Hiring a web designer can be a scary thing. Not only is your website the public face of your business but it’s one of the first major investments most companies, bloggers, and organizations consider.
If you are like most start-ups I have worked with, you’ve probably wondered if you could benefit from a website or not, tossed and turned at night with questions you’re afraid to ask, or fear you’ll make the mistake of investing in someone who doesn’t invest what you expect back into your passion.
Well, for starters, every company can benefit from a website. Every. You can read why here. Secondly, I’m here, ask away! I’m not just a front end developer and blogger, I’m your friend. And last, but not least, this blog is dedicated to helping you avoid that exact mistake.
Five Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring a Web Designer
1. Paying too little.
Just like everything else in life, if it looks too good to be true, guess what… It is.
When you invest in a website, you are investing in a value adding asset. Don’t look at it as a financial drain but an investment in an employee that will be working for you 24/7 to find new customers, sell products, and answering questions for you.
By paying the least, you risk not getting what you need in a website, leading to a loss of customers and money.
2. Disregarding Updates and Maintenance
You have your domain, your design, and your development… What now? Well, I hate to say, it’s not going to run itself and if your budget only includes building the site, your investment will be wasted.
Some designers offer these services at an hourly rate or in a package deal. Personally, I offer this with my monthly hosting fee but not all web designers own their own servers either. Typically, you’ll find it an easier process to have the original web designer do your maintenance and updates because no one else will know the site as well as them.
Alternatively, you could ask your web designer to develop your site on a CMS (Content Management System) platform. Although this might cost a little more upfront, it will allow you (with a bit of training) to update and maintain your website on your own. And some web designers, like myself, offer a predetermined amount of hours for client training in their CMS package.
3. Insisting on a Local Partner
Welcome to the digital world. Most websites’ design and development can be done remotely, as your website will run remotely. The only benefit to a local designer is you get to see them in person, right? From my experience, handling meetings via Skype or phone call is just as personal and more convenient for us both, considering it is a business to business industry.
So don’t shy away from hiring a web designer that may be thousands of miles away.
4. Overlooking Hidden Fees
Beware of web design companies that lure you in with attractive rates, only to surprise you later with an endless barrage of up-sells and additional fees. Be clear from the start about the rate you are paying and what it includes.
A couple of red flags to look for when hiring a web designer is one that does not offer a satisfaction guarantee or don’t have many (or no) reviews.
A satisfaction guarantee shows the designer is serious about what they do and is just as concerned about your happiness as fulfilling the project’s milestones.
Having several quality reviews shows that the designer is genuinely doing good work and has people willing to stand behind them. Don’t be afraid to reach out to some of the website designer’s past clients to see how they felt about their experience.
5. Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
Professional SEO can become a very detailed and pricey project all on its own and not all web designers are educated in the matter. But your web designer should, at the very least, be able to make your website search engine friendly.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and has to do with how people find you in the organic (free) Google or Bing search results.
While search engine optimization involves much more than the structure of the site, starting with a solid foundation will give you the best chance to compete.
Ask your potential website designers how they intend to integrate search engine methods into your site before you hire them.
Hiring a good web designer all boils down to knowing what you want. I highly encourage you to take the time to do your research, not only on the potential designers but on what you need for your website to return the results you desire. This can be as simple as supplying inquiring customers with contact information or as complicated as needing an eCommerce website design and development that is integrated with your Shopify account.
And again, feel free to ask those questions! It’s only half as scary when you have someone to help you through the process.