12 Tips For Finding The Best Designer Near You
- They Listen to you
- They offer fresh ideas and inspiration
- They understand and know how to use a content management system
- Responsive website design comes with the territory, it’s not an add-on
- They have a portfolio that showcases their best work
- They are an established company with good reviews
- They understand the website’s job is to convert
- They work with more than just one industry
- They stay up today with website design trends
- They have a process that works
- They’re there for you after the sale
- They aren’t giving their work away for free
They Listen to you
Nobody will know and understand your business the way you do. It’s not the website designer that lives and breathes your business, so you should have input. You know your customer, your product, your industry. If the company you are potentially hiring thinks they are too smart to hear what you have to say because they know better, you should move on. The purpose of a website design company or freelancer is to absorb, understand and implement your ideas in the best way possible.
They offer fresh ideas and inspiration
While having a listening ear is important, so is bringing fresh, creative ideas to the table. You may know your business best but who knows design best? Leave the design to the experts while you focus on what you know best – running your business. If you go to a design meeting and are met with a table of nodding heads you may be in the wrong spot. You want to work with a company that will challenge you not agree with everything you have to say. You want to work with a company that is an expert in their industry to match your expertise in your industry.
They understand and know how to use a content management system
If you are having conversations with a website design company that discourages using a content management system and would prefer to work with HTML or raw code don’t just walk run! You absolutely need a CMS for your website. Without this, you will be at a significant disadvantage. The best CMS on the market today is without a doubt WordPress. WordPress is the most popular way to design and build a website because it is easy to understand and use by the everyday person. It is set up for the end-user. This works to your benefit because once the website is completed, you can take over making simple changes like text and images instead of being handcuffed to the website design company that created it for you. If you have a company that is suggesting using a platform such as Squarespace or WIX, go ahead and move on. You don’t want to use one of those DIY website builders that lock you into poorly designed templates and charge you every month to use them. WordPress is what you call open source which means that it’s free to everyone and you do not have to pay to play.
Responsive website design comes with the territory, it’s not an add-on
Responsive website design is an industry standard. It is not an optional feature or something that you can do without. It is absolutely essential that your website is responsive to every device and every scenario. The last thing you want is a website that looks great on your desktop but is completely unusable on mobile. When responsive website design first emerged from the market, you would have to build both a desktop version and a mobile version. That is no longer the case. The way websites are built today is that you have one website that does it all. There are some scenarios where a separate mobile design is still used, though rare. One example of this is slack.com. Their mobile website is different from their desktop version because they are encouraging users that are using the mobile version to download and engage in their mobile app. Therefore the entire messaging strategy is completely different than what a desktop user would see.
They have a portfolio that showcases their best work
This is an essential feature that every website design company must-have. I do not know how a website design company could survive without this, but strangely you will see some websites out there that do a lot of talking but don’t actually show you the work. Their strategy is to talk up a big game and get you to call them. However times have changed, attention spans are short, in the best way to get somebody to call you is to Peacock a little and show them your best work. It is important to note that if they’re showing examples on their website they should be linking to the live website for you to view in real-time. Simply showing screenshots is not going to cut it. You need to be able to engage and interact with the website to see how it functions and flows. Plus, you want to make sure they are not stealing somebody else’s work which is an unfortunate trend. Be aware that if you are looking at high-profile design agencies they may not show everything in their portfolio because of NDA’s that are in place or simply because they don’t want to show all of their cards. However, keep in mind that if you are looking at a large exclusive design agency there is a pretty high price tag that goes along with that.
They are an established company with good reviews
Website design and development companies are a dime a dozen, so finding one that has a track record and valid reviews and an established history is definitely an important step when selected you are going to work with. It’s important to work with a company that will be around in years to come. You want to have confidence that you can shoot them an email or give them a call and 2 years or even 10 years and know they’re still around. You want to work with a website design company that you can establish both a history and a trusting relationship. As you will find out, or you may already know, there are a lot of snake and oil companies out there that will take your money and run or produce a website that is so terrible that you have to start over. For this reason, take careful time to read the reviews on Google or whatever platform you are viewing them on to get a good understanding of who they are and how they work. Do keep in mind, however, there may be some negative reviews out there. Read those reviews with a careful eye and make a decision for yourself. Every story has two sides. Sometimes, no matter what we do, or how hard we try, there are some people out there that you just cannot make happy.
They understand the website’s job is to convert
While a big part of website design is to make a website that is beautiful, a website also has a job to do. The goal is to have a website that will not only inform, but engage. You want people to interact with the call to action buttons, forms, and signups that you have placed on the website. The website must be to the point, easy to use, and clear to the viewer what action it is that you are wanting them to take.
They work with more than just one industry
There are quite a few website design companies out there that specialize in just one type of industry. So, for example, if you are a business coach you may be tempted to work with a company that only works on business coach websites. But hold on, let’s take a closer view into that. These types of companies are able to market themselves in this way because they work with a very limited amount of templates or designs. They have curated a handful of templates that they use for everybody. So, and now that means that your website looks like everybody else’s except you’ve changed out the words and maybe a few pictures. That is not such a good thing, especially if you are in a very competitive market. You want a website that will stand out, be different, and be memorable so that people come back for more and you don’t blend in with everybody else.
They stay up today with website design trends
The website design industry is constantly evolving and changing. There are always new tricks or fads that are coming out to impress. If you recall, parallax scrolling was quite popular a few years ago but that has taken a back seat. Scrolling web banners were all the rage, but we now know that most people don’t stick around long enough to even see the second slider, so why bother? Find a web designer that keeps up-to-date designs and will be able to make a website that looks like it’s from 2021.
They have a process that works
Each website design company has its own unique onboarding process. Some of the larger agencies may have strategic design meetings the last for days, or analytical data that they gather before starting the design. For me, I like to keep it simple. I start with getting an understanding of what the navigation strategy is. Next, we take a deep dive into the setup and structure of the home page. The home page is the most important page on the website because it is what gets people to engage and move past the home page. (This also affects your bounce rate.) Finally, we gather content for the interior pages and put it all together with your branding elements and imagery. We then leave time for reviews, changes, and then finally, we launch your new website.
They’re there for you after the sale
Be wary of a website design company that is like a factory. They bring them in and push them out. It’s all about the numbers and how quickly they can get your project done so they can move on to the next one. As mentioned earlier in this article, a solid website design company is there for you before, during, and after the build of your site. They continue to be a partner for you as your business grows and evolves. There are there to answer questions, help you get unstuck, and make suggestions for you when you have a problem that needs to be solved.
They aren’t giving their work away for free
Your website is a vital piece of your business, and when executed well, it will help your business grow and be profitable. Although you may know and understand that your website will be a return on your investment, it can be hard to face the up-front cost. With the digital world that we live in today, a business cannot survive without a beautiful and well-functioning website. Your site needs to bring in new customers, answer questions, and be a resource for potential clients. A website that’s made right could have a potential customer visit their website several times before they finally make that call. Repeat visits tell you that your site is providing valuable and worth-reading content. It often takes customers multiple visits to make a decision, so make sure to build a website that is more than just a sales tool.
There is no shortage of companies trying to sell website design for super cheap. Many of these companies are overseas, which means that labor comes cheap, but quality comes scarcely. You may look at the website and think it looks great while having no knowledge or understanding that the back end is a mess, or the site is built so poorly that Google reduces your rankings because of it. Google favors websites that are built with clean code. This is one of the reasons that a website built on the WordPress platform tends to do so well. In summary, don’t get stuck with buyer’s remorse. You don’t want to blow your budget on a website that you have to redo.