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15 Tips To Finding The Perfect Web Designer

15 Tips To Finding The Perfect Web Designer

It is such an important decision when choosing a website designer, let’s face it you are putting a huge amount of trust in them to help you grow your business. Without a decent website you are going nowhere, so picking a designer who is reputable and reliable is paramount.

Should you go for the cheapest or the most expensive, local or national, a one-man designer or a team? There are so many questions before you even begin talking about the design itself!

So what can you do to make sure you get the right designer?

Well a good place to start is by looking at a designer’s portfolio as you will get a good feel for how they design their websites and if it suits where you are going. The next step is to get in touch with the website owners from the portfolio and ask how they found the experience of working with the designer.

Once you have whittled down a few designers you should request a face-to-face meeting in their studio, this way you will get a better feel of who they are and how they work. If they resist a meeting then don’t take it any further.

Once you are in the meeting with your potential designer it can be a bit daunting knowing what technical questions to ask, but they should make you feel at ease and talk to you at the level you are comfortable with.

I’ve listed 15 topics of conversation you should cover in your meeting, I’ve also sprinkled in some advice. I hope they help: 

  • Would you be employing the services of a designer or a design team? A solo designer will usually offer you a cheaper website as they don’t have all the associated overheads of a team, but this will usually be a trade off for the service and support a team can provide, especially when the designer is away from the office.
  • Who carries out the graphic design and coding of the website? Are they carried out in-house or subbed out? If they are subbing out, are you happy with this? If there are problems or modifications required in the future who will you go to for support?
  • What platform will they build your website on? The two most popular and well supported platforms are Joomla and Wordpress, both of which are CMS (content managed) systems so you will easily be able to get help with editing and SEO (search engine optimisation). There is also a platform called Magento for high-level e-commerce, this is very well thought of but the design and ongoing maintenance costs are very high as it is so specialised, so be sure to get all the associated costs before choosing this route.
  • Is the web platform open source or proprietary? If they build on their own proprietary platform you will be tied into that designer for life.
  • Will the site be set up for SEO? All websites require SEO after going live but if they are up to SEO level 1 when they go live it will give you a big advantage.
  • Where will the site be hosted? Choose a hosting company with servers in the UK (this is where the website files will physically live). A cheap host company will usually have servers offshore which is not good.
  • Do they offer security hosting? Choose a host that will provide a security hosting package as this will help to keep the bad guys out by providing automatic software updates, a firewall and rolling back ups. It costs a bit more but it’s a fraction of the cost of repairing a hacked website.
  • Will the website be mobile responsive? This is essential as it is now one of Google’s minimum requirements to get on their listings.
  • Ownership. Make sure you own the website and the domain once completed, not the designer.
  • Be very careful about linking websites. If you get this wrong your site could be removed from Google. If in any doubt avoid linking.
  • Will they test the site on multiple browsers? Make sure the website is tested on all browsers before going live, the way the website will look on different websites will vary, so check them.
  • Keep the design clean and uncluttered. Don’t fill your website with lots of text, it doesn’t look nice and it doesn’t get read anyway. Clean, crisp and simple works best.
  • Use the 3 second rule for your design. Viewers tend to give a website between 3 to 5 seconds to get it’s message across before hitting the back button, so pay a lot of attention to your landing page designs. Flash the design proof in front of friends, family and the public for 3 seconds then take it away, ask them to tell you what the website is about after their 3 seconds. If they get it right then you are good to go, if they don’t then it may be worth changing the design. Imagery, graphics, video and infographics get a message over far quicker than text alone.
  • Keywording. Think carefully about the keywords and phrases you would like to be found for on Google before designing the site. The site can then be built in a way that promotes these keywords and phrases.
  • Monitoring the website. Make sure they install Google Analytics on your website so you can monitor the performance once it goes live.

 

That's all folks!

We hope that helps a little, there are hundreds of other questions you may need to ask but hopefully this will get you started.

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