Once the chaos of the holidays settles down, you’ll look at your 2013 business plan once again (you have one, right?) and notice that it’s time to redesign your company’s website. Working with a good professional web designer will certainly be an exciting and, hopefully, positive experience, but you’ll need to find a designer first.
So what makes a web designer a good fit for your needs? Consider these important qualities:
Your web designer should have a good website
Try tweeting something like “looking for a web designer.” You’ll be surprised how many takers you’ll find for the job – anyone from freelancers to large agencies. Some of them won’t even have a link to their portfolio; they’ll just ask you to email them for a quote.
Whether you are hiring an individual or a firm, they need to have a website. A domain name and web hosting are not too expensive, so if they use limited funds or lack of time as an excuse for not having a website – don’t bother.
The second part is that their website should reflect a few simple but important elements. Is the content on the website well organized? Is it easy to navigate? Does the design look modern and/or attractive? Why ask these questions? Because if a so-called web designer hasn’t built a quality website for himself/herself, it’s unlikely they are going to build one for you. You wouldn’t pick a hairdresser with a horrible hairdo to cut your hair, would you?
TIP: search the web for websites that you like in terms of their look and functionality; look at the bottom for the designer’s signature.
Your web designer should live in the same country
Of course, a big advantage of such services as web design and online marketing is that you don’t even have to see the person you hired. Occasional phone conversations, Skype sessions or emails are often enough to exchange feedback regarding the project. The disadvantages, however, can be extremely frustrating: language barriers, time difference, and the fact that it is much easier for someone across the globe to disappear with your deposit may cost you more money and headache than if you hired someone locally.
Your web designer should interview you about your business
Your website is your virtual store front, or at least that’s how we see it at PDR Web Solutions. Therefore, your website should be designed and used as a sales tool to generate more leads for your business. Here at PDR we design with your customers in mind. It’s not about how you think your website is supposed to look, it’s about effectively communicating to your audience the value of your services/products and why customers should choose you. Here are a few questions your website designer should ask you:
What goals are you looking to accomplish with your website?
What distinguishes your business from competitors?
Who is your target audience? Describe your customers.
How can your audience benefit from your product/service?
What are the common questions prospective customers have about your product/service?
These questions should be asked in the initial meeting/conversation with your web designer. If your website designer shows little interest in your business and target audience then you should run far, far away.
Your web designer should have some marketing and SEO knowledge
It’s not a requirement, but it always helps if your designer can do more than just design. A designer with SEO skills can code your website so that it’s easier for search engines to crawl it, which can result in improved rankings within search engine results pages (SERP). A designer with marketing knowledge can suggest key elements to include on your website that will help increase visitor-to-lead conversion rate.
A web designer that has good design skills only can create a visually attractive and functional website, but it might not have the nuts and bolts necessary to further propel your business’ success online. An attractive website that is never visited by your potential customers is not moving you closer to your business goals. Besides, it is a good practice to give a newly published website an initial boost with an online marketing campaign. A designer with a marketing background would be of great help in this situation – you can get both design and marketing done in one place.
Do you have any other tips to add? Have you learned something from your previous experience in working with a web designer? Feel free to share! And, hey, it will be a shameless plugin, but if you are looking for website design service in the Baltimore area (or elsewhere in the country), check out our web design portfolio and contact us.