Just like employing staff, engaging a great web designer will take some time and research. When you don’t speak the technical language of a designer it can be difficult to assess if they can really deliver your website on time and within budget or if you will end up paying for all the ‘extras’ as well. Here are my top 7 tips for finding the right web designer for you.
1. Do they Understand your Business Model?
Whether you have a service business, a shop front which sells physical products, a trade business or a direct-to-consumer business, your web designer should understand the basic principles of the way your business works to deliver goods or services to the consumer.
Ask your potential designer if they have worked with businesses similar to yours – or check out their website – they should have a snapshot of other businesses they have worked with. A good designer will have links to those other websites they have built so you can look at the layout, design and structure of the site.
2. Can you Talk to Them - Really Talk?
A good designer should ask you questions about your business and seek to understand your goals. They should listen at least as much as they talk.
Are they asking you about your target customers, your business practices and challenges? If they are doing all the talking, ask yourself who is the customer in this conversation?
If they are spending most of the conversation selling their services and not listening to your needs, it might be time to move on and find someone who will listen and seek to understand you and the unique proposition that you have for your customers and clients.
3. What type of Website do you Want?
Whether you have a one-page website or multiple pages will depend on the key messages you are trying to convey to your customers and potential clients.
A good web designer will help you to not only define the structure of the website you have, but will also help you to explore preferred styles, layouts, fonts and colours.
This information, in conjunction with the information you provide them about your business goals and target customers, will help determine the best look and feel for your website. It should be an iterative process between you and your designer, giving you the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on what the designer develops.
4. A great Web Designer will value add. Can they 'Value-Add'?
Depending on your business model you may want to ask your website designer about any value-adds they can provide. For example, can they link to your social media accounts, or your email server (e.g. Mail Chimp), can they assist you to gather customer names and details? Can your website designer help you with advertising on other platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook/Instagram advertising.
Ask them if they can write the copy (the words and phrases) for your website. Sometimes the hardest thing for you to sell is you. An outside person will often write more convincingly about your products and services that you can yourself.
If they can value-add in some way, then it will save you time and money shopping around for someone else to help you in other areas.
By engaging a trusted web designer to partner with your business, you may achieve more than just a great looking website. Ask them about their background and other skills as well to see what else they might offer to your business.
5. What about SEO?
Does the web designer you are considering offer Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services as part of the build or is that one of the ‘hidden extras’ you will need to pay more for? A good web-designer will build SEO as they go.
Asking you to pay extra is like asking a tailor to make you a coat and then adjusting it to fit after he or she has presented you with the finished product. It will never be as good as if it was built in to start with.
They should be asking you what you want to rank for – is it locality – e.g. you’re a plumber who only works in a particular area so you want to rank well in that area but not in others. No good you appearing in a search for “Plumber in South Sydney” if you only work in Brisbane CBD! That is SEO at work, so make sure the designer will build SEO as they go. Retrofitting will take them longer and cost you more, so make sure you cover this off upfront.
6. What after-build Services and Support will They Offer?
It is one thing to get your website up and running, but keeping it secure and running at its best takes ongoing maintenance. Does the designer offer support packages for ongoing maintenance of your website?
Do their support packages include options for site upgrades, content renewal and security monitoring? Without these your website will go stale very quickly and will end up not ranking in Google at all. You need to keep updating your website to keep ranking well in Google.
7. What do others say about them?
Finding someone you can trust is important. Do a bit of research online and have a look their online reviews, ask other business owners who they know that is competent and trustworthy. Search out sites that are like you want yours to be and contact the business – ask them who did their website if they would recommend them.
Check out their online profiles – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business. Do your due diligence thoroughly before you sign a contract.
8. Do you Resonate with Them?
At the end of the day, you need to have a great relationship with your website designer. They will become part of your business team in helping you achieve your business goals. If you simply don’t resonate with them, then consider talking to someone else. You need to feel comfortable with their knowledge, expertise and approach if you are to trust them with this important business asset.
Every great web designer is different and, like bookkeepers or accountants, need to be an integral part of your team, so make sure they will have your back, are proactive about your business and listen to your needs.
Surround yourself with people you trust, who can help you to succeed and life will be a lot sweeter.
Get in Touch
If you’d like to find out how I can help you build a website that converts lookers to customers then book a free strategy session.
In around an hour we’ll develop a plan to take your business to the next level.