A web designer can be an important resource for your business. As your business grows, you may need to hire a web designer to create a professional website for your company.
Whether you’re looking for someone who’s specifically a WordPress web designer or you don’t have any particular platform requirements, making the right decision can save you time and money and ensure your site is professionally designed.
So how do you know that you’re hiring the right person? The following are seven important things to keep in mind in the process.
1. Understand What a Web Designer Does
You may think you need a web designer, but you might not be sure.
A web designer creates the design of a site and also the layout. They make a site look visually appealing. A designer uses programs to create visual elements that’ll be used on your site. Designers will often be experts in the user interface (UI), and along with designing something aesthetically appealing, they’re going to make sure it’s intuitive and easy to navigate for your visitors.
These are important factors because how your site looks have a direct effect on your branding and people’s opinion of your company.
It takes less than a second for a visitor to judge a website, so the first impression is critical. In research, 75% of consumers said they judge the credibility of a brand based on its site.
Particular things a designer might do include thinking about the navigation of a site for the best user experience, designing mockups and sample pages, and creating graphics and visuals in Adobe programs. They can also organize files, coordinate with writers and collaborate on updates or refreshes to a site.
2. A Designer Is Not a Developer
Often people will think they need a web designer when they need a developer and vice versa.
A designer is focused primarily on how a site looks and its layout and visibility.
A developer, on the other hand, will be the person who builds and maintains your site’s core structure. There are some people who can handle both, and then some professionals only offer services in one area and not the other.
Web developers are responsible for a lot of technical work, including the use of coding and programming languages. They can take the concepts and ideas of a designer and turn them into sites that are fully functional.
Developers might configure the server and databases on the back end and integrate functionality and features that are user-facing.
Developers can also perform testing and debugging after the launch of a site.
3. Find Examples of Sites You Love
Before you even start reaching out to web designers, it’s a good idea to have some examples you can show them as far as what you like.
This is a good starting point because it will show a designer what you’re looking for, and they’ll be better able to determine if they’re a good fit for your job. You’re also getting actionable information for your designer, and once you hire someone, that can lower your costs and reduce how much time it takes for your site to be completed.
When you have an idea of what you want and don’t want, it’s going to help you more quickly narrow down potential candidates for the job.
4. Look at a Designer’s Portfolio and Work Examples
A good web designer should have a portfolio they can easily show you so that you can figure out if you like their style and whether they have experience in the type of site design you’re looking for.
Along with looking at their portfolio and examples of sites, ask for some references as you’re narrowing down your candidates and creating a shortlist. You want to learn more about not just the finished product but what it’s like to work with a designer.
For example, are they easy to get in touch with, and do they respond within a reasonable amount of time? Are they willing to accept feedback and incorporate it into the project? Would their previous clients work with them again? These are all things to ask the references a designer provides you.
5. Hire Someone Who’s Designed for Your Platform
If you already have a platform, you want a designer or a design firm that has experience with whatever it is.
If you don’t have a platform or CMS yet, then maybe they can help you pick one. A designer can explain to you which CMS might make the most sense for you in terms of your business and your current as well as potential future goals.
There are usually two broad options when it comes to platforms. There are proprietary systems, which often have a simple interface and can be customized even by someone who’s not very tech-savvy but limited in customization options. There are also open-source systems that are entirely customizable and not so much harder to update.
6. Be Realistic with Your Budget
There are a wide variety of factors that go into what you might expect to pay for a web design project. The cost of designing a site depends on the number of pages, how intricate the design is, and the special functionality you might want.
A basic site can be a few thousand dollars, while more complex sites can be upwards of $20,000.
Do your research early on to figure out what you need, your expectations, and how complex your site is going to be. This will help you set a realistic budget for your project.
7. Talk About Deadlines Early On
Finally, before you commit to anything with a designer or agency, you want to discuss deadlines in detail. You want to make sure the person or firm you’re hiring is going to be able to complete your site within your expected timeframe.
You need to be clear on your expectations as far as the scope of what’s going to be delivered, the changes you’ll be able to request, and what will be needed from you to get the project completed.