In some of HQD’s more recent blog posts we established that anyone wanting to be taken seriously needs a website. In the Information Age this is simply a fact. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a desperate plea from a starving web designer. It truly is just the way things are and the way they will continue to be as the Internet continues to expand, consuming every other marketing platform in its path.
Of course, finding the right web designer is a monumental plight in itself. Too many people out there are dealing with, and I do not use the term lightly, sneaky charlatans. There appears to be a general misconception that any person with eyeballs and the capacity to drag-and-drop on screen is a designer. Thousands of these so-called “designers” have figured out that there is an increasing demand for websites, and that more than half of their clients are more interested in saving a buck than receiving quality work.
Here’s what business owners need to remember:
A company website is intended to be an accurate reflection of the brand. Simultaneously, it is the online footprint of the business owner and showcases his or her skills and should offer some insight into the sort of person that stands behind the brand itself. A website should be an accurate representation of the level of quality potential clients can expect. In terms of design, anything less than the best is simply not good enough.
5 Signs that Indicate you Need a New Web Designer
1. Low Cost = Poor Quality
It can be difficult for bargain hunters to apply a different method of “shopping” when trolling for a website designer to take on their project. In fact, when most of us see a good deal we have to fight the urge to resist. In terms of website design, however, low cost almost always means shoddy workmanship. If you’re paying less than $300 for a 3-page personal portfolio website or less than $500 for a business website, you’re guaranteed to receive a site that is in no way in-tune with what you hoped for. If you want a fully functional online store, be prepared to pay in the region of $700 or more, depending on how many products you want to flaunt.
As with all things, you get what you pay for. Sure, you can get a website for $200 but will it be any good? You may decide to go with a cheaper designer and find yourself running right back to the “expensive” designer once your new website makes its debut. In the end you’ll have to pay two separate design invoices and possibly a therapist as well.
2. No Copywriting = Expect Delays
Content creation for a new website can be extremely challenging – especially if you’re not a wordsmith by trade. Be sure to check with your designer whether or not there are any copywriting solutions on offer. Unless you are proficient in the skills required to create compelling web content, and unless your SEO knowledge is en pointe, you may wish to find out whether or not there is a better option for you.
Try to find a design studio that offers both graphic design and written content, as this is the most cost effective solution. Most web designers outsource this service from freelance copywriters, incurring a hefty fee that you may not be prepared to pay. Without a viable copywriting solution, you may find that there are several delays in the launch of your site – and remember, time is money.
3. No Questions = Lack of Commitment
If your web designer doesn’t ask you any questions, chances are your website is simply being rolled out on a boring template. Any designer worth his or her salt, will ask questions relating to your business and your website requirements. These questions should be related to your competitors, clients and company in general. If your designer is not particularly forthcoming with a questionnaire of any sort, take that red flag and run.
Questions you can (and should expect) will include:
- What do you expect to achieve through your website?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who are your current clients?
- Who is your biggest competition?
- Do you have access to your own photographs or do you require additional sourcing by the designer?
- What are some of the websites you enjoy visiting?
- Do you have a colour scheme in mind?
- Do you have a company logo?
- What is your budget?
4. Headshot and Handshake = Generic Ideas
There are two images that warn you of a substandard designer with no original thoughts permeating his or her grey matter. If your website plays host to a handshake picture that is completely out of context, get a new designer. If anywhere on your website you find a square headshot of a flawless model, grinning vapidly and posing as a virtual assistant or office worker, run a mile.
One of the keys to great website is having REAL people in the featured images. A disembodied handshake is much less effective than an image of an actual business meeting.
5. No Regular Contact = No Momentum
High levels of energy are required to design and launch a new website. Your designer should be emailing or calling you with regular updates and questions. There should always be a buzz of excitement surrounding the creative phases – if this is lacking, move on to a designer who does actually care. If your web designer does not maintain regular contact, chances are the design process will take much longer than it should. The longer it draws out, the less enthusiastic you or anyone else will be about its inevitable completion.