Whether you're refreshing your current site or need a new one designing from scratch, hiring a website designer is a smart move. A good website developer will help you design and build a website that can make your business a success... provided you choose the right one! So, here are some tips on how to choose a website designer.

1. Look at previous work

The first thing that you need to consider is whether the website designer has practical experience in building websites. Most website designers will have portfolios showcasing previous designs. If they aren’t client websites, they’re usually example or test websites created specifically for prospective clients to view. You can ask for specific types of website, such as eCommerce, portfolios, or blogs. Try to get examples of the type of website that you would like. Some website designers specialise in one style and you should find a match that fits your needs. What you’re looking for is whether the website looks good, functions without errors, and is easily navigable. You can run example websites through speed tests and SEO software to check for suitability.

2. Which platform does the website designer use?

Another question is to consider what platform a website designer uses. There are numerous platforms available, including Magento, Joomla and WordPress. You will need to have a website built for the environment you want. If you’ve got no experience in managing a website, look at the pros and cons of several different platforms. You can speak to several website designers to hear their points of view. They might also be able to give you tours of example websites; this will give you a feel for the platform and whether it's a good fit for you. Even if you plan for the website designer to manage the maintenance of your website in the long term, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the platform it will be hosted on.

3. The SEO skills of the website designer

While the main idea of website design is to create a website that attracts customers, it's fruitless having a site no one will find. About 70% of your traffic should come from organic search. These are often new users who are unaware of your brand. But to achieve this, you need to be found on Google and other search engines. Therefore, you need to ensure you choose a designer familiar with good SEO practices. For instance, the speed of the website is really important; the faster your site takes to load, the higher the page will rank, resulting in more organic visits. At the same time, they should be able to upload images that are optimised for both speed and mobile devices.

4. Do you get along with your website designer?

Like any supplier relationship, one of the key factors on how to choose a website designer is whether or not you like their attitude and personal approach. You will need to work with them closely for a few weeks, so your chosen website designer will need to listen to you, communicate specific issues, and develop solutions effectively.

If you don’t get on with your website developer, this can make communications more challenging and the process of building your website much harder. In contrast, when you like your designer, the process is much smoother and it can actually speed up the process. You should speak to your potential developers at least a couple of times before selecting them. You can also ask for testimonials or contact details for existing clients to see what they have say about your chosen website designers.

5. What timescales are you looking at?

Another key aspect is what timescale you could face as your website is built. You probably want your website created quickly, but there aren’t many websites that can be built fast - not if you want them to be good and have good ranking potential, anyway. If you require a website built by a certain deadline, be sure to communicate this to the designer and see if this is a reasonable expectation. A good website developer might be able to give you specific dates when work will start, first drafts will be ready, and when you should expect completion.

6. What is part of the website design package?

Not all designers offer the same features within their packages. Some will include free minor alterations to your website throughout the design process; others will charge for changes if they’re not in the original brief. You might get support for six months after the website is built, or be left completely on your own after delivery. Some website packages only include a specific number of pages, with extra costs for additional ones. You might also have to supply all your own images, text, etc. Always check what the website designer is prepared to offer you before you choose them. There is no "better" package, rather, it is the package that is most suitable for your needs.

More tips on choosing a website designer

A simple checklist for choosing a website agency

When choosing a website design agency, here are some tips to consider:

Look at their portfolio:

Check out their previous work to see if their style aligns with what you're looking for.

Read reviews and testimonials:

See what other clients have to say about their experience working with the agency.

Consider their experience and expertise:

Check how long they have been in the industry, what kind of websites they specialise in, and if they have any relevant certifications.

Check their communication skills:

Ensure that the agency is responsive and communicates clearly throughout the process.

Discuss pricing and timelines:

Make sure you understand their pricing structure and timeline for completing the project.

Look for an agency that offers ongoing support:

It's important to have an agency that can provide ongoing maintenance and support for your website.

By considering these factors, you can select a website design agency that will create a website that meets your needs and helps you achieve your goals.

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