Every business owner knows that a website will help their business, but do you realize how important it actually is? 80% of your customers research businesses online before they buy.
If they're trying to research you and they don't find a website, it's bad news for you. They may worry that you're unprofessional, unreliable, or hard to contact if they have a problem.
To make your web presence work for you, you need a site that shouts your brand from the rooftops. It also needs to have all the usability and information your customers need. The only way to get that is by hiring the right web designer. In your search, avoid these common mistakes.
Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Web Designer
Depending on the designer you hire, your site's design process could be a money-making miracle or an expensive mistake. Steer clear of these common mistakes.
1. Not Being On the Same Page with Your Scope
Before you start meeting with potential designers, you have to know what you want. Create a list of the pages you want on your website. If possible, get input from someone who knows search engine optimization so they can make sure you have the content you need.
Head into every interview for website designers with this list in hand. Make sure they're on the same page and are willing to adhere to the scope you've set.
Some designers will try to push you to do a more complex site than you need. After all, it would mean more money for them. It's okay if they want to recommend certain features, but if they're too aggressive about pushing for upgrades, they aren't the right fit.
2. A Good Candidate on Paper Only
Chances are that you've hired people before or you've at least been involved in the process. You know that a resume never tells the full story of a candidate's abilities.
The same is true for a web designer. You might see that they're self-taught and assume they don't have the skills to get the job done.
You might see that they have a 4-year degree or have been designing sites for 10 years and think they're a pro. In reality, all their knowledge of web design could be 10 or 15 years old, making them unable to do the modern functions you need.
Instead, ask for a portfolio or work samples from each candidate. Make sure they have experience doing the types of features you need. It's also helpful to get references so you can speak with their past clients about their work.
3. Someone Who Doesn't Get Your Brand
Your website may be the most essential and powerful branding tool you have. It's an opportunity to introduce every user to your company's personality and purpose. No pressure.
For a web designer to capture that brand in your site, they need to "get" your brand. If they don't have a firm grasp on the brand you want to portray, they won't be able to communicate it to your customers through your site.
As you meet with potential designers, use this as a tool. Discuss your brand and who your company is and see if they seem to identify with it or understand it. You can even create an interview task with this purpose.
4. Unclear Price Estimates
It's never a wise business decision to commit to a project with no idea what the cost will be. Web design is no exception.
Most designers charge by the hour, and each designer you interview should have a specific hourly figure. Of course, how do you know if your site will take them 10 hours or 100 hours?
Remember that sitemap of pages we mentioned above? This is another reason that's so crucial. The designer should be able to look at this list and give you an estimate on the number of hours they'll need for the site.
Remember that this isn't a hard-and-fast number. Complications often arise while building a site. Still, an honest designer should be able to give you an estimate or a range before they begin.
5. A Locked-Down Ecosystem
No matter how perfect your website is, you're going to need to make changes to it often. You may need to update some content, add a new page as your services expand, or update your logo.
You don't want your designer to lock down your site so they're the only one who can make changes in the future. This is a tactic they might try to ensure that you will pay them more money in the future.
Emphasize from the start that you need a site you can easily edit down the line. As you speak with a designer's references, make sure this is what they've delivered to those clients too.
6. A Designer with Too Much Work
If you don't have a website or if your site is outdated, you're leaving money on the table every day it stays that way. While you don't want to rush the job and get a poor-quality site, you want your new website to be done in a reasonable timeframe.
As you interview web designers, ask them about their availability. How many other websites are they working on right now? Is this their full-time job or are they doing it on the side?
If a designer has a separate full-time job and has three other sites on their to-do list, chances are that it will be a long time before your site is ready. From the first meeting, tell the designer about your goal timeline and find out if they're up for the task.
Finding Your Dream Designer
A well-designed, modern, brand-forward website can be one of the best tools your company has. It can be the gateway to expanding your customer base and enhancing your reputation.
All of that hinges on the web designer you hire. Avoiding the common mistakes and problems above can help you find the designer who understands what you need and can get it done in a timely manner.
If you're ready to get started using the internet to your advantage, contact our web design and SEO professionals today.