Choosing a Web Designer

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As a small business owner, choosing the right website designer is an important decision; a good website can attract more business, but a bad one can do the opposite and drive away new prospects.

The difference between a Web Designer and a Developer

There are two types of web designers – a Web Designer and a Web Developer.

  • Web Designer – Sometimes they reference themselves as UX/UI designers. Web designers are the ones who design the look and feel of your website, where the logo should be placed, colours, typography styles, even the structure of the website. Usually, they also build the HTML/CSS, test the website and setup and integrate the Content Management System (CMS).
  • Web Developer – They are the ones who take the design (and sometimes the HTML/CSS code) from the Designer and build the website functionality. They are also responsible for the technical stuff such as server setup, software installation, etc. Most developers can’t design, but like myself there are those who can do both design and development to a high quality.

The type of professional you require will depend on the requirements of your project. If you need a standard CMS website, then a Web Designer is perfect, but if you have some special functionality that needs building then you’re best going for a Web Developer.

Of course, larger agencies would have both available, but obviously having two people working on your project would escalate the project price.

What to look out for in a good designer/developer

When it comes to making a decision about hiring, there are a few things to think about:

  1. An experienced web designer will ask about your business, your audience, competition and what you hope to achieve from your website. This will help them create a website that reflects your business and brand.
  2. Look at their own website. It should display some character and personality and not look like every other designers website out there.
  3. Their portfolio should display a different range of designs, there may not be many, but it should display creativity.
  4. Ask them if they build the website themselves or whether they outsource it to another developer.
  5. Do they have a project process? Having a plan would enable projects to be completed on time and on budget.
  6. Can they maintain the website and how much will they charge?
  7. Do they offer hosting or can they provide a list of reliable options? (My recommendation is to do the latter and sign up yourself for hosting. This way if your website goes down or has technical issues, you have a direct link to support.)
  8. Will they be integrating a CMS so you can change the content yourself?
  9. Do they provide SEO or marketing services? If not, can they recommend someone who does.

How much will they charge?

When it comes to fees, each designer will have their own rate which could be anywhere between $45 and $120 an hour depending on their skill set and location.

As a rough guideline, a simple business website would cost between $3000 and $6000. Add a blog, shopping cart or even logo design on top and the price will be much higher.

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