How to pick the right Website Designer for your Business
There are many, MANY companies out there claiming to be top-notch web designers. We run into their type a lot, usually when we are fixing a website they messed up. To save you time and hassle, here are some things to look for (and to watch out for!) when hiring a web designer.
- look at their portfolio. Ask to see examples of websites they’ve done. If they can’t show you examples of their work, please don’t hire them. If they say “yeah, I haven’t done much but I know how…” please don’t hire them. Experience is important. There are a lot of little tips and tricks that make your websites function properly that an amateur wouldn’t know. Let them practice on their own time and not with your company website. Your business may rely on a functional website!
- Look through the examples of their work and compare. Do they have the same look and feel to all of their sites, or is each one customized to the individual business? If all of their sites look similar, it can be a red flag; typically it means they either aren’t creative or experienced enough to make unique sites, or they are relying on speed rather than quality when it comes to their builds.
- Do they leave the default headers/footers on their themes? If their sites say “built by WordPress” it shows a lack of professionalism, experience, and attention to detail. Removing the default settings sometimes requires (minimal) coding ability, and not knowing how to do so shows a lack of an important skill in web design.
- When looking at their portfolio, check out the sites on different screens, including mobile. Make sure they are “responsive designs” meaning they adjust to fit any screen properly and function correctly on a mobile phone. This is a step that is often overlooked by inexperienced web designers, as it requires extra programming and designing.
- Ask if they fully license all their plug-ins and software. We’ve run into this several times when updating sites others have built. If the plug-ins aren’t fully licensed, they are usually not able to be updated or supported. This means that when WordPress updates their code, and the plug-in is then updated to continue working, you can’t update it to keep it working on your site without paying more money (sometimes around $100). A good web designer should build all licencing fees into the original cost. Do not try to save money by not fully licensing everything; what may seem unimportant to you may actually be a necessary tool for the functionality of your site.
- Price: Just because they are expensive does not mean they know what they are doing. Many of the sites we repair were built by people who charged double what we do. That doesn’t mean go with the cheapest option, but rather look at their work examples instead of judging them based on price.
- Ask upfront what their policy is for quick changes and phone calls. We’ve run into several companies that charge their customers for every change, every phone call, every little thing. It is unfortunately a common practice among web designers, so make sure you know what you’re getting into upfront. For example, one of our customers was told by their old designer that they would have to pay $60 in order to talk to someone to receive the password for their site so that we could work on it.
Hopefully these tips help you when picking a web designer. In today’s world, a website is a necessary tool for almost every type of business, so picking the right designer is crucial. Read reviews, look through their examples, and make sure you read the fine print before hiring a web designer.