What to Look for in a Good Web Designer

What to Look for in a Good Web Designer

A professional, customised website for your agency is an essential component of your online marketing strategy. In fact, it’s now just plain good business practice. As a result, there are hundreds companies out there all vying for your business.

So how do you know who to engage to get the right look and ensure your site delivers real results? Here are some strategies on sorting the good from the ordinary.

To ensure you get actual results from your agency website - not just a pretty page that no one visits but you - you need an experienced, qualified and credible web designer who will work with you to properly represent your brand and market your services effectively. There can be vast differences between companies, so you need to do your research when selecting a designer.

Building a website need not be hugely expensive. The vast number of designers in operation now ensures prices are kept in check. However, a professionally designed and built website does take planning, effort and time to produce, so in most cases you will get what you pay for.

Be wary of those who promise a “quick turn-around” or “off-the-shelf” sites, as you will no doubt simply be getting a site that already exists with a basic re-skinning in your corporate colours. Whilst this approach may suit a start-up or very small operator, in this day and age it is rarely enough to really be a useful starting place for your online marketing strategy.

On the flipside, you don’t need to invest your life-savings to get a really attractive and successful company website. The market is competitive and the tools for web design are so accessible now that you should be cautious of those who say they have to start completely from scratch and therefore charge the earth.

Your best bet is to write a simple brief (what you think you want on your website) and get three quotes from different designers. You’ll soon see whether one or the other is way off the mark.

As well as price, you will want to compare the output of your potential designer. Start by reviewing the portfolios of leading design companies in your area. What is the calibre of their clients? Have they done much work for others in your industry?

You should also compare their level of experience by the size of their portfolio. Do they have a long and strong history and experience in the property field or would you be their first client? Are you impressed by the work they have done for some of your competitors? Do you like their style and originality or do their sites all look similar? Are you confident you would be getting a unique and customised design?

And finally, consider the additional services and offerings of the design company. Are they willing to sit down with you and really work through what it is you want from your website, or are they looking to you to simply give them all the answers? Do they offer a content management system where you are able to edit and add content to your own site once it’s built, or are you going to have to pay each time you want to make a change?

More questions to ask: Are you clear on their approach to charging for changes throughout the design and build process? Do they offer a way to measure the effectiveness of your website through an analytics package? Are you able to upload your listings to other websites (portals for example)? And, are they decent and approachable people that speak in a way you can understand?

A website can tremendously improve - or harm - your agency’s image. Having a site professionally designed to incorporate an attractive and informative interface, with a useful exchange of content and encouragement of user interest and conversion, is paramount.

Your website is the cornerstone of your online marketing strategy. It is your online shopfront and, in many cases, is now the only interaction a buyer has with your business. Staying ahead of your competition online is a cost-effective but ongoing pursuit, so make sure you choose a credible designer who is going to still be in business next year and the year after and forge a successful relationship with them.

1 Comment to What to Look for in a Good Web Designer

  1. February 24, 2010 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Good post. Another point I would also add:

    When choosing a designer/developer, you should find out the hard results they have produced for their previous clients — traffic, search rankings, lead conversions, etc.

    There are so many designers out there but only a few know how to produce results…

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