Web designers can have a profound impact upon a business. After all, a website is the number one initial influencer of how a prospect views a business. In any business relationship, setting the right expectations is important to the success of both parties involved especially between a business and their web designer.
In part 1 of 2 in this series I shared “How to Hire the Right Web Designer and Avoid a Major Disaster” where we discovered how you can find the right web designer for your business that you can trust and work with to meet your needs.
Today I share part 2 in the series.
So let’s get started. I’m going to share a few ways how a good web designer can make a profound difference for your website.
Six Ways a Web Designer Can Help Your Business
Last week on LinkedIn, Lynn shared with me a case where a web designer had the opposite effect on her business. Her web designer did absolutely nothing to help her business.
In fact, when she notified him that she was firing him he suddenly got into gear and started producing but for Lynn it was too late. The damage had been done.
While there are many stories like Lynn’s there are also the stories of those who absolutely LOVE their web designers.
“I’m blessed because I became friends with Phillip Dews years ago. We bonded, and then when I really dove into my old blog and Blogging from Paradise he was there for me every step of the way.”
That’s what every web designer should want to hear and what every client should want to say!
Great web designers understand that that listening, learning and creating a profound website is more than just code, templates and layouts. At its core a website is about using these things to our advantage so that we can communicate with our audiences in a way that is clear, articulate and helpful no matter whom those audiences may be.
The following six points are some of my thoughts on how to identify how a web designer can make a profound difference for your business.
#1 – Do They Understand Your Industry?
Some web designers are going to completely disagree with me here but they shouldn’t. Different industries have very different needs.
The truth is great websites are informed by your business, your message, your audience as well as your industry.
If every site is in a blog or magazine format but your industry isn’t heavy on writing or blogging (do to the nature of the business and audience) then that may cue you in to that they either don’t understand your industry or they don’t care to understand your industry.
If they have examples of websites they have built that show variety and can show through that variety that they have taken the time to research the industry and listened to the concerns and ideas of their previous clients; then you may have a web designer who can create a great websites for your business.
#2 – Do They Understand Your Business?
Great web designers are first and foremost students. They are students of web design trends, changes in technology and of business in general.
That doesn’t make them an expert in your business. That’s your job!
They can’t, shouldn’t and won’t know it all when it comes to your message and business (Learn more about what I mean on the “Begin Here” page – open in another window).
However, the better you can communicate your business, values and what’s important to your prospects and customers the more you can help your web designer understand your business.
When a good web designer understands you and your business they can make the appropriate recommendations to help you have an outstanding website through their training and experiences.
The bottom line is that the better you can communicate your business the better they can create a dynamic website for your business.
#3 – Are They Up-to-Date in Their Industry and Can They Make Recommendations?
Web design is an ever changing field. When I was a web designer from 2003 until 2013 I was constantly amazed at other web designers who were creating websites with 2-5 year-old out of date standards and designs.
Unfortunately, if you hire a web designer who is behind in their own industry your website that you think is new but is really old will likely create an unfair and negative view of your business.
Your prospects and customers spend a lot of time on the web and they understand when they come to your site if is out of date or if it’s really nice, appealing and easy to use.
If a web designer is up on the changes to the technology and trends they will be able to make a number of recommendations to you that can help set your business apart from your competition that likely is using an out dated website that is messaged terribly wrong.
One of the best things a web designer can do for you is inform and educate you with just enough detail to establish themselves as competent and as a resource to help you that you can trust.
There is just simply no substitute for an update-to-date web designer who cares enough about their work to stay current in an every changing industry.
#4 – Do They See Themselves as Your Partner or Just Your Web Designer?
How can someone make you feel like they are making a profound difference for you if you feel like you are being dismissed or don’t matter.
This is your website and you don’t need someone to tell you what to do you. You need a partner who cares about you and takes pride in their work.
They should understand what’s important to you and make you feel good about the choice you made to hire them.
