What To Look For In A Web Designer

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If you’re thinking of working with a web designer then this is the post for you. I’m going to tell you what to look for in a web designer, and because I’m a web designer myself, I’m going to give you the inside scoop.

I’ll tell you the biggest red flags you need to look out for, as well as what sort of attitude your web designer should have towards you, to help you make this exciting decision for your business!

What To Look For In A Web Designer: From a Web Designer

First of all, there are a lot of different web designers out there. So you will find the right one for you but the key is not to rush this decision and to take your time shopping around.

If you’re wondering what to look for in a web designer then some of that will be personal preference and some can easily be covered off with my tips below.

You’ve got the ones who are vague on pricing until they slide into your DMs and the ones who display their pricing on their website (like me).

The ones who are just starting out and need their first clients and the ones who’ve been in the game for a while and have seen it all.

The ones who only use page builders and the ones who NEVER use page builders… you get the idea.

The truth is that none of this actually matters when considering what to look for in a web designer. Your end result could be the same whether it’s their first website or their 1000th website, whether they use page builders or don’t… you get the idea.

So here’s the real insider info on what to look for in a web designer for the best web design for your business.

How much input do they ask of you?

At the beginning of all my web design projects I send my clients a questionnaire and Pinterest board brief for them to complete before I start working on their design.

This is one of the most important parts of the web design process.

If your web designer doesn’t ask you for any input on the design, or for any relevant content, this is a huge red flag. Without your designer knowing what content will be on your website, or your design preferences, it’s highly likely you’ll end up with a design you hate or a design that doesn’t work for your business.

On a more practical basis, your web designer should agree with you the best website platform for your business before you sign your contract. You don’t want to find out halfway through the project that they’re building you a Wix website for Wordpress website prices!

Do they have testimonials from previous clients?

Client testimonials go a long way. My best testimonial is featured front and centre on my homepage because 1). it’s quite possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever said about working with me and 2). I want all new clients to know what it’s like to work with me.

You have to trust that the testimonials are real but I think you can tell that by the style of writing each of them have. If they all sound like they’re written by the same person then they probably are!

When researching what to look for in a web designer, make sure to check out their Google listing and see if any reviews have been left there, as well as their Facebook page.

Pay attention to exactly what the clients are saying too. “X designed me a great website!” is not the same as “X understood my business goals perfectly and designed the perfect website for my needs! I love it!”.

Are they honest with you?

If you’re planning to work with a web designer I’m going to assume you’re not a designer yourself. Which means that sometimes your ideas might seem great when actually… they don’t work in practice.

Your web designer should be honest and tell you when your idea doesn’t work. They don’t have to be rude about it but they definitely have an obligation as your designer to tell you.

Here’s how I handle this.

Unless something is a hard web design no-no (like stealing content, very light text on a white background, pixelated images, etc.) I will always give it a try. I send the updated version to my client and tell them that I don’t love it (and why) and ask what do they think now they’ve seen it in the flesh?

Every client to date has come back and agreed with me but ultimately they’re happy that they got to try out their idea, that I was honest about it and moving forward we have a nice back and forth for trying out new ideas.

I love the trust this builds is invaluable when they know I’ll be honest with them and I feel this is reciprocated (see more on that below).

So ask yourself, would your web designer be honest or would they just do whatever you want to keep you happy and ‘get the job done’?

Can you be honest with them?

On the topic of honesty, it’s so important that you are honest with your web designer too. If what they’ve designed just isn’t quite right then you need to feel you can communicate that to them. Hopefully, as you’re interested in what to look for in a web designer, this is something that matters to you already.

It can be hard to gauge this before you sign a contract with a web designer because work won’t have started yet but client testimonials are a great way to try and assess this.

Look for words like accommodating, understanding, responsive and thorough which are a good indication that the designer is open to your opinions and feedback.

Looping back to the first point about your input, if your designer asks for a lot of input from you initially then chances are this is because they want to design something you’ll love and should be open to your feedback.

What does their website look like?

This is one of the easiest things to assess before you sign a contract and agree to work with a web designer. How’s their website looking these days? This should probably be the number 1: what to look for in a web designer tip on this post!

If their website is a simple coming soon page – that’s a red flag.

It speaks volumes about a web designer that they haven’t designed their own website before trying to build websites for others.

Sure, they might actually have a website and just be re-designing it, but most web designers will have a test environment for that and carry out the work whilst their old website design is still live.

If there’s nothing but a coming soon page for over 24 hours? That’s not installing a new design, that’s a sign they don’t have their own website yet.

What vibe do you get from them?

When you talk to your potential web designer, do you like them? What sort of vibe do you get from them?

I talk to my clients like I talk to my friends because I think it’s important for setting the right level of communication moving forward (see: honesty points above). I’m all for seeing a cute pic of your dog on Instagram as well as hearing what you think of the latest design mock-ups I’ve sent over.

You don’t have to love your web designer, although that would be great, but you definitely need to feel like you can go to them with anything and be honest with them if you’re unhappy. That is a million times easier if you actually get on with them as a person.

If you get any kind of negative vibe from your web designer before you’ve started working together then you should look for another designer. This is the definition of NOT what to look for in a web designer! You shouldn’t be made to feel like you’re irritating or like you’re not the most important part of this process – because you are!

TLDR: Here’s what to look for in a Web Designer

There’s a recurring theme here that you need to do your research thoroughly when scoping out what to look for in a web designer. Their attitude towards you plays a huge part whether they’re right for your project.

Luckily this is something you can figure out pretty early on in the process through their social media accounts and interactions with you, as well as their website and client testimonials.

The most important tip I can give you in what to look for in a web designer is that if you get even the slightest inkling that something it off – run for the hills!

And if you still haven’t found anyone after all this? Then you haven’t found the right web designer for you but don’t panic, there’s plenty more fish in the sea 😉.

Written by Kate Smoothy
Kate Smoothy is an SEO specialist and web designer based in Essex, England. As well as being the director of Webhive Digital, Kate shares SEO tips and guides on TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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