When looking to hire a web designer, or a web design firm, it can be difficult to compare firms apples to apples. Here’s a quick guide to assessing web designers and choosing the right one:
1. Look at their portfolio.
This is the most obvious, but some people forget this step. Take a look at the web designs that they’ve already created. Do you like what you see? Visit the websites. Are they easy to navigate? Do they make sense? They may look pretty at first glance, but if you can’t get through the site easily, the design may not be cutting it.
2. Look at their industry.
Next, take a look at the industries for which they’ve created web designs. Is your industry nuanced or complex? You might not want to hire someone who has never built a website in your field. You can end up teaching your designer those nuances on your dime.
3. Look at their client list.
A client list is more than just bragging grounds and can say a lot about a web designer. These are the people who want to do business with the web designer.
If nothing else, if your competitor is on the list, you may want to avoid them. Or if you recognize a client and you know people at their company, you may be able to reach out to them to ask for feedback on working with the web designer.
4. How well do their designs support business goals?
Lastly, and this is the most difficult, but how well do their designs actually move the needle for their clients? This is a difficult one to assess, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Visit a website the designer has created and ask yourself, “What does this site want me to do, and how does that help this company’s business?” Then see how easy (or hard) it is to do. Does the design make you want to contact the company to learn more? Are you prompted to sign up for their enewsletter? Are you confused by the layout? Does it come off as unprofessional whereas the company ought to set a more professional tone?
Without access to the analytical date on the site, this last one can be difficult to truly assess, but it’s still worthwhile to try. Ultimately, web design works together with the content and functionality of the website to support a business goal. And if it doesn’t, then you probably don’t want to hire that web designer.