Hiring a Web Designer to Build Your Website?
In today’s digital age, having a website is essential for any business to reach its target audience and grow. That said, creating a website that represents your brand and meets your business needs requires hiring a web designer. Finding the right person or agency to handle your web design project can be a major challenge, and that’s before the actual work part of your project even gets started!
If you google “web design Vancouver”, for example, hundreds of different freelance web designers, digital marketing agencies, and everything in between will pop up in your results. With such a saturated market and an endless supply of web design choices, how do you know if you’re making the right decision?
Choosing the right professional for your web design project is no easy feat, but avoiding these top 10 mistakes will make the process that little bit easier. Of course, if you want to make the right decision off the bat, Idea Marketing is your one stop shop for all things web design and digital marketing – hiring us is never a mistake!
However, there are many mistakes people make when hiring a web designer, which can lead to costly errors and a website that doesn’t meet expectations. In this article, we’ll outline 10 mistakes to avoid when hiring a web designer.
1. Not Knowing What You Want
Website Design Mistake #1
The very first mistake that will cost you when it comes to your web design project is not coming into the conversation prepared. Now, this is not to say that you need to have absolutely everything figured out. The right web designer will also bring great ideas and suggestions to the table and will make the web design process collaborative.
However, they will need something to build off of.
Be sure to come in with an idea of:
- Your budget
- How large your website is going to be
- How you see your company growing in the next few years
- Some design inspiration
- The type of features your website will need
Being as clear as you can be on as many of those points as possible will not only help your web design project go as smoothly as possible from your designer’s end, but will ensure that you get the product you want without dragging along the process with endless decision changes and revisions because you were unclear of your goals.
Be as open and honest about what you want your web design project to achieve from the start, but also be sure to be honest about what you haven’t figured out as well. The right web designer will be able to help you fill in the gaps and deliver a product that meets all your expectations – including the ones that you didn’t know you had.
2. Paying Too Much
Website Design Mistake #2
The cost of building a website can vary so greatly that it is sometimes difficult to know when you are being overcharged. The key to knowing what to pay for your website is to first set a defined budget, and then look at the quality of work you will be receiving. Larger agencies tend to be more expensive, which makes sense – they are high value operations with multiple employees and more resources. They tend to be able to get things done quicker and to a high industry standard, and thus will charge more.
However, if you’re a small business who doesn’t need that complex of a project, do you really need all that? Take a look at web design businesses that are close to your size in scope, and compare the rates you are offered between them. Look at what services each proposal includes, and most importantly, look at the quality of work each web designer has already produced to see if it aligns with your own expectations.
Web design will always be an investment, but it doesn’t have to completely break the bank. At the end of the day, all websites are made from the same components – it just comes down to finding someone who will put them together the way you need and for the right price.
3. Paying Too Little
Website Design Mistake #3
One of the golden rules when it comes to business is that if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. Web design is no different, and for the level of importance that having a good website holds for your business, web design is one area you definitely don’t want to skimp out on. Like so many things, cheap web design is very easy to spot, and will be obvious to your audience. “Saving” money by having a website that doesn’t look great, delivers a bad user experience, and represents your business poorly, will cost you far more down the road.
Cheap web designers are often selling website templates disguised as customized designs in order to save them time and effort. They are also often difficult to reach, will offer little to no support, and will rush your job by skipping over vital steps. Remember, if you think good design is expensive, just wait until you see the cost of bad design!
4. Not Being Involved
Website Design Mistake #4
Harkening back to our very first point, a web designer can only do so much for you if they don’t know what you want. The most effective web design projects are collaborative, and rely on consistent communication between the client and the designer.
As much as your web designer is a professional who can handle the job of designing your website to be the best that it can, it’s you who knows your business best along with its needs and goals.The more information you can provide your web designer about who you are and what you do, and the quicker you can give them feedback about the various updates to your web design project, the better a product you will receive at the end.The more you can give to your web designer, the more they can give to you.
5. Expecting a Web Designer and Web Developer All in One
Website Design Mistake #5
Though it may not sound like it, and though many agencies offer both, web design and web development are two separate services. Web design focuses on your website’s aesthetic look and visual components, the user experience your visitors will be provided with, and the general navigation and layout of your web design project.
Web development, on the other hand, focuses on using programming languages to code your web design into existence, incorporating buttons and other interactivity, and generally bringing functionality into your site’s design. Be careful when hiring your web designer that you know exactly what services you are being offered. In many cases, especially when hiring larger agencies, both web design and web development services will be included, but this is not always the case. Be prepared to hire an external web developer in addition to your web designer for a fully completed project.
