Believe it or not, nearly 50% of all small businesses still don’t have a website. Whether it’s because of the price of hiring web designers or because they underestimate their earning potential, having a website is a must. Having a well-designed website allows you to reach customers and acts as a 24/7 marketing tool.
Search engines rank websites based not only on keywords and relevance but also based on how well designed they are. Sites that load quickly, have a simple menu system, and images that scale correctly get ranked the highest. Search engines also rate for how good your site looks on mobile devices.
If you’re not an expert on mobile design or web design, it might be time to consider hiring web designers. Before you open your checkbook, look for these 7 characteristics.
1. Check The Price
If you’ve got a new or small business, you might not have a budget in the tens of thousands you need for building your website. You might have to adjust your expectations if you’re expecting a custom interface for no money. For some companies, the price is the absolute deciding factor on what goes on with their web design.
2. Look At Their Portfolio
When hiring web designers, you should look for someone who has a strong portfolio. Not only should their work wow you, it should also be relevant. See if they’ve done work for a company like yours or at least one that’s tangential to your industry.
Check in with the companies they’ve worked for in the past. See what those past customers have to say about working with the designer you’re thinking about hiring.
Pay attention to all the details of the sites you look at. See how they look on your phone, your tablet and your desktop. A modern designer should be building a site that’s “mobile first”. Since mobile browsing has surpassed desktop’s numbers, you need to be where your customers will be, looking as good as you can.
3. Check For Chemistry
When you’re on the phone or exchanging emails with this company, you should feel like they’re listening to you. You need to trust them and have patience but you should also feel like you’re working together.
A lack of chemistry with a company will keep you from being able to get the kind of end product that you need. You should both be proud of the website you create together. When you’re hiring web designers, you need to know that they’re committed to your project as much as you are.
4. Get A Quote
You should get a quote as to how long it will take for them to build your website. As with most services, you’ll have to pay more if you want to have the website turned around in just a week or two. Have a clear schedule of milestones laid out.
Once you’ve created a schedule, make sure that you check in with them regularly. If they don’t have all the information they need from you, they might not be able to complete your site on time. Be patient but also hold them to their commitment. You have a responsibility to your customers to have your site up and running when they need you.
5. Find Someone Who Matches Your Style
While you need someone who appreciates your industry and the style of work that you do, you also need someone who understands your visual style. If most of the work of the company you’re looking at is centered around loud colors and you’re more of a minimalist, you might not match well.
Describe what you’re looking for and the kind of work that your company does. Ask your web designer to give you an example or a sample of something they’ve done that they think would match your style. While it might not be exactly what you’re looking for, if they can understand the style you’re looking for, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Make sure they understand and implement current web design “best practices” in every project they’re tasked with.
6. Find Designers Who Handle Everything
When hiring web designers, you could be working with someone who will offer you great visual elements but not be able to do much else. If you need a robust database or an e-commerce platform, they may need to hire that work out.
Make sure you go over exactly who at the company will be handling what elements of your project. They should be open about who will be handling the parts that they outsource. Look at the work that the third party does before deciding to embark on a relationship with your web designer.
You could be getting the best of both worlds or you could be getting a raw deal.
7. Find Designers Who Understand Your Goals
You should have a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish with your website. If 90% of your sales are being done through an online retailer, don’t try to make your website compete with Amazon. Unless you think you can get users to sign up for your e-commerce platform, you should use your site to fill in the gaps.
Users and consumers of your products and services can’t get all of the most important information from online retailers and marketplaces. Often there isn’t enough space or you have a story to tell. Let your website be the place where you tell that story to your clients.
Make these goals clear to your web designers and listen to how they respond. They should be able to suggest new ideas and come up with a plan as to how you can achieve your goals with your website.
Think Clearly When Hiring Web Designers
While you might be inspired to launch your site ASAP, take your time when making decisions about your website. Your site is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. If someone reaches out to find out more about your products, your site should confirm that they’ve made a wise choice working with you.
If it’s time to hire a web designer for your new site or revamp your old site, contact us for a list of must-haves for a mobile-friendly site.