5 Tips] How to find the right web designer or the right web design agency
Are you looking for a web designer? To save you an unpleasant experience, we give you 5 simple tips to help you find your way around. We show you what you need to pay attention to in order to classify the competence of a web designer. So you will find the right partner with whom the creation of your professional corporate website will succeed.
A company homepage is successful when it generates new customers and increases your turnover. To find a competent and experienced web designer who realizes your company homepage accordingly is not as easy to find as one might think at first. There are also web designers whose work can even harm your business, because a badly implemented corporate website will cost you customers. Quite a few will probably not even realize that their corporate website has serious shortcomings.
Unfortunately, the professional title of web designer is not protected, so be careful when choosing a web designer. “Anyone” may adorn themselves with the title of web designer, regardless of whether they have completed a professional training or even a degree, anyone who can operate a modular system or a graphics program. This is in fact also widespread and makes it much more difficult for laypersons to differentiate themselves when looking for a web designer.
Good web design is a complex undertaking that requires a lot of know-how and experience. It consists of numerous sub-disciplines, which must be optimally coordinated. Only then will the website become a professional company website with an online marketing orientation, which will successfully generate new customers for you. In short: an effective marketing instrument.
Web design is a generic term that consists of the following sub-disciplines:
1. online strategy
2. design, including interface & optimization for mobile devices
3. programming, including content management system for self-administration
4. online marketing
* Search engine optimization (texts), On-page & Off-page
* Search engine advertising
* Content marketing
* Social Media Marketing (Facebook)
* Video Marketing (Youtube)
All areas are equally important for online success. Whereby online marketing has a special position and can also be regarded as an independent area.
Probably no single web designer will have a comprehensive command of all disciplines and you will have to buy additional services. Nevertheless, it is of course advisable to look for a web designer who knows something about the subject in almost all sub-disciplines. Because the more services can be obtained from one source, the lower the costs. But you should also be careful here: quite a few web designers advertise with services that they themselves understand only incompletely.
Our following tips make it clear what criteria you need to consider when searching for the right web designer.
Tip #1: Better check your recommendations beforehand
Word of mouth is good, but not always necessarily target-oriented. Recommendations should therefore only be given with reservation and always be examined critically. Now learn how to distinguish between a serious, professional web designer and amateurs.
Tip #2 What about qualifications and references?
Competence, creativity and reputation of a webdesigner can be measured relatively easily by the CV and references. And every serious web designer will make this clear at a prominent place on his website: “About us”, “About me” or similar should be the name of the corresponding menu item. A university degree is already a decisive differentiating criterion: a studied communication designer with practical experience in his profession will most likely have better prerequisites for the implementation of your company website than a computer scientist, graphic designer or industrial clerk who, in addition to their main job, try to earn some extra money by working on websites.
A graphic designer, for example, who can create logos and flyers, is not a good web designer, just like a programmer. The one may know something about design, the other something about web programming. As we have seen, a successful company homepage is composed of various sub-disciplines. Since both cover only one sub-discipline, the other relevant areas are left out.
The references are equally meaningful: the work reflects the competence and creativity of a web designer.
If there is no transparency regarding the qualifications and references on the web designer’s website, it is better to refrain from making use of them.
Tip #3 Check the content and search engine positioning
Design must not be blinded by form alone. Even the most appealing website is just empty packaging without rich, informative texts. Sure, good images generate immediate attention, but what keeps users engaged are good, trenchant and relevant texts. Successful websites appeal to the user visually and linguistically. And good texts are ultimately not only important for visitors, but also for search engines – so that your company homepage is found. The relevance of the search terms should also be right here.
The same standards naturally apply to web designers. Whether a web designer has the necessary knowledge can often be seen from the content. A web designer will probably have little idea of the matter, if only with content poor phrases and commonplaces around itself is thrown, such as “We offer solutions”, “creative web design” etc. Professionals on the other hand provide useful information and tips, for example in the form of a blog.
As important as the homepage itself is the online marketing orientation respectively the search engine optimization. “Everybody” advertises with it nowadays. But is it just a full-bodied promise that is not kept? With a simple test you will quickly have more clarity. The website of a professional will have a good Google positioning on the 1st page in the city where he is located.
> SEO Test
Google for the search words “web designer” plus “[city name]” and examine the ranking. Ignore the paid results at the top.
If the web designer is only listed on page 3 or further back, the web designer obviously lacks the necessary search engine expertise.
