Extra Mile Writing

Extra Mile Writing

What to Look for in a Website Designer:  11 Recommendations to Save you Money and Heartache

Do you need a business website?  Are you concerned that you’ll have to pay an eye wateringly huge amount of money to a designer for a website that doesn’t achieve anything?

Below are 11 practical tips that will help you find a quality website designer to create a website that works for you, without the hassle.

I’ve been in business for 7 years, and I seriously wish I’d had the benefit of the below tips when I was starting out:

*Please note, the most important qualities to look for in a good website designer are listed first:

A good website designer should have a strong small business ethos and a willingness to communicate

construction worker at work in city

When I look for a website designer I look for a designer who runs a small business and who has an appreciation of the importance of small business.  I also look for testimonials from other small businesses.  And, most importantly, I look for someone who demonstrates a keenness to help and a willingness to communicate.  Communication will always be an important part of creating a business website, and I need to deal with someone who wants to communicate and who has an understanding of my perspective as a small business person.    

A good website designer should provide you with control over your own website

smiling woman sitting in front of laptop

A good website designer should provide you with administrative access to your own website, so you can add new content and images and make changes whenever you want.  They should recommend a widely used and user-friendly platform so that you can make changes to your site without coding knowledge.  A good website designer is likely to offer other services like maintenance and hosting, however it should be completely up to you as to whether you take up these options.

It is important to note that with website design, you get what you pay for.  Creating a website takes time, as does providing information to you so that you can edit and add to your own website.  The creation of a business website is a one off investment, so be wary of website designers that charge you very little but leave you with a lemon that doesn’t achieve anything.  On the other hand, you shouldn’t have to mortgage your home just to get yourself a business website.  Happily there are quality website designers that do offer website design at a competitve price like the website designer I use, Constructive Visual.   

A good website designer should provide you with your own user guide

lantern emitting warm yellow light

A good website developer will give you your own user guide to help you with managing your business website once you’ve decided on a platform and a theme.  This will help you with making changes, adding new pages or posts and adding images.  A responsible website designer will ensure that you aren’t left lost in the dark once your website is up and running.

A good website designer should create a mobile friendly site

photo of a castle placed within a mobile phone screen

A good website designer will create a website that presents well and loads quickly on mobile devices.  This is of course critical with the continuing growth in the use of mobile devices.

A good website designer will ensure you have an SSL certificate and will discuss other ways you can protect your website’s security

locked brass padlock covered in condensation

A quality website designer will ensure that you have an SSL certificate for your website.  This means that your website address will have a little padlock icon at the start of its address in the search bar, and it will start with https:// , not http:// .  If your website has the https:// prefix, your customers won’t be put off by getting a “this site is not secure” message when they visit your business website.  Various hosting providers offer SSL certificates, and some even provide them free of charge.  An SSL certificate is essential to comply with privacy laws if you are collecting private data from people or credit card information.

A good website designer will also discuss your website’s security more broadly with you, to ensure that you have some other strategies in place to protect your site’s security and defend against cyber crime. 

A good website designer will consider how you want people to contact you and how you want to respond to them

A good website designer will talk to you about how you are going to interact with prospective customers on your site.  Are you going to take comments from people on your blog posts and will you have the time to respond to them?  Are you going to use a contact form to feed enquiries through to your email address, rather than publish an email address on your site and find that you are being hit by that much spam that you’ll miss legitimate customer enquiries (yes, I’ve been there).

two figures talking to each other through tin cans joined by string

A good website designer will help you submit your site map to Google

It can take a significant amount of time for search engines to find your website and for you to start ranking on your keywords even if you do absolutely everything right.  Your website designer should help you by submitting your website’s site map to Google straight away, or show you how to do this.  This will at least get your website in the queue to be looked at.  You can then work on other strategies to build your site’s ranking at the same time, knowing that at least this job is taken care of. 

A good website designer will give you some tips on setting up Google My Business

woman's hand placing letter inside an envelope
shopkeeper handing a box of nuts to customer

Google my business is an awesome and free business tool.  It’s basically the summary of your business that comes up when someone searches for it, and it includes your phone number, opening hours, and a Google Map of your location.  It can also include your logo, other photos, customer reviews, questions and answers, etc.  It’s not hard to create a Google My Business listing and your website designer should at the very minimum give you some tips on how to set this up. 

A good website designer will give you some tips on using Google Analytics and Google Search Console

pen and hand over paper showing coloured graphs

There is no point in having a business website if you don’t know whether it is helping you achieve your business goals.  Google Analytics is free software that shows you what pages on your site people are looking at, what country they live in and whether they are coming to your site via direct or organic search, etc.  Google Search Console is also free software that tells you which search queries are getting to your site, the top referring links to your site, and identifies any errors on your site that may prevent it from being indexed.  Any website designer worth their salt will give you information on how to use the above two free tools so that you know how your site is performing and whether it is achieving your business goals. 

A good website designer will ensure that you can set up shop

pastries displayed within a bakery

A quality website designer will ensure that if you need to sell products or services through your website, it will be able to handle this.  You want to be in the position where you are able to take advantage of one of the greatest benefits of the internet:  allowing businesses to sell goods and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A good website designer will look at the bigger picture, including search engine optimisation

spider web covered in fine condensation droplets

A good website designer will look at the bigger picture for you and your business.  They will talk to you about your business and your market, and will ask you about the keywords that you want your business to be found under.   They will discuss the key elements of search engine optimisation, including the importance of keywords in helping people find you for the goods or services you sell in your business.  They will also talk to you about the importance of getting links back to your website to build its ranking and increase the number of prospective customers finding your business over time.

If you are looking for a super professional and helpful website designer that meets all of the above criteria, I use and recommend Constructive Visual in Western Australia. 

Either way I hope these 11 recommendations have been helpful to you.

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