15 Dec 2015

Hiring a Website Designer: Worst Mistakes Smart People Make

This is one of the few posts that most website designers wouldn’t want you to read. The explanation is that most of web designers like to be perceived as people with some sort of magical powers—as wizards and use the magic to mystify unsuspecting clients into thinking web design is complex than it can be imagined.

Here is the guide you’ve long sought for to help you steer clear of dumb mistakes that surprisingly even smart people do when hiring website designer. Take a look:

1. Paying Too Little

Most people want something for nothing or something for a really small price, at the very least. Web design is a different story altogether.

This is how most people reason—paying thousands of dollars to have a website designed is a waste of money and that paying few hundred dollars is saving. This is anything but truth. The ultimate objective of a website for the vast majority is to MAKE MONEY, not otherwise. While there is some truth in this, by skimping on your website design project, you run a high risk of receiving a second rate, poorly designed website that may not net in as much sales that a professionally built site would have gained. One of the most common w ay people try to save money when building their website is by using “free” website builders discussed below:

Using “Free” website builders

The term “free” here implies that just about everything comes with a cost even if it’s totally free. Most people ask us about some of the builders used to create websites. Yes, we wonder and get really concerned about these “free” sites available right now. Great website designers have nothing to do with such builders.

Here is food for thought. Say you’re hiring a wedding photographer. Of course, there are top quality cameras out there that take impressive pictures. Then why would you even bother to hire an expert for that role? Still, why would you pay the photographer$5000+ if you can still get awesome pictures for “free” by getting a friend to take up the role on that good quality camera?

You probably already have the answer. Because this is your wedding! Being one of the most important days of your life, you want the best. Come on, you’re going to look at those pictures every day for the rest of your life.

The example above applies to hiring a website designer. If your business is small or medium sized then the opportunity cost of getting a just good looking website verses an industry leading website is basically the “small” difference that translates into hundreds of dollars in sales.

2. Paying Too Much

Unsuspecting people easily get tricked into believing that website designers possess magical powers. They actually don’t. Here’s the secret of great website design: There isn’t anything special about advanced website programs for web design.

Paying $1000 or $200,000 for a website, as far as the design process is concerned, most of these websites are basically HTML and CSS. Then again, paying an extra amount of money, say $10k on your site won’t influence the fact that you’ll still receive pages marked up with CSS and HTML. Avoid letting fancy high-end design firm tools fool you on this one!

Here’s another example: A website like Apple.com, while it looks really gorgeous, is still marked up with HTML and CSS for the design part though several other scrips have been included to alter functionality, but as far as the design goes, there isn’t much.)

As an extra tip, avoid making the mistake of paying website designers too much when there really isn’t too much to add to. Also do not get intimidated by complex website terminologies into thinking website