6. Not Using a CMS
Website Design Mistake #6
There are two primary ways to build websites – through website builders or through content management systems (CMS’). If your web designer doesn’t opt for a CMS, run for the hills and find one who will. The main reason for this is that content management systems give you full ownership over your web design project once it is complete. This means you will be able to edit and update it whenever you want without needing to hire outside help, and you will also have control over where you host and store your web files.
CMS’ also allow for complete custom builds, which means your web designer will be able to create your website completely from scratch and according to your business’ exact needs, instead of relying on a prebuilt template if you so choose. Website builders, on the other hand, are much more limited in what they can do and can only be template based. They are also only hostable on their own platform, meaning you have to pay monthly fees and will be unable to relocate your website easily. The main thing you are looking for in this instance is control, and any web designer worth their salt will choose a content management system that will give you agency over your own website.
7. Choosing the First Web Designer You Find
Website Design Mistake #7
We get it – there is an overwhelming amount of choice out there, and it can be tempting to simply choose the first web designer you find and hope for the best. Competitor analysis, however, is a major part of setting your web design project up for success. Every web designer and agency differs in the specific services they offer, price ranges they work within, and of course, their quality of work.
The truth is that not every web designer is suited to every business, and that’s ok! What’s less ok is hiring the wrong person anyway because you didn’t conduct due diligence. Take a look at their own website – is it attractive? Functional? Easy to find? Does their portfolio have projects that you like the look of? What additional services are they offering? When you contact them, how quickly do they get back to you? Will you own your web design project when it’s done or will you have to pay more down the road to update it?
While you can’t try out every single company, you absolutely can – and should – shop around. Choose a web designer who practices what they preach, and most importantly aligns with the specific goals you have for your project.
8. Not Taking Advantage of the Full Range of Services
Website Design Mistake #8
Every web designer will offer a range of service options, so if you’re already paying for them, take advantage of them! For example, at Idea Marketing, we include unlimited revisions in our web design pricing, while other agencies will limit you to 3 or 4 revisions. If there’s something you want changed in your web design project and it costs nothing to change it, then do so! Be sure to take full advantage of the services being offered.
It’s also not a bad idea to look at all the additional services that are being offered, as your web designer will often create special discounted package deals for you as you are already a client. It’s not worth it to find out you need additional content writing or SEO services down the road, when you could have already gotten your web designer to handle these marketing aspects at a lower cost when you had the chance.
9. Being Impatient
Website Design Mistake #9
Quality web design, like all good things, takes time. As much as you may have a busy schedule, tight deadlines, and an urgent need to get your website up and running, rushing the process will only cause trouble for you down the road. Web designers vary on how quickly they can get your project finished, depending on how large scale their operation is, how complex your project is, how fast you are able to provide feedback and content, and a host of other factors. The most important thing of all, however, is to trust the process.
Rushing your web designer will mean cutting corners, paying less attention to detail, skipping out on testing, and generally not letting the full web design process run its course. If you value speed over quality, there is no doubt that you will damage your project in the long run. That being said, the better prepared you are as a client, the faster your web design project will go.
10. Not Considering Web Maintenance
Website Design Mistake #10
Web design projects, though they may sound like it, are not one time business deals. Your finished website will need regular maintenance, which includes editing and updating your content, keeping your site secure and protected, and responding to the changes and growth that your business will end up going through over time. It is really important to decide what your web maintenance will look like at the beginning of your web design project so that you can be as prepared as possible going forward.
Do you plan on conducting maintenance yourself? If so, how much time and effort are you willing to put into this? Do you expect to continue your relationship with your designer and let them handle maintenance? If so, is this a service they even offer? What capabilities and pricing packages are available to you? These are all considerations you will need to be aware of when choosing your web designer, or they will catch you out later on and leave you with a website that is no longer meeting your needs!
Finding a good partnership to take on your web design project can be a stressful and time-consuming process, but these 10 steps should help you weed out web designers who aren’t going to fulfill your expectations.
After all, the best way to guarantee success is to make sure you are starting out on the right foot! Fortunately, none of these mistakes will be an issue when you choose Idea Marketing for your web design project. We specialize in custom WordPress websites for our host of small business clients, and would love to design one just for you! Contact us to set up a free consultation today!