Your web designer ought to be a business partner not just another vendor. Hopefully, they are going to be a member of your team for many years
The question should discern and ask is do they take a short sighted view of your business relationship or a long-term view?
#5 – Do They Take Extreme Pride in Your Website?
Building a website is more than just throwing together a website for someone.
From the day they first show you the mock-up image of what your website will start looking like are they presenting themselves as excited about it as you are?
Are they so excited about your site that when it launches they are telling everyone about your site and bragging that they made it?
Are they sharing the site with just bland language like “We just launched…” or are they sharing the site as if it’s their very own and they want the world to see it?
One way to know during the interview process is to check their social media pages and see if they are sharing the websites of their existing clients and are they bragging about them.
# 6 – What Level of Support Do They Provide?
After a website launches does your web designer take great care of you?
You shouldn’t feel like a chore to them when you contact them about a need. That doesn’t mean they drop everything at a seconds notice. That’s not fair of you to ask of them.
However, do they respond to you in a reasonable amount of time and make updates as needed in a timely fashion?
What Does a Web Designer Do and Not Do
One of the biggest challenges in a business relationship with a web designer is creating the right expectations.
What does a good web designer do and not do?
Let’s start with what they don’t do.
Good web designers do not:
- Create your message or decide upon your content and they shouldn’t be asked to (Note: that’s what someone like me does – see the “Begin Here” page).
- Do SEO or social media experts. They are web designers skilled in a specific task for a very specific need.
- Create video producers for your website.
- Write or proof read your blog articles.
- Take control of your domain name or hold you hostage.
- Rush your project or delay your project unnecessarily.
What do great web designers do:
- They communicate and work with you throughout the process and beyond.
- Help you layout your sitemap and guide you through the content that should be created for those pages (Sometimes they need help from a consultant or coach like myself when we help you create your content).
- Create the look, feel, color palette and layouts for different pages of the site as determined by the content.
- Ensure that the site is ready for launch and that everything works the way it’s supposed to work.
- After launch they support their work and ensure that the site remains working the way it is intended to.
A Few Things to Watch Out for With Some Web Designers
There are a few things you should watch out for when it comes to the web design industry. Unfortunately over the years many have entered the field with little to no business ownership experience or they have unethical behavior.
For some, their inexperience and unwillingness to learn business, systems, processes and administrative tasks hurt them dearly. It can lead to being overworked; lack of organization and ultimately delays production of web designs and ends up hurting business owners who need those websites.
The final thing to look out for is the web designer who is unable to consistently meet deadlines that they could control. Unfortunately, it happens too often unnecessarily.
I will share in more detail over the next two articles about the pros and cons of hiring a freelance web designer or an agency.
Back to the Positive – Web Designers Can Change Your Business
Your experience can either be like awful like Lynn’s or it can be amazing like Ryan’s where with the help of the right web designer, your business can thrive.
Of course there is a caveat; are you willing to learn about your business and communicate it clearly, concisely and work as a teammate with your web designer?
Expectations are the key to success and so long as you both have the right expectations you should have an amazing working relationship.
I want to offer you a free download called “The Web Designer Interview Process Kit.”
One of the biggest challenges many business owners have is how to properly interview a web designer to ensure they get the best fit for their company.
In The Web Design Interview Process Kit you will get:
- A detailed process on how to interview a freelance web designer or web design company.
- A web design survey that you can send your employees, colleagues or customers to learn how they think and feel about your website.
- An article titled “You Don’t Have to Be Ashamed of Your Website”
IN ADDITION: As you know, the answers are all found in the questions. You have an option to get a detailed list of web designer interview questions to help you discern even more if a web designer is a good fit for your business or not.
To get your FREE Web Designer Interview Process Kit simply click the image below and fill out the form that will open in a new tab.
If you have a questions, thoughts or want to make a contribution to this article, please share below in the comments and let’s have a conversation about finding the right web designer for your business.