What to look for before spending your hard-earned time and money on a website designer.
When I go onto a website, I immediately check the footer for the link to the designer’s website. What I see is – usually – shocking. There is this idea out there that website designers know what they’re doing simply because they say they do, but small businesses do not appear to do very much background research on the web design companies with whom they choose to partner.
For example, a basic visit to a designer’s homepage usually reveals a garish, clunky, badly designed website that does very little to inspire imagination or encourage interaction with the website. The text is huge. The colours are bright (usually blue or purple). Buttons float when you hover over them. You know, standard website design company stuff.
Is this what a good website looks like?
Given what you see, do you think this company can take the unique aspects of your own individual business (also known as a brand), the things that make your business your business, and accurately convey it online? Or – and this is usually closer to the truth – is this company more likely to design a website that follows the current trend more closely than your unique brand?
Here are some things to keep in mind before hiring a web designer:
What is the style of their website? Is it blocky or minimal? Is it bright and colourful or earth-toned? What overall feeling does their website evoke?
The website designer’s own website gives you insight into their own personal style. Ask yourself, is this the style you want your website to appear in? If not, then you need to do a little more digging.
Your website designer should have a collection of previous work called a portfolio. A team of website designers will have either a collective portfolio or an individual collection; review it carefully. This will be a good indicator of the overall skills and, importantly, the company’s ability to embrace different styles to fit each unique project.
There are a lot of designers out there that did not learn their trade in school; there are pros and cons to this. Of course, dedicated self-starters with a passion for learning have much to offer, but if you’re looking for specific technical skills, it might be best to go with someone with professional training.
For example, at Lemontrii, we do not code websites. Instead, we create drag-and-drop websites that are easy for our clients to use after the project is complete. If you are looking for a custom-built website that will be professionally managed, then Lemontrii would not be the best fit. Take time to understand the limitations of a particular company.
As with anything that puts your time, effort, and money on the line, it’s important to do your research to make sure that you have found the best fit. Just because someone has experience with websites does not necessarily mean that they can accurately capture the look and feel that you are trying to achieve (and vice versa).
Take the time to discuss your company: its values, customers, and personality. Discuss how your company wants to make people feel when interacting with it. Ensure that your potential designer understands the nuances of the project and knows how to represent them online.