Good web designers support you in writing search engine relevant texts. Alternatively, you can – always with an eye on your budget – additionally hire a professional copywriter.
Tip #4 Talk about money
The customer is king – and should also be transparently informed about the costs of a website. Sure, every website is highly individual and the concrete price structure varies with the requirements. Nevertheless, successful and, above all, customer-friendly web designers always use calculation examples to provide information about basic prices and expected total costs in advance. In general, a fixed price is agreed upon for the commissioned company website, whereby the hourly rate of a proven professional amounts to 40 to 70 Euros net.
What costs do you have to expect for a company website?
An exemplary fixed price offer – where the raw texts and photos are supplied by the customer – for a company homepage in the price range between 1.500 and 2.900 Euro includes
* 10 search engine optimized pages with photos and texts. The texts comprise just under one DIN A4 page per web page, including correctly set keyword density and the revision of the actual text
* an attractive, user-friendly design
* the optimization for mobile devices, smartphones and tablets
* an optimization for conversions
* a Content-Management-System (CMS) for self-care
* Extensions, such as a newsletter, contact forms, an image gallery and search function
Higher prices for the above services would be unreasonable. With regard to the lower end of the price scale, however, it should also be mentioned that only amateur web designers would charge well under 1,000 euros for this fixed-price example.
How much are new customers worth to you? An individual company website is your authoritative and tailor-made marketing tool – you should be aware of that. The Internet has become the place to look for products and services.
> Often the website is the first contact to the company and therefore also the first way to evaluate your quality.
Target group oriented, user-friendly and appealing web design, including optimization for mobile devices and search engine optimization, which is embedded in a well thought-out online strategy that is preceded by a thorough market analysis, is not available at a discount price.
The conception should only be placed in professional hands – and be worth it to you. If you save a few hundred euros in the wrong place, it can cost you many times that in retrospect – if potential customers prefer to go to the competition.
Cost trap: term contracts
For the development of your company homepage a fixed price should always be negotiated. Also conceivable are subscription or contract models, based on a 12 or 24 month contract. Since the full amount is not due at once, this type of contract has become quite popular. 50 or 100 euros per month sounds manageable at first. In some cases, however, you will pay twice or more for a website that would normally cost 1,500 euros, with some providers. Here it is always necessary to recalculate. In addition, these contracts are often extended automatically without any significant service being provided during the extension period.
Modular systems such as Wix, Jimdo or Website Butler, which are also offered to the customer by self-appointed ‘web designers’ as a technical framework, are problematic. The website is linked to the contract. If at some point you want to switch to another web hosting provider, your entire website is gone.
The possibility to pay in installments is also offered by Webdesigner. There are special offers especially for start-ups. Mostly you get much more performance for the same money and the company homepage is not only licensed but actually your property.
Tip #5 Which content management systems are offered?
Thanks to modern content management systems, abbreviated CMS, the self-care of your own company homepage has become possible without having to have technical knowledge. CMS are easy to use after a short training period; they have a graphical user interface similar to MS Word.
Best of all, professional systems such as WordPress or Contao are all open source and therefore free of charge. No serious web designer will therefore ask you to pay for the CMS itself. Working time and thus costs are incurred for the installation and configuration of the CMS as well as the extensions with which special functions are provided.
Contao and WordPress are sufficient in most cases. Drupal and Typo3 are recommended if special programming is necessary, because both CMS are more flexible. However, the setup is much more complex and therefore the costs are higher.
If you maintain your company homepage only rarely, only once or twice a year, or add new content, it makes sense to hand over the maintenance despite CMS. Every system requires a certain training period. If you do this so rarely, you have forgotten everything again and it takes too much time to get used to it.
Special scepticism is advisable if a web designer or a web design agency wants to sell you a self-developed CMS. This does not only mean throwing money out the window, but in the worst case even dependence on a web designer and his fancy solution.
For most medium-sized businesses, small businesses and freelancers, the scope of services of a basic version of common CMS is already completely sufficient. The big CMS have the support of a broad developer community. If required, most functions can be added to with existing extensions comparatively easily, which keeps costs low.
This article, which is primarily aimed at business start-ups, start-ups & self-employed people, helps you to find the right web designer or web design agency to make the realization of your own company homepage a success.
* How to find an experienced and competent web designer or web design agency?
* Which details have to be considered when searching for a webdesigner?
* How to recognize a professional, how to recognize an amateur?