I believe in refreshing your website every 1-2 years. Technology changes so fast and so do trends in web design and how users will interface with your brand both on their computer and mobile device. However, finding the right web design team can be a daunting task. How do you trust that they will come through for you? Over the years I have found that very few web designers can deliver when they say they will. Be picky if launching on time and good communication are important to you. Here are my 7 MUST haves you should look for in a web designer:
1. Aesthetic. You have to respect the opinion of your web designer. This means understanding there’s a reason behind the design and functionality they are suggesting. This is easily done when you admire the aesthetic he/she has created for their own brand and previous brands.
2. Quick Response Time. How quickly do they get back to you on email and respond to your questions? This can be indicative of how quickly (or slowly) your project will progress. You will have changes, and things will go wrong, so you want someone who’s going to communicate with you on a regular basis.
3. Fair Pricing Structure. If this is a full branding and web design project with a large budget, don’t agree to pay for the full site up front. You should be able to put a deposit down to get started and pay the remaining balance as the project progresses.
4. A Diverse Portfolio. Have the sites they’ve created in the past match the look/feel of the site you want? Make sure they can show they have designed a variety of styles so that the sites in their portfolio don’t all look the same. Variety is important to show what they can do for you. This will also give you confidence they can deliver something unique and strong.
5. SEO. While a web designer is NOT an SEO boosting firm, they should have some knowledge in this area so they can design your site with SEO in mind. This includes building a site that is easy for you to update yourself, can have SEO tools and plugins installed and updated regularly, and also has the necessary framework to build in keywords.
6. Experience and Referrals. Any business can talk themselves up, but it’s important to fact check those claims. Ask for a few referrals you can email to hear first-hand what it’s like working with this web team.
7. Designer & Developer. I’ve worked with teams that only offer one service – web design or web development. In all of these instances, having separate teams working on the same website only draws out and complicates the process. Having your designer and developer on the same team means you’re on the same page in regards to timeline, design and level of service.