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How to find a web designer

As a small business owner, knowing how to find a web designer is one of the first things you should learn. According to Verisign, a leader in the domain name business, 97% of small business owners would recommend that other small businesses have a website. Although you might have launched your business with social media pages as your main point of contact, this just isn’t good enough today. 

In fact, Verisign found that 86% of consumers prefer a business to have a website instead of a social media page, while 84% believe a website makes a business appear more credible than those who simply have social media pages. So, the question is, how do you get that credible website built profitably? Here we look at the steps involved in finding a website designer, to expand your reach and increase your opportunity for growth.

Common questions before you find a website designer

Ask the right questions on how to find a web designer, and you’ll find the right one. Common questions include:

How will you get to know my business?

Branding is key to an effective website. Therefore, your web designer needs to take time to learn about your business, industry, and brand. This is the discovery process, where effective designers not only learn about your brand but also your ideal customer. It is the only way a designer can create a website that resonates with your customers while reflecting your brand flawlessly.

What experience do you have in my industry? Can I see examples of past work?

Always ask for examples of their web designs to make sure you appreciate their style. You might find a web designer with stunning work, but what do they know about your industry? Web designers that carve out a niche for themselves in a specific industry understand that industry better than anyone else. 

For example, if you offer services instead of products, you want a designer who specializes in service-based companies. They also are well versed in the best functionality to meet the needs of your business and clients.

Have you reviewed my existing website and/or social media pages?

Web designer interviews don’t come out of the blue. You set them up. Therefore, if the web designer hasn’t reviewed your online presence, move on. A review of your social media and existing website allows them to come up with recommendations for improvement, while also showing they have initiative. Because of their initiative, you can discuss their ideas to better understand their thought processes to see if they make a good match for your needs.

What other services do you offer along with web design?

If a web designer just designs, that’s totally fine. Having a niche allows one to hone their skills. However, it’s also important to consider having a bit of knowledge in other areas that may inform the design work, or consider other functionality or business goals. Some of these areas include:

  • Content creation
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Marketing experience
  • Web optimization overall (for functionality and conversion)
  • Image sourcing
  • Effective plugins and more

While you might not want a generalist, you do want access to the right skills. A web designer should consider these other elements to their greatest ability to optimize the site for your success. Well-designed pages support marketing strategy.

Keep in mind that web designers usually don’t do all these things on their own. However, having a team to support building your website is a good sign.

How much do you charge and what do your fees include?

Your web designer needs to know your budget and you need to know their fees. Using the above list, you also need their fees broken down, so you understand what they include in their web design services. They should provide a customized quote following the discovery meeting.

Who is my main contact during the design process?

If you work with a freelance web designer, you most likely deal with them directly. If you interview web design companies, they have a team. Ideally, you want a single point of contact throughout the project, so you know how they manage communication, and who you speak to if you have questions or concerns.

What is the design process?

Approvals are important in the web design process. Understanding when you see the work and how they manage approvals (not to mention how many approvals you can expect) speaks volumes about their level of professionalism and experience. If they don’t have a process to share, move on.

When will you finish the project?

Timeframes speak to the level of commitment the web designer has for their projects. An estimated start and finish date, with a set schedule, shows commitment, while also helping manage expectations. If the timelines are vague, or the deadline is too far out for completion, move on.

What are the deliverables you’ll need in finding a web designer?

The web designer needs information from you and should provide a concise list of deadlines to manage expectations. A straight-up designer needs pretty much everything from you, while a complete service will manage the bulk of content such as copy and images.

What should I look for when hiring a website designer?

This brings us back to the question: What other services do you offer along with web design? As mentioned, although finding a top-notch web designer with awesome design skills and experience is important, if this is all they offer, your job becomes finding those other team members to support.

Successful website design solutions

Your website designer must understand your customers so they can effectively create designs unique to their needs, your industry, and your brand. What have they done in the past that shows you how they helped past clients achieve their goals?

Support and hosting

Once the website is complete, where does it leave you? You need dependable hosting services with full, ongoing support so you aren’t left stranded when you want to make updates, significant additions, or add functionality.

Proven website process

A website process is a key to effective design. It’s great when designers can also include most if not all of the following steps in their process:

  • Brand guideline review
  • Key functionality audit
  • Competitor review
  • Strategy calls
  • Custom designs where needed
  • Full website setup
  • Web development
  • Web design

Templated web design options

A template-based web design is an affordable option for small businesses. It provides everything you need from a design standpoint, using your company photos and content to save time and money. If you have existing content, using it to build a template-based website provides key functionality with an up and running website aligned with your marketing goals. You also have the benefit of full support and hosting.  

Marketing strategy & brand identity

If you are starting from scratch and need full service work, you need more than a basic web designer. A web design company offering direction to support a marketing strategy and brand identity helps you create goals and a plan to help meet them. It’s difficult to build a website without defined brand positioning. Therefore, marketing strategy and brand development put everything in perspective before your website is designed.

How do I find someone to build me a website?

You have options when finding someone to build your website:

1. Freelance website designers

Freelance website designers vary in the amount of experience they offer, what they charge, and what they include in their services. In most cases, a website designer is just that: They provide the basic services to design your website on a user-friendly, often templated platform. This allows them to customize the website efficiently and your site is also then hosted on the same platform such as WordPress. 

While this can be cost-effective, you could find they are limited in what they deliver. Support is also limited because they service their current and past clients on their own. As a result, they aren’t as responsive as a company with a team.

2. Website development company

A website development company offers a team to build and provide a basic design for your website. You’ll enjoy the benefits of being able to add lots of custom elements with code. The expertise they offer is worth the cost, and you can feel confident you have everything you need for the site. If a company if focused on web development, they usually won’t offer creative branding or other elements. You’ll have to provide that.

3. Web agency

This is the more inclusive option. You get everything you need from options 1 and two, along with brand identity development, marketing strategy, ongoing content development, and all your back-end and front-end needs are met. In some cases, agencies will partner with others and manage the relationship for your greatest benefit.

How much does it cost to hire a web designer near me?

Cost varies greatly depending on what you need and the services provided. However, generally speaking, you will pay either based on an hourly rate, a fixed price with a list of included services, or a hybrid payment model.

Steps to find an ideal web designer

Use the following six steps to find the ideal web designer:

1. Determine your budget.

2. Decide what you need the web designer to provide.

3. Google local web designers near me and make a shortlist of the ones that meet your needs.

4. Set up interviews with your shortlist.

5. Use the questions we provided to determine which web designer comes out on top.

6. Inform the web designer you are ready to begin your project.

Are you looking for a web designer in Schenectady? We’re here to help!

The website design should support your business goals, guide your clients easily through your website and provide unique experiences leading to conversions.

Custom web design must combine beauty and functionality so your business benefits from increased visitors, qualified leads, and ultimately sales success. Our team is ready to help when you need a web designer in Schenectady. Give us a call and let’s talk about growth!

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