If you want a sophisticated, responsive website, you'll need to hire a professional. But before you do that, check out this article on the 8 qualities to look for when hiring a web designer.
Hiring a web designer is a great idea for any startup, entrepreneur, or small business seeking to scale up an online presence. But how do you find the right designer for your company?
Every web designer will have a different style and personality, as well as varied preferred ways of working. Finding the right designer to fit your business needs can take some time if you're not sure what to look for.
Knowing which qualities you should be looking for will give you the confidence to find and hire the best web designer for your business and budget.
Eight Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Web Designer
When you're talking to a prospective designer for your business, be sure to find out if they possess these eight qualities before signing a contract.
1. Experience or Connections to Build Your Website
A web designer is not necessarily a web developer. Generally, a designer will take the technical back end of a website created by a developer and make it look stylish and easy to use.
Some designers are developers too, but if your designer works purely on the look of a website find out if they have a recommended developer that you could use to build the site. You don't have to use their developer but it could save you a lot of time and money to use a tried, tested, and trusted supplier who already works well with your designer.
If your web designer offers development, be sure to clarify whether this is included in the quote and if they outsource to a third party.
2. A Strong Web Presence
You need to know that your potential web designer can walk the talk. Check out their online presence - what does their website look like? Does it suit your business style?
Tim Oxendale a Web Designer in Wolverhampton, has a great example of a website that shows off his design experience in a concise and approachable way. The one-page scroll design makes it easy to navigate and shows an understanding of the importance of an easy user experience.
You might want a different style for your business than your web designer's site, which is why it's important to check their online portfolio too. This uses real-life examples to showcase a range of creative and web developer skills.
3. Flexible Post-Design Options
Do you want to take control of your website once it's been designed? Or would you like someone to tweak the look of it on an ongoing basis?
Some designers retain all rights while others are happy to hand everything over on project completion. Decide on whether you have the technical ability and time to update your website regularly, or if you'd prefer to have someone do it for you.
4. Use of Common Design Files
Find out what file type you will receive with all of your designs. A web designer that uses common software, such as InDesign or Illustrator, means you will be able to easily download and view files.
Those in more bespoke programs will be locked to a view-only mode and could limit your future rights on the use of the files. For example, if you want a logo refresh at a later date, a common file such as a .eps format will be easy for most designers to edit.
5. Clear Contract Parameters
Do you know how many revisions are included in the project price? Are there any extras that will be charged separately? What is the agreed project timescale?
Make sure your web designer has a clear contract that outlines clear expectations for both parties. Set deadlines and clarify what happens if either party misses a deadline.
6. Testimonials You Can Speak to in Real Life
Anybody can write a testimonial or six to include on their website. Ask your potential web designer for the contact details of their most recent projects so that you can talk to real people for a referral.
Find out whether their project was delivered on time, and if there were any particular snags the client found working with the designer.
If you're hiring a graduate web designer without any experience yet, ask for character references instead. You want to find out if the designer is trustworthy and reliable, able to deliver on time and is easy to work with.
7. Clear Demonstration of Culture Fit
Your web designer might be an external resource but still needs to fit in with your business vision and ethics.
If you operate in a more traditional business environment, for example, then a designer who seems to fit in a Google-style atmosphere may not fit well with the way you work.
Find out more about your web designer as a person: what do they do other than their job? What motivates them? What does a typical Saturday look like to them?
Learning more about their personality will help you to decide if you'll work well together.
8. Obvious Passion for Web Design
There are very tedious elements to web design as well as the creative parts. It's a job that can only be done well by someone who has a passion for it.
Those in it for the money are more likely to skip over the boring bits or deliver lower-quality work than a person with genuine enthusiasm for great web design.
Find out what motivates your web designer and what makes them strive to deliver high-quality work. Ask if they can tell you about the latest industry trends: someone who can reel off a list of relevant information is clearly passionate and keeps up with their industry.
Next Steps to a Great Web Presence
Once you're in the process of hiring a web designer it's time to consider how you'll get traffic to your new website.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is part of web design but also so much more. The content of your website is what Google and other search engines analyze whenever someone makes a search request.
Search our list of SEO articles to learn more about optimizing your new website for maximum traffic!