What to look for when hiring a website designer
Let me bust a myth up front - Your website won’t get you sales entirely on its own. There are essential things that your website needs to have but creating a website and hoping clients come piling through the internet ‘door’ is just not realistic.
The internet is saturated as are most of the industries we work in and for most new business owners, without effort (and good SEO, but we’ll get to that) we’re not going to be anywhere near the first few pages of Google. New websites are not easy to find without our own efforts to put ourselves out there. As consumers, we have so much choice so you can’t just make a website and wait for your customers to find you.
You need to find out where your customers are hanging out and INVITE THEM to your website.
You are the driving force behind your website and your business.
You do need your website to be clear, attractive, easy to use and functional so that when you get those visitors - they don’t leave within 0.5 seconds without reading or clicking a thing. This is where many new biz owners struggle. Great design is important. You’ve heard the saying “a picture paints a thousand words” and it’s so true. It has been researched that we have 0.2 seconds to make the right impression on our clients. I’m also sure you’ve been there too - when a website takes longer than a few seconds to load, you get bored and quickly click on something else.
If you’re in need of a website designer - here’s what to look out for >>
Figure out whether you’re hiring a designer, implementer or a developer.
These are often completely separate skills or you may find a website creator to be a combination of each. I’m a designer and implementer.
A designer will work on your website from a visual perspective - how it looks. They will mostly be responsible for styling your website so that it fits with your branding and showcases the content that you want to be displayed. Some designers only think of your website in terms of how it looks and not how it functions. You want a designer who understands visual communication (explained below).
An implementer involves more strategy and troubleshooting. It’s not just about creating a web presence, but more about creating solutions to problems that you have. For example, perhaps you’re a photographer and you wonder how you’ll be able to send the photos to your clients. An implementer might suggest the perfect software to create a password protected portal so your clients can login and look at their photos. I will often talk to clients about their ideas for a product or service and together we’ll come up with a way to make it happen.
A developer is responsible for creating the solution to a problem that you have or custom writing software that fulfils a need. Occasionally, if a client of mine wants something bespoke, that’s beyond my coding skills, I will hire a developer friend to create something from scratch. You may not need a developer, especially if you’re just starting out but a developer is what you might need if you want something more specific or something that doesn’t already exist.
Your designer should understand essential SEO.
SEO or ‘search engine optimisation’ (how you get found in search engines) is a skill on its own and there are experts you can hire to do this in depth - but your web designer should have a basic understanding of SEO and ensure that when they set up your website, that they are doing essential SEO maintenance too.
Your designer should understand visual communication.
There are TONS of talented designers out there who can create beautiful work. But when it comes to creating a website for your business, it’s important that your designer is not only skilled at creating attractive work, but that it also makes sense to your audience and the type of product or service you are selling. Your designer needs to understand visual communication - this is the practice of using visual signals to communicate precisely to your target market. This Is through choosing elements like colours, fonts and photography. Remember you have 0.2 seconds to make the right impression.
Your designer should understand sales and marketing
It’s all well and good having a pretty website, but you also want it to work for you too. Similar to SEO, there are expert marketing consultants you can hire to do this in depth, but I recommend looking out for a designer who understands marketing and how to structure a kick ass sales page. Make sure they add a call to action on every page!
Do you have questions about designing your own website or hiring someone? Let me know in the comments…