Every time you pay someone to perform a service for you, it’s going to be a risk. Be that something simple and short-term like hiring a musician for your wedding party or something a bit riskier like hiring a web designer. No matter how complex and severe your search for the best option might have been, you are still paying someone to perform a task and TRUSTING them to do it well. There is no guarantee that those you hire will do what you want exactly the way you want it. Seriously, think about it. NO GUARANTEE! Isn’t that crazy?!
While this might sound like an exaggerated point of view from a random guy on the internet, it has to be in the essence of our decision-making process when hiring a person to do something for us. And since I have had some personal experience regarding hiring incompetent web designers, I thought it would be a good thing to give you some insight into hiring a web designer and what you should have in mind when doing so. I write this as a skeptical consumer and professional know-a-bad-web-designer-when-I-see-one specialist.
So, without any further ado, let’s see what you should have in mind when hiring a web designer:
Finding a Good Web Designer
If you are a fellow skeptic, you know that you can never be content with a purchase if you haven’t thoroughly rummaged through the whole market. In the same way, researching every nook and cranny of the internet in order to find a promising web designer is a must. There are undoubtedly many sites on the web that were built specifically for that purpose.
Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and such, which you are indeed familiar with, are filled with freelance web designers who could provide what you are looking for. If that wasn’t enough, how about going through different social media networks? There are surely many web designers there with their entire portfolio on display. You will have no problems with selecting your preferred web designers if you know what you are looking for, and even if freelancers aren’t your cup of tea (wouldn’t blame you on that one). There are many companies out there that you can work with.
One of the advantages of choosing a company is receiving the complete package of services, including web development, SEO, and marketing. But keep that in mind; the process of looking for a “good” company is as hard as finding a “good” freelancer. You have to always be thorough with your research. Just remember not to go for the super cheap ones.
Selecting the Best Web Designer
Now that the research and selection phase is done, it’s time for examination. There are a few things you must be aware of when judging a web designer’s portfolio:
- While the website should be “pleasant to look upon”, it isn’t worth a damn if it isn’t navigable. Breadcrumbs and search bars are reasonable solutions.
- The design of the website must be aligned with its purpose. For instance, an e-commerce store’s web design must prioritise branding and professionality.
- A website must present its content to the viewer in a cohesive way, and it must be accessible to all users.
- There must be consistency in the design. It isn’t exactly creative if every page or even every part of a page looks different. Variety is nice, but inconsistency isn’t.
- Even if the website looks perfect, does it matter if it loads as slow as the sloth in Zootopia? Optimising the load time of pages by using lighter assets (while partly the duty of a web developer) is essential for any web designer.
- Sometimes the website has all of the points mentioned above and even other factors checked and dealt with, but it’s another form of disaster when you change your device (or even monitor). Responsive web design and mobile optimisation are essential, too.
Certainly, there are more factors of good web design, but these are enough to help a customer find a competent web designer. If you aren’t that familiar with all this tech mumbo jumbo, look forward to my future blogs explaining everything in a more beginner-friendly way.
Communicating with Your Web Designer
Talking to the person you are hiring and telling them what you want from them might sound easy enough. But a lot of people can’t fathom the necessity of constructive communication. Not only should you discuss everything your site wants to be and plan every strategy, but you must also let your designer in on where everything stands in the most comprehensible way possible. When you are communicating with the web designer, there are certain things you must keep in mind:
- Be blunt. You are paying a rather significant chunk of money to a stranger to design a website for you. They can’t read your mind, and they certainly can’t fully understand your goals unless you explain everything to them.
- Know EXACTLY what you want because if you give the designer vague ideas, the result will probably not be what you want. If you can, decide on everything you need before hiring a web designer.
- Have only one person explain your needs and requests to the designer. You don’t want to have too many cooks in one kitchen.
- Trust your designer. You paid for those services. If you want the designer to uphold them, try not to interfere with their work too much.
It’s also important to note that hiring a web designer who will provide full customer support is the fundamental way to accomplish the tasks above.
Miscellaneous (SEO, Content, Development, etc.)
As redundant as it might be, you need more than web design to start a website and many more things to get it to where you want (high traffic and such). No matter how talented a person may be, a web designer can’t provide all sorts of website building services. Some are designers at heart, some are good programmers, some are SEO specialists, some are good content creators, but you can’t expect them to be all of that at once.
If you are looking for the complete package, you should look for a company. Try googling the obvious keywords like best web design services in Sydney or best SEO company in Brisbane. Keep that in mind that you don’t HAVE to work with a company that resides in your city. Try googling all sorts of keywords to find good companies and list them afterward. Then, do as we discussed in the “Finding a Good Web Designer” part.
Even if you are not as sensitive as I am about hiring people, you should at least look into the matter of hiring a web designer more seriously. And if you have a business site, you should be ten times more serious than that! All in all, hiring a web designer might be a long and critical process, but if you put some effort into deducing what’s best for you and what isn’t, you have a higher chance of finding a suitable web designer.