I get asked a lot of questions about web design and I think the most helpful starting point would be be to help you on how to find a good web designer. Now admittedly what I’ll share with you below is inspired by the 3 best articles in my opinion only. To be fair I haven’t read ALL of the articles on the worlwide web either. I’m too busy designing websites!
For any business large or small finding the right team to work on your website design isn’t easy. I speak from experience: I am a designer, I know basic coding. But by no means am I a developer. So the work I do has to be a team effort with a coding genius! For me finding that coding genius took time and trials.
I’d strongly advise working with a designer AND a developer when you have your website designed. It’s a no brainer that you want experts in their field. Whilst it might feel like this is going to be more expensive it isn’t. It’s more expensive to have to keep re-doing your website if you don’t make the right choice from the outset.
So what should you be looking for when you need a website designing and building:
What websites do you admire? When you find one, check out the footer often there is a credit to the design agency, or you might find in the source code. You can always contact the website’s owner and ask them if you can’t find it.
And if you do contact the owner of the site you can get a personal recommendation and perhaps even a guide to the cost.
Chances are you know a lot of people with websites in your business networks. Ask them who designed and developed their sites!
The first port of call when looking for your designer is their portfolio. You’ll get a good idea of the type of work they produce; is it brand focused, can you see testimonials and evidence of how their work has helped clients.
If you like what you see get in touch with them and ask for more examples which relate exactly to your needs. Most freelance designers or small agencies like us have HUGE portfolios of work tucked away on their macs. So if you see a spark ask for more. We’re too busy enjoying client work to put EVERYTHING on our websites!
Obvious but often overlooked. You definitely want a design and development team with experience. Importantly though find out what they’ve achieved with that experience:
“It’s not about how many years of experience you have. It’s about the quality of your years of experience.” – Jacob Cass
Once you have decided, you want to make it very clear what you are looking for. Often, this type of work goes bad simply because the client wasn’t specific on their needs.
Websites are a big part of your business but it’s not a case of build it and they will come. It is THE most important thing to outline your expectations and to understand the differences between designers, developers, social media teams and SEO managers. Be straightforward and define what it is you want to achieve with your website, what is its purpose. Take time to go through the research process with your design team, so that you can rest easy knowing they’re are on the same page as you.
Website Designer / Graphic Designer: helps you to determine the page layout, graphics, typography and colours of your site, as well as the navigation and how pages will cross-link to one another. Your graphic designer should have a good understanding of marketing in order to ensure that the layout and functionality of the design appeals to the people you want to visit and use it. This is often called UX or User Experience. The designer is usually the project manager for your site design and may work with a marketing expert on some of the UX depending on their level of expertise.
Website Programmer / Developer: takes the design from the Designer and creates the code to make the site run. Also responsible for all the technical stuff that happens behind-the-scenes to make sure the site works properly for your visitors.
Internet Marketing Consultant / SEO specialist: helps you to determine how your website fits into your overall marketing strategy, and how to get more traffic and sales from your website. It’s wise for them to work alongside your designer to ensure that the copywriting for the site, Alt tags and Meta data are SEO and keyword focused.
Here are three useful articles to guide you further
Great insight into the types of conversations you should be having in order to find the best website designer from Passion for Business
This is a lovely visual guide to help you ask the right questions and outline expectations from Red Website.
A forum post with comments from those in the industry so you can understand how the designer developer difference really works and ask questions yourself from UK business forums.
If you want an specific advice please feel free to get in touch, advice is always free and I’m happy to help you navigate the digital minefield.
Thanks for reading.