Choose the right web designer – 5 tips

Web design is now considered an integral part of the marketing mix for many companies. It’s become so mainstream that businesses are now onto their third or fourth iteration of their website with many understanding the processes that go along with building a great site.

However, like many technology related industries, web design is constantly changing.

Around the end of the nineties web design was still an emerging market and was generally the work of people who were still discovering how it all worked and where they fitted in. Whether they wanted to be a front end creative designer, or a back end developer was important, just like convincing a small business to part with their hard earned dollars on this emerging trend.

Many might not know that I once owned a web design agency here in Brisbane with my brother Al from 1999 to 2006. We built this business into one of the most successful web design agencies in Queensland and had 25 staff and many great clients.

What we did well though was treat it like a business from day one, rather than a design company doing “art”. And this was the main thing that fuelled the growth. This allowed us to relate to our clients on a B2B level, and removed the ambiguities that sometimes shroud web projects.

So how does a company choose a web designer for their next project? Here are five tips.

Tip 1 – Look at how happy the staff are. If the staff are keen, happy and genuinely excited up to help you, then they are more likely to get excited about your web project and do a great job scoping, designing and developing this important channel. Facebook is a good resource to check out here too, and you can tell a lot from the Christmas party photos to see if the web design partner and their team is going to be the right fit for your business.

Tip 2 – Check out the portfolio page. A great looking portfolio of like minded businesses shows you how well equipped the web designer will be to handle your project. Some designers are better at front end design, and others at back end database and mobile app development, so look at the case studies and talk to their clients too, after letting the designer know you might call them of course!

Tip 3 – Creativity and innovation in the proposal. No one likes a cookie cutter! I would look to choose a web designer that “wows” you with not only their face-to-face meetings, but their proposals and presentations. Thinking and planning a great web project takes effort, and if they put it in, then they are more likely to think outside the square when designing your creative assets that will in turn potentially give you more sales leads.

Tip 4 – Have a focus on the latest trends. A good designer will be thinking responsive design, mobile apps and usability. And then there is copy considerations (inverted pyramid of course), content marketing ideas and the integration of digital into a business. I am not one for the latest and flashiest website trends that might be unproven, rather how the designer will integrate the right tools into the client’s business environment. We want to avoid the late nineties again when many designers were running around town trying to get every single business to do an eCommerce shopping cart website, even when many clients didn’t need one.

Tip 5 – They understand digital marketing. When you finish building a website, in some ways this is just the start of the digital marketing process. Make sure the web designer understands that they need to partner with a digital marketing business to drive the best traffic (SEO, PPC, Social etc) and don’t try to do it themselves. After all, they are specialists in one area of the web and may not be able to drive great traffic to your site like a pure digital marketing agency can.

A final tip (does this make it 6?) is to always go with your instinct and rapport that you get from them when selecting a web design partner, combined with referee checks and previous reputation through social media and online searches.

At Reload Media, we partner with some great web design companies who can help you out on your next project. Check out some of them here.

All the best and let me know if you need me to help in the selection of your next web design partner.