If you've not worked with a website designer, or even if you have, there are things you should be look for when deciding if they're right for you. That's because, just like companies in your industry are different, not all web designers are the same either.
Here are the top 5 things to look for when trying to select a web designer for your website.
1. Is the style of the website designer your style?
Look at the sites they've done. Are they simplistic and look like so many other websites? If so, they're most likely using templates and not deviating from them. Of course, can can customize templates, but not many website designers do. You can see examples of the websites we've done here.
Now a template isn't necessarily a bad thing, but they do have a few drawbacks:
- They come with a ton of default code, which can conflict with plugins or modules that might be added.
- All that code can slow down the loading of your website, and load speed has been a Google ranking factor for years.
- Templates limit making the mobile version of your website simpler than the desktop version of your website. And they should be different because Google is using the mobile version of your site to determine how well your site should be ranked. Doesn't matter if most folks see your site on their desktop, Google is looking at the mobile version.
2. Does the web designer build your site mobile first?
As mentioned above, whether you're a home builder, plastic surgeon or Title company, and most of your prospects might be viewing your website on their desktop, Google is still looking at the mobile version of your site.
And as you would imagine, the majority of Google searches are done on mobile devices. Find out if the web designer you're looking at is following Google's new rules of mobile first.
As an example, see how we've done an abbreviated version of the mobile version of our website, below. Or if you're using the Firefox browser, you can go back to the homepage here, and condense the browser window to the size of a smart phone and see how it changes.
The desktop version of our homepage has 12 images in a grid:
The mobile version of our homepage only has 3 images:
3. What's their marketing perspective?
A marketing perspective isn't about you, but about what you do helps your customers. Essentially, they want to know what's in it for them. That's because people care more about themselves than you (or us). Nothing wrong with that.
If you want to know if a website designer has a marketing perspective, check out their site. If the homepage content is all about them, and not about what they can do for you, they're not marketing-focused. The Media Captain website is a good example of a design firm talking about themselves on their homepage.
Marketing is about putting your customers where they belong:
4. What type of images do they use?
Are they using silly stock photos in their websites? The right images are critical. If they're using boring stock shots on their, and their client's, websites, that's most likely what you'll be getting on yours.
When trying to visually show customer satisfaction, which image is more realistic and interesting? The top image is one we used in a client's blog about that topic. The bottom image is something we've seen on other websites.
5. Do they know SEO and how writing content for your website helps?
Anyone who knows your company and searches for it by name, will find your website. However, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is how people who don't know your company find you. SEO is how you get found in a Google search when people either:
- Don't know the name of your company, or
- Your company isn't top of mind for most folks.
Here's a blog to help you decide whether you should be writing for your website, or whether a professional writer should.
Essentially, the content on your website determines how well you rank in Google. Using keywords in headlines and copy (the focus keyword in this blog is "website designers,") which is used in the headline, body copy, naming of images, Alt Text tags, the Page Title and Meta Description.
When writing blogs for SEO, there's a module that lets you know how well you're doing. There's a lot of pieces and parts that go into blog writing, and the screen shot below shows you all the items that need to be addressed. Getting mostly green dots tells you you're doing a good job with your SEO.
If it looks like a lot of work, it is. Which is why having a professional write for your website is a good idea.