Top 10 Things To Consider When Choosing A Website Designer
Starting or even updating your business website can be a daunting process these days. I get asked a lot of similar questions regarding setting up a website, so thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of some of the top things to consider when choosing a web designer.
A website for your business is a big investment and your shop window for online visitors, so you’ll want to make sure you choose the right website designer to help.
In this post, I’ll list out the top 10 things to think about when choosing a web designer (in no particular order).
Need help choosing a web designer?
1. use a local web designer
I would always recommend using a local web designer, this way you can arrange to meet in person if required to discuss design details or just get to know each other. A local web designer should also have a good understanding of your business service areas and how to best utilise this for your web design.
I generally work with customers in Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset and Hampshire. I get to meet many of my clients and find this helps me to deliver and exceed expectations. Communication is key when designing a website for your new or existing business.
2. How to Choose a Web Domain
If you don’t already have one you will need to choose a web domain name for your business website (www). Your web designer can take care of this for you if required and these usually cost around £10 per year to renew. I usually recommend choosing a .com web domain, however, you can try a .co.uk if the .com is already taken. I use namecheap for all my web domains.
3. What kind of Web Hosting to use?
Your website will need to be hosted with a good web hosting company. A web designer can use any number of web hosts available and not all are equal in quality. You generally get what you pay for with hosting so you’ll want to check what type and quality your web designer will be providing you with.
Some web designers like myself will provide free SSL web hosting free for the 1st year. Some will charge a monthly fee and others will ask for the web hosting payment upfront. Your web designer should look after the hosting side of things for you. Expect to pay between £100-200 per year for good quality WordPress hosting.
You will want to make sure that your web hosting is fast, secure and has backup options. Web hosting is a vital part of your business website, so you’ll want to make sure you’re with a good one. I use one of the best web hosts for WordPress websites – Siteground. Google now penalises websites with slow loading pages, so it’s important to choose a fast web host.
4. Web Design Examples, Recent Work and Reviews
When choosing a web designer it’s a good idea to take a look through previously completed websites to see what kind of style of website they produce.
I always ensure my portfolio is kept updated with recent work including images and links so my potential clients can view or visit the website. If the web designer you are considering doesn’t have any recent work on show this could be a bad sign…
Any decent web designer will want to show off their recent work and reviews to potential new clients. You can also check for reviews on Google My Business.
5. Website design
Most web designers use WordPress as a website platform as it’s easy to design with and update. It’s also user-friendly for clients to update when required.
I provide all of my clients with training on how to update content or use blogs etc. You will want to make sure you have these options available to you when choosing a web designer.
You will also need to ensure your website is fully responsive on any device. Google now penalises websites that are not responsive as more people now browse using their phones than traditional desktop computers.
You’ll want to ensure you have some input over the web design. Many web designers use pre-purchased templates and these are not always easy to customise. I create my own so I have full control over the web design and can ensure any design options for my clients.
6. Web design with SEO in mind
I’ve written a quite few articles on SEO recently (these can be found on my Blog). When choosing a web designer for your website you will want to check that they understand SEO and how to use it correctly for your web design. Do they optimise your website or provide a blog for you?
A good place to start is to evaluate their SEO, how high in search results is their website for terms such as web design or web design bournemouth etc? You can also check this for any website they have completed for other businesses.
You can also see if their website has a bespoke SEO page or any articles on SEO. It’s important to use a web designer who understands SEO when creating a new or updating an existing website. Having a poorly optimised website will not give you the edge over your competition or rank well with Google.
Some web designers will instantly offer Pay Per Click services, however, if you’re a small to medium business you will want to try and rank organically rather than having to pay in the initial instance. I’ve spoken to many clients who were paying a fortune for PPC advertising when just a few simple changes were required to their website to make a big difference in search rankings.
I have a great understanding of the benefits of SEO and how to best use it for websites and web design. If you’re based in Bournemouth or Poole please contact me for all things SEO.
7. Website images and content
One of the biggest challenges when creating a new business website is putting all the written and content together. On paper this seems fairly straightforward, however, it can be a challenging task.
You’ll want a web designer who is experienced at helping with this and someone who can also help with sourcing images for you. Check out my article on how to source royalty free stock images here.
I have a background in photography and a good understanding of image editing, which helps with my web design. Make sure your web designer can help with content and images if required, otherwise the design process can take much longer than planned!
8. Website security and back-up
You’ll want to ensure your website is secure and fully backed regularly. Most of this takes place at web hosting level, however, there are several steps a good web designer can take to ensure security is further hardened with WordPress. You may also want to check if your web designer has insurance against systems outages or similar issues.
9. Customer Support
When choosing a web designer for your business website they must be able to provide you with on-going support for any changes, updates or general help. This can sometimes be assessed by reading through previous reviews.
You’ll want to work with someone reliable and able to support you when required within reasonable timescales.
I provide all my clients with customer support and training for areas such as WordPress blogging, SEO and general ideas on how to improve all things online. I’m also always available by phone or email as I know how frustrating it can be when you can’t get the support you need.
10. How much does a website cost?
Web design prices can vary quite a bit depending on which web designer you choose to work with. A web design agency is going to cost you a lot more.
Try to think of your web designer as an investment in your business, as often the web designer adds far more value than just designing your website.
I keep all of my clients WordPress websites updated with the latest plugins and backed up to ensure things are running smoothly. Some web designers will charge a monthly or yearly fee for this service – I currently don’t.
Overall, you’ll want to have a reliable, capable and friendly service from your web designer as this will result in a great working relationship that will benefit your business.
I hope this article will help to give you some ideas about choosing a web designer for your business! As always, if you’re based in Bournemouth, Poole or Dorset and would like a new website or update on your existing one please give me a call 07714 795415