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How to choose a web designer

A good and effective web design is crucial for the success of your online business because other elements rely on this step, especially the search engine optimisation process. For the purpose of this article 'Web designer' refers to the Web developer, designer and producer of your website.

Unless you just want to show you have a website on your business card, you must hire a web designer who is acquainted with, among many nuts and bolts, the services you offer, your customer, competition and the potential market size. So, before entering into agreement how would you find out if the web designer is familiar with all these elements? Let’s find out.

Web designers become competent and skilful by the length of time they have spent on their job and on their self-development. Beside the acquaintance of specific business and market, it is important that the web designer is knowledgeable of:

  • Architecture, content development and friendly URLs
  • HTML, validation, redirects and database optimisation
  • Use of media queries for Tablet & Smartphone browser support
  • Keyword researching
  • Landing and campaign page development

The attempt to accomplish the above and get them right from the start will save effort and time in future. But how would you go about investigating these?

The designer’s portfolio which reflects his morale, his skills, and the ethicality of his SEO technique will answer a few of your questions. You may also ask for samples of previous work or projects that are similar to yours. It is also appropriate to ask the web designer about his experience level, his knowledge of your business area and the SEO techniques they will be using. It is best if these questions are conducted by someone in your firm who has some web design and SEO knowledge. If you don’t have one, you can find answers and learn more from the tutorials and tools at the official Google’s Webmaster Tools Help Center.

It is essential to choose the right content management system and script for your website to avoid future hassle of content migration and to avoid being forced to convert you website. Whether for business or e-commerce, Drupal has been our top choice.

Most web designers will ask you for a briefing about your requirements in order to give you a quote. When completing the briefing you should:

  • Give comprehensive information about layout, colours and features
  • Introduce your industry, niche, services and your customer
  • Include example websites you like
  • Ask for the designer’s suggestions, they have more experience

Following the quotation request, the web design company will usually draft and send you an agreement covering your design requirements, time frame and the cost. The agreement may give different options for different budgets, should state whether hosting is included or not and should confirm whether the quote is for a fixed one payment.

It is your right to revise the agreement, make subtractions and additions, and negotiate the price. Your objective is to gain a professional business web design service and best value for money. It is necessary to obtain few quotations from top web design companies before you decide who to choose. Make your choice based on quality before price, don’t just go for a cheap web design company.

At this stage you will discover you are offered various types of web design packages and services such as logo design, responsive layout design for phone browser support, marketing support and PPC campaigns, some even provide business cards and advertising flyers with the website. We also will provide them at the customer’s request.

In-house web designers usually do a better job because they live with your business, attend your meetings, and share its strategies and objectives. This has been the preferred option for many businesses since SEO is a continuous process that entails constant website update and maintenance. However the majority of small businesses may not be able to recruit a web designer and are forced to seek a web design company or a freelancer whom they have not met before. In many instances the small business owner may try to build the website himself, and as a result deviates away from the main objective and loses focus.

Whichever option you choose, your website is the image of your business and it represents your brand, you should invest on it and choose cautiously who should design it.

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