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There are many issues that can cause visitors to leave, but one of the biggest is design. Web designers and developers can charge thousands of dollars per project because they have the talent and expertise to elevate your business’s success online. At least, that’s the conventional wisdom.
Some designers can certainly do this, but just because someone claims to be an expert doesn’t mean they actually are. But unless you’re extremely familiar with web design, it can be hard to tell top talent apart from overpriced inexperience.
If you’re searching for a web designer, here are the questions to ask that will help you find the best one for your project.
Are your designs custom or based on templates?
Pre-made templates will shorten the design phase and cost less. However, they don’t do much to distinguish your website from others. A custom design will make your site stand out, and can be an exact match to what you envision. So also though they cost more and take longer, they’re typically preferable to looking just like your competitors.
If you have your heart set on one type of design or the other, it’s important to mention this in your initial contact with each designer. This way, you’ll avoid spending time discussing details with template-only designers if you want a custom site, and vice versa.
Are your designs responsive?
Today’s Internet users aren’t using just one device or one browser, yet some designers are still producing sites that only look good on desktop computers. If your site doesn’t perform just as well on smartphones, tablets, and various browsers, you’ll miss out on a significant portion of potential customers.
Talk to prospective designers about their design process. Do their designs migrate easily from one platform to another? Do they perform compatibility tests? What about mobile design? A designer that’s aware of the differences across platforms and devices will ensure users can access your site no matter what device they’re using.
What other services do you provide?
An attractive design and layout are the top priorities for many new site owners, but today’s web design involves more than just colors and fonts. One of the most important questions to ask a web designer is whether he or she offers other services that ensure the design meets your specific needs.
Ideally, the designer you choose will be familiar with design elements that boost conversions in your industry and know how to incorporate them into your site. And while most designers don’t offer SEO services, they should at least have a basic knowledge of SEO to make things a little easier on you or the agency you hire for optimization in the future.
Who will host the website?
During the design process, your design agency will likely use a staging site to host your project. This makes sense, since they’re the ones putting everything together. But what happens when the project is over? Will the designer keep everything, or hand it over to you? Get a clear answer before making your final decision.
There’s no right answer, but the question of ownership will impact future issues regarding maintenance and updates. If you decide to take ownership after the design stage, ask if the designer is willing to train your staff to manage the site. If the designer is going to host, ask what they offer in terms of maintenance and working with outside SEO agencies.
What will the project cost?
When you’re on a tight budget, cost matters. And even if your budget is relatively large, you should always get a cost estimate before starting on a web design project. Don’t just get a fixed number that may or may not be pulled out of the air, either. Get a detailed breakdown of how much the designer charges for each specific service, like we offer with our web design cost calculator.
Asking for estimates up front allows you to get a sense for what different agencies charge, and can also help you see where your money will go. If you want a basic package but the designer is adding services you don’t need, you can renegotiate the project and only pay for what you want—not what the designer wants to provide.
Do you have a web design portfolio?
A successful web designer will love to tell you all about their exemplary services and happy customers. Let them talk about the quality of his or her work, and ask for a web design portfolio or references from past clients.
Past projects are a solid indicator of the quality of work you should expect, and most designers display them prominently on their sites. Review their website for client testimonials and case studies, and see if you can find any other reviews online. If you can’t get a clear picture of past performance—or if clients are less than forthcoming about the designer—you may want to keep looking.
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Are you looking for an experienced web designer?
Web design is only the first step to a successful, revenue-generating website, but it’s one of the most important. The team you choose will play a big role in the look, usability, and revenue potential of your site, and it’s important to ask the right questions when identifying which one is the best fit for your company.
The more you know about the capabilities and services available from each designer, the better your chances of finding the right one for your business. And if you’re currently searching for a skilled web designer for your business, contact us today! Our talented design team has the expertise to build a beautiful and functional site that will help you succeed online.