When small business need a new website design or branding reboot, they often look at the portfolios of web designers to see what their finished product could look like. This is certainly an important step of choosing a designer, and one that shouldn’t be neglected. But there are quite a few aspects of a truly great web design and web designer that aren’t immediately visible, which is why a search should focus on some other qualities as well. Whether you’re working with an individual website designer or a large website design and development company, here are three things that can get you a better website, increased customer base and overall better online experience:
- Some Coding Ability
Debate rages on over whether all web designers should be able to code, especially since so many platforms make it possible nowadays to create a website that appears sleek and professional without knowing a single coding language. Depending on your budget, a completely custom website coded from scratch may not be the best option for your company. But you should insist that your designer or designers have enough coding knowledge to customize what you want customized, create a clean and search engine optimization-friendly back end, and prevent security breaches. If you’re having trouble determining if a designer is actually doing some coding work, take a look at the plugins list. Designers who can’t code often compensate by using a separate plugin for each functionality you request.
- A Marketing Background
An appealing design is part of marketing, but it’s not everything. Research should back up a large portion of the design decisions made on your website, down to the colors that are used (which can influence emotion) and the placement of elements (since customers look at certain areas of the screen before others). Marketing experience can also make all the difference when it comes to your website’s content; your web developer, not you, should be creating meaningful and engaging copy that focuses on calls to action that have been proven to work.
- Ongoing Support Services
Content management systems are an important part of almost all new website designs, since they allow you to modify, add and delete content on your website without messing with the coding. But a CMS is no replacement for ongoing website support services. Your contract should clearly define what is included in the original website build — it’s not fair to assume you’ll be able to call up your designers and get free help forever — but you shouldn’t be left out in the cold after the website is finished, either. This is particularly important because even the best designers make mistakes, and glitches may show up in your website over time due to even the tiniest coding errors.
What besides creating “pretty” websites can great web designers offer to their clients? Share your thoughts in the comments.