How to Choose a Web Designer | Project Pi

How to Choose a Web Designer

We hate saying this, but the bar for being a web designer nowadays is getting lower and lower. This is mostly due to the number of drag-and-drop page builders available, such as Wix, SquareSpace and such. You see, back in the days, one must learn the craft of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and SQL to build websites; but these page builders allow people with little to no knowledge in these areas to design websites visually, which is a double-edged sword. The reason being, if anyone can build a website, how do you know the web designer you hired is actually any good?

Ask What CMS Your Web Designer Uses

CMS stands for Content Management System, which is a system that lets users design and maintain websites modularly. If your web designer uses one of the following website builders, chances are he or she has little to no technical knowledge regarding web design:

  • Weebly
  • Wix
  • DudaOne
  • SquareSpace
  • GoDaddy
  • Shopify
  • WebFlow

This list is by no mean comprehensive, and we might update it from time to time. So you might ask, as long as it can build a website, who cares? The problem is, if a person doesn’t understand what a website is made of and how it works, then how does he or she properly design, test your website for different devices and browsers, and optimize it usability, speed, search engine visibility? If your web designer has to resort to using one of these page builders, chances are he or she would just be using a pre-built template, which means you won’t get a website that stands out from your competition. Additionally, a lot of these drag-and-drop site builders aren’t very good at all. For example, Wix didn’t have mobile responsive website templates in the past, and its own website, as well as DudaOne’s, have unacceptable page load times. As a comparison, most of the sites we build load between 1 to 2 seconds, plus another 0.5 second when Facebook Pixel tracking is used. The reason why speed is so important is because it matters to user experience, and search engines, such as Google, penalize slow websites so they rank worse in search results. That’s bad for business. Another example, WebFlow’s own home page doesn’t even render properly in Facebook’s browser. Why would you trust anyone to build your website with one of these tools? I surely wouldn’t.

DudaOne website builder has slow load time.

Wix's own home page has ridiculously slow load time.

Check Your Web Designer’s Portfolio

Whether it’s a freelancer or agency you’re thinking of hiring, check their website and the websites in their portfolio to see if they’re well made. First thing you want to check is if they are visually pleasing, if not, why would you hire them? Then you check to see how these websites perform on mobile devices and different resolutions. Are things scaling and positioned properly? If not, they either don’t know much about website design, or they didn’t do enough testing before launching. The third step is to check website load time, and you can do so on GTMetrix.com or Pingdom.com. Pages should load under 2 seconds, unless there are background videos playing. After that, you should check if their websites rank well in search engines. If not, what are the chances that they’re capable of building you a website that’s going to get you leads?

Check Reviews & Testimonies

You should be able to find the freelancer or agency’s review on Google, Facebook, Yelp and sometimes the Better Business Bureau. If not, they probably don’t know much about search engine optimization, so then again, why would you hire them? If the ratings aren’t good, you might want to avoid them.

What Does Your Agency or Freelancer Do for You?

Every commercial website project should start with keyword and SEO strategy planning. After all, the point of having a website is to get leads and convert them into customers. So is your web designer agency doing the following?

  • Getting to know about your products and services so they can write search engine optimized copies for your pages.
  • Providing you with a keyword strategy with forecast on search volume.
  • Asking you what your most profitable products and services are so they can focus on those first.
  • Suggesting that you blog or help you with content updates on regular basis to maximize search engine exposure.

Again, if these things aren’t done, your web designer either doesn’t understand their importance or simply doesn’t care if your website brings you the ROI you deserve.

Don’t Forget Commercial Insurance

While this has nothing to do with your website’s profitability, it’s an important that your digital asset, meaning your website and potentially your customers’ info is covered by insurance should anything go wrong. Having liability insurance is a sign that a company takes your business seriously, which most freelancers lack.

Summary

In this article, we discuss ways to help you choose a good web designer and avoid the bad ones. You wouldn’t hire a non-professional to build your store, so why would you with your digital storefront? We at Project Pi Consulting has years of building properly designed, search engine-optimized, custom websites. If you’re unsure of whom to trust, we’re always happy to help. We have staff in Kelowna, BC and Regina, SK. You can get a free website assessment and quote from us by clicking the button below.

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