Finding and choosing the right web designer can be a confusing and frustrating process for many people. There are so many options and different factors to consider. When you are in the situation, here are 5 common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
1. Deciding on Price Alone.
While the cost of a designer is an important factor that should always be a factor in the decision making process, it shouldn’t dictate who you choose without also considering a number of other factors. If you are building a website for a business, that website will become a value-adding asset of the business. Try not to look at it as just a financial drain, but an asset that has a chance to bring new customers and opportunities.
By choosing the lowest-priced option you may not get a website that meets your needs. On the other hand, high price doesn’t necessarily equal high quality. Some lower-priced designers may give you a better end result and better service than some high-priced design firms.
You should make your decision based on a number of factors including price, the quality of their portfolio, their level of communication with you, the time line you’re working with, etc.
2. Not Considering Specialties.
If you are not very familiar with web design it may be easy to overlook the fact that there are several different areas or types of design that a particular designer may specialize in. Obviously, to get the best results you’ll want to find someone who specializes in, or at least has experience with, your type of project.
For example, if you are interested in a minimalistic design, don’t choose someone because they have a portfolio full of flash-based websites with lots of bells and whistles. Likewise, if you’re looking for bells and whistles, don’t choose someone who specializes in minimalistic design.
This sounds kind of obvious, but many times the specialization is ignored when trying to decide between a few different options. For the best results you should have a good idea of what style of website you want, and base your search on finding someone who meets your needs.
3. Not Considering Future Updates and Maintenance.
Regardless of how well your new website is built, it will require updates and maintenance from time-to-time. Most designers offer these services at an hourly rate or as part of a package, but this is something you shouldn’t assume. Talk to potential designers about the possibility of them performing maintenance and what charges would be involved.
Typically, you’ll get the best results by having the original designer also do the updates and maintenance. No one else will know the website as well as the designer. However, you may have someone in your office or on staff that is capable of making updates, which should also be considered in this case.
The costs of maintenance should always be considered, and just as important, the costs of not being able to perform maintenance should be considered. If you hire a designer and are then unable to get updates completed, your website may quickly become out of date and ineffective.
4. Hiring Someone Who Does Not Build Search Engine-Friendly Websites.
It’s possible to have a great-looking website that is built horribly for search engines. While search engine optimization involves much more than the structure of the site, starting with a solid foundation will give you the best chance to compete.
If you are not very familiar with web design or SEO it may be difficult for you to evaluate the structure of a website. In this case, the best thing to do is ask potential designers how search engines influence the decisions they make during the design process. Ideally, websites should be built for people (the real visitors) but it should not interfere with the search engine spiders/robots that come to crawl the site.
5. Being Overly Influenced by a Wow Factor.
Many designers use elements like Flash intros on their projects as wow factor for potential clients. While they may look great, in most industries they’ll annoy visitors and do more harm than good.
This all goes back to knowing what you want in a website and finding someone who can deliver. Try not to be wowed or swayed by an impressive piece of work that has nothing to do with your type of project.
This is certainly not a complete list of mistakes that are made during this process, but these are 5 mistakes that I see being made on a regular basis. What other things would you like to add to the list?