At the end of the day, you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a web designer. Taking the time to consider these points will help ensure that you make the right choice for your next project.