Content Strategy
Digital Marketing
Mobile Design
Web Designers
Website Design

5 Things to Consider When Hiring Your New Web Designer

Sara Helmy
November 19, 2013

Alright, so you’re debating between the guy that charges the same amount you paid for your car or your 18-year-old nephew. How did you even get to a point in which you begin debating such things? Simply, because you need a new website and both of them say they can give you something phenomenal.

I’m not going to say we understand what you’re going through because we build websites for a living so we completely do not understand. However, there are several things everyone shopping should consider.

Read on little web shoppers! It’s time to figure out if Jonny the nephew deserves your business or if it’s time to fork over some cash and the 5 things to consider listed below will surely help.

(P.S. we exaggerated a bit, most great websites are not as cheap as Jonny the nephew but you shouldn’t be selling your car to get one either.)

#1 ) It’s 2013 folks, we use smart phones and iPads and all sorts of giddily-gadgets – Make it responsive or go home.

So what is a responsive website? It’s a framework that literally works on every platform a site visitor would be coming from.

The site you’re on if you’re reading this blog is responsive. That means it works on a cell phone, an iPad, a desktop, a laptop – all of them. The images, content, and buttons on the website automatically resize themselves to become user-friendly on your screen, whatever size it may be. Pretty cool, huh?

Pretty cool and pretty important. Responsive web design means your website should appear beautiful no matter what device the visitor chooses to visit from.

Just to put the importance of responsive web design into perspective, consider that from 2012 to 2013 internet usage from mobile devices rose a whopping 78% (check the fact here). Brands and businesses can no longer afford to offer internet experiences that aren’t compatible with these devices. To do so, would be to ignore your customers preferences by failing to serve them via their preferred communication methods.

So how much do responsive websites cost?

Here’s the good news – they shouldn’t cost a dime extra. Do you know why? Because whoever is offering you this brand-spankin’ new website better not offer anything less than a responsive framework. To do so, would be to gift you with a website that isn’t relative in today’s marketplace.

Next time you meet with your potential web design company, or your nephew, ask them if the website will be responsive. If they say no, run. Quickly.

#2) Ask your web designer to make sure your site is optimized. If they shoot back a confused stare, consider them a con-artist – SEO is uber important.

You’re paying for a new website, not for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – so should you care about SEO then?

Abso-fricking-lutely (AKA, yes).

Do you search the internet by typing in random URLs such as “INeedAWebsiteThatsPretty.COM”? No, you do not. You use search engines. Admit it. Google or Bing or Yahoo or whatever little bar that comes up on your homepage is one of your best friends.

It helps you find things and that’s why 97% of consumers use search (check fact here) and 89% of them are using search to make purchasing decisions (check fact here).

Well, guess what? Everyone else is using that little white search bar to find things too, your website included. If you don’t make sure that whoever you hire to design your website knows a thing or two (or hopefully more than two things) about on-site SEO optimization then you can almost bet that those people searching for things will not be finding you.

Now, don’t be overwhelmed. You don’t need to know about on-site SEO, you just need to understand that it’s tremendously important and hire someone who does and is willing to explain it (but just in case you want to learn, you should subscribe to our fancy blog – because we’ll be writing about it on the regular).

#3) Functionality is a top priority – but real functionality means looking mighty GOOD. We’re visual. Pay extra for good design.

In today’s world, everyone boasts and brags about their ability to build great websites, but very few people actually do. Not everyone is a user architecture expert, and not everyone knows the principles of good design – or how to achieve it.

A good design tribe will start by asking about your goals and will refuse to listen to you when you say something like, “My goal is to get a new website.” They’ll ask if you want more customers, more blog readers, to be a leading information source, etc. They want to figure out why you’re paying them for the good stuff, and for good reason.

Functionality starts with good design. High-quality websites tend to have high-quality conversion rates, and a lot of times that’s because of a great design.

According to an AdAge Article by Lara Ries (her father was world-renowned for his theory on brand positioning), “The best way into the mind is with visuals, not with words. Visuals play a more important role in marketing because they hold emotional power that sticks” She says it quite eloquently and we certainly agree – good design is not something that should be seen as a choice.

Consider good design a must, even if it means forking over a little extra.

#4) Make sure your web tribe knows what to do AFTER the website has been built.

You’re not finished just because the website is finished. You’re just getting started.

Let us tell you about a very sad reality  –  at Tribu, we have met many people who have spent over $20,000 on absolutely breathtaking websites and have never invested a penny in any form of online marketing. Why?!?!?! It makes absolutely no sense to pay that much money for a website no one will ever see.

It also doesn’t even matter that it’s absolutely breathtaking because nobody’s breath gets anywhere near it.

If you’re investing in a new website what you’re really investing in is the start of what will hopefully be a great online marketing campaign – in which you will perform some epic Social Media magic and send out lovely e-mail blasts that point to your extremely interesting blog or news section. The point is, you need to get people to visit your new website. It’s a valuable company asset –  kind of like your greatest salesperson, people need to meet it!

I like to call the best websites, “living and breathing sites”, because that’s what they should be. They should change frequently –  communicating to the world what amazing things your business is accomplishing or how much you love to help your customers by offering free and valuable information. Almost like a person would.

If you don’t know what online marketing activities you should be participating in ask the company that is building your website. If you’ve selected a good partner they should be familiar with these services (or in our case, offer them!) and be able to make custom recommendations for you to consider.

You know that they are super awesome when they don’t try to suck you dry and actually recommend various solutions that fit within your budget.

And although it’s not super awesome, you are probably still in decent hands if the partner you’ve selected admits that they don’t know enough to service online marketing for you but has a good business relationship with another company that does, and happily provides you a referral.

#5) You will be collaborating with whoever builds your new website quite frequently. Make sure you like them!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? At Tribu, we actually capitalize off the fact that so-and-so hired an unprofessional who took over a year to get halfway through their website and takes about 2 weeks to respond to every e-mail. Most of the time it was some cost-saving stunt that the business owner decided to take and in the long-run, it actually ends up costing them more.

They end up paying both their unprofessional slacker and us.

Pick someone you like. Price shopping is great, but if you’re going to buy something to last your business several years and serve as an accurate explanation and first impression of who you truly are, then the price is not the only thing that matters.

Pick a tribe you like and enjoy. Pick someone who values what your organization is trying to accomplish. Pick someone who is patient and willing to learn about you and your industry before they start discussing widgets.

It will be worth it, and that’s the only way that you have a chance of enjoying the beautifully functional site you really deserve.

Key Takeaways from this Post:

  • Don’t purchase a new web design if it isn’t going to be responsive. A website that works on smartphones, tablets, and desktops simultaneously is a must in today’s new landscape.
  • Consider search engines when shopping for a redesign. 97% of consumers surf the internet through search engines and 89% of consumers use search engines to make purchasing decisions. Nobody can afford to ignore on-site SEO and search engine-friendly platforms.
  • Strong and beautiful visual designs help fuel your site’s conversion rate. In the long run, a good design means more money for you, so pay extra if you have to in order to ensure that the beauty of your website matches the quality of your organization.
  • Building your website is the start, not the finish. Have a plan in place for some continued online marketing to promote your website and acquire site visitors. Having a magnificent website is absolutely pointless if nobody ever sees it.
  • Work with someone you like. Price should not be the sole determining factor of your new website. You are trusting someone to accurately reflect what you stand for and broadcast your business through the world wide web – pick a web design partner who is passionate and cares to learn about you. Make sure you get along!

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