The importance of picking the right web designer
Wednesday November 22, 2017
By Chris Pardo
If you’re on this website and reading our blog, I imagine it’s pretty safe to assume you’re interested in finding a web designer. Whether it’s a new project or idea, or for an existing site, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
There’s plenty of choice out there, that’s for sure. From one-man-bands to large media agencies and everything in-between, it’s important to find the right company to work with. When it comes to size, there’s no right-or-wrong answer; whatever fits your needs best.
You might want to consider such things as:
This may or may not be a big issue for you, but it’s likely you’ll want to work with a person or company who aren’t a million miles from you. In my personal experience, you can’t beat face-to-face meetings, though online webinar or meeting clients (or Skype, Slack etc.) are the next best thing. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable that your web designer fully understands your requirements and can be contacted when you want.
What’s included in the price you’ve agreed? Does it include the development of your website as well as the design? There may well be additional recurring costs for things such as hosting, domain names and on-going support. Don’t get caught out by assuming something’s included when it’s not, and don’t end up paying for something you don’t need. Having your website developed in a content management system? Then you might not need those 100 support hours every month…
Speaking of content management systems, you may have a preference on what you want to use. WordPress? Joomla? Drupal? If you don’t have a preference, it might be best to check out what your possible suppliers are suggesting. Are they Open Source or a licensed CMS? Open Source has the benefits of no on-going license costs, and due to this are often popular, but this can bring some additional problems (more on this later).
Your main concern will be the usability of the CMS. Can you see plenty of reviews out there, or demo sites you can play with? Does it do everything you need? How easy is it to update and expand in the future? Is the CMS regularly updated and patched to keep it secure, or is it no longer being developed?
If you have a small site that will need little updating, you may not event want or need a CMS; a static website may do just fine. However, you may need to pay someone who can code in HTML (probably your web designer!) to update your website in the future.
A lot of companies may charge extra for on-going SEO services or consultancy. This is a big industry in itself, and often a specialised and skillful one. At Saplings Web Design we don’t profess to be SEO consultants; pay-per-click advertising and keyword analysis isn’t our thing. Our focus is always on delivering a platform that will allow you to maximise natural SEO performance through your content.
Even though SEO and marketing is an important consideration, this is one service that it would be simple to source from a second supplier, should you be keen to explore the possibilities in the future.
As already touched on above, your choice of CMS will influence other things including security. A popular open source CMS with an active development community is a great thing, but it’s popularity might also make it a target for malicious attacks.
There are a number of things that can be done to mitigate against risks or obscure your CMS from would-be-assailants. The simplest thing you can do is make sure you have some form off back-ups in place in-case the worst thing happens.
Yes, this is a lot of important things to group together under one heading, but who wants to read a blog article that goes on for pages and pages? How do other sites by the potential web designer do in terms of loading times and mobile optimisation? You can use tools such as Pingdom and Google Page Insights to learn more about your and others’ sites.
Last, but by no-means least is accessibility. Your website might look great, but how does it work to non-traditional site users? Someone using a screen reader? Someone who’s visually impaired and using an iPad? Does the website comply to W3C Accessibility Guidelines? These will be updated in 2018, so that’s another thing to keep an eye on!
All these considerations may lead you to consider Saplings Web Design, or it may not. We might not be the best fit for you, and that’s totally fine! To find out more about what we can offer, check out what we do or take a look at some of our current projects.