How to choose a good web designer

Choosing a Web Designer

The web design industry is unregulated. Anyone can call themselves a web designer which makes finding a good web designer difficult.

Even school kids or your mate who used to build PCs can call themselves a web designer.

So the question is, how to choose a good web designer from such a large choice?

To understand why there are so many different types of web designers, you need to have a basic understanding of what makes a good website. This does not mean you need to understand technical jargon (some jargon is explained here just in case).

The internet offers more opportunities to reach a wider audience than traditional marketing can. It’s a powerful and flexible sales tool. It works very differently than print media. And it’s vital that your web designer :

  • understands that your website is primarily a marketing tool for your business
  • tailors your website to your business
  • gets the best return for your investment
  • has all the skills needed to get the most out of your website

A web designer needs a broad background. It takes more than graphics, technology, or SEO to create a good website. They need to understand that your website is a marketing tool.  Also, that you treat it as a business investment and expect a good return for your money.

Communication

Picture of bad communicator talking jargon but not listening

Perhaps the easiest way to filter the mass of web designers is by how they communicate.

A good website designer will need to understand your business. It’s not about them.

A good website designer should be asking all about you, your business and the type of customer you want to target. They will help you make the right choices for your business with the right budget.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you feel their website is informative and communicates clearly and effectively?
  • If it does, is the designer approachable and friendly?
  • Can they communicate clearly and simply? (No jargon)
  • Do you feel they are there to help you and guide you. (Or just to make a quick profit?)

Remember, your website is all about you and what it can do for your business.

This is by no means the way to make a final choice. But it can quickly eliminate those that you feel less comfortable with.

The different kinds of web designer

The next step is to understand the different types of designers. That will help you understand the type of website you get and how it performs.

Different types of designers are there to fill different needs. The need is created by businesses making uninformed choices. The large number of designers doesn’t mean it’s easier to find a good one.

The following are very broad categories of designers. This should make things clearer for you before making a decision.

Do It Yourself Designer

There are many online services from which anyone can create a website. It’s possible to quickly create web pages based on a choice of pre-determined templates. Some allow for some layout customisation.

Do It Yourself designers can easily create a “web presence” for a business.

Do it yourself small business web designer

Sites created this way don’t usually include what’s needed for a good web design. So they don’t usually result in an effective marketing tool. And you can’t expect it to significantly increase revenue.

For some businesses this may be enough. They may already get enough work or sales through word of mouth. Their clients may just expect you to have a presence on the web. And they just want a good looking site to refer people to.

Alternately you can learn how to create an effective DIY small business website and decide if you want to invest the time.

Package Designers

A package web design company can create a “web presence” for you in a similar way to DIY Designs above.

With their experience, they’ll create something quicker than you can.

As with DIY design, sites created this way will ignore most of the features of good web design. Again, you can’t expect to get a significant increase in revenue. They’re unlikely to give you a good return on your investment.

Package designers can make money through :

  • quick turnaround times
  • additional changes or maintenance to your site
  • selling essential features as extras

Package designs are limited by what the package offers. Anything outside of that becomes expensive.

They won’t treat your website as a marketing tool. Most of what it takes to make a good web design won’t be up for discussion.

Package designs are a common cause for disappointment from businesses whose website ends up not performing.

As with DIY designers, a package design may be enough for some businesses. They may not want or need to increase sales though their website.

Graphic Designers

Graphic designer companies will customise the look of your site. A good graphic designer will create a site that looks unique to your business.

There’s a lot of variety in the resulting quality. Some graphically designed sites can actually reduce sales. They can make the site harder to find your way around due to distracting graphics or images. The sales message can become lost because there are so many visuals going on. This tends to be the case with cheaper offerings.

At much higher cost, some graphic designs do a great job at conveying a professional image for your company or product. A good custom graphic design can, on its own, convince some visitors to become customers. But this can only go so far.

Although much more expensive, like Package Designers, many of these fail to consider consumer psychology . While they look good, they’re not good at convincing undecided visitors to become customers.

Pleasing graphics undoubtedly help. On their own they work best for people who have already decided to buy . Those already aware of the brand or product and need no convincing.

Visitors who aren’t ready to buy are not persuaded otherwise. The nice graphics alone isn’t convincing enough without persuasive text. That’s a lot of lost opportunity for your business.

Think about your return on your investment Could you be getting a better return by investing in other areas?

High End Web Design

Some companies deliver both polished graphic design and create an effective marketing tool. By understanding the essentials of good web design , you can decide for yourself.

These companies, necessarily, charge high fees in the tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a lot of work, and they need to keep a lot of staff.

If you think you have found a cheap high end design company, go through the basics of what makes a good web design and see if anything is missing.

Only you can decide if the investment is right for your business. Or if a lower investment can give you a similar return.

Tailored Design

Unless you have unlimited funds, it makes sense to find a designer who guides you through the best return on your investment. You invest in the areas that give you the biggest return.

The looks (graphics) on your site are important. So is the technology behind it. As are being found by search engines and ongoing costs.

But nothing is as important as making sure your website is converting visitors into customers (sales).

If you have read our article on good web design, you’ll know this means treating your website design as a marketing tool. It means looking at how to attract the right visitors. How to convince the undecided that your product or service is right for them.

You can’t do that with a DIY or template site. You can’t do it with great looking design alone.

Unless you have unlimited funds, making sensible choices that maximise your return on investment makes sense.

With a tailored design, you can start off in the right direction and invest more over time if the returns justify it.

How to choose a good web designer – Summing Up

Choosing the right designer is difficult. But if you understand the different types of websites, and the different types of designers it can narrow down the choices.

You get what you pay for. Budget designs will give you budget returns. Spending more in the wrong places can also be a bad investment.

Unless budget isn’t important to you, it makes most sense to find a designer that can customise your site to best suit your business needs and budget.

At Backbone Web Designs we are dedicated to practical web design. We follow the practices we have talked about here. We want you to get the best return for your investment.

If you would like to chat about how we can help you make the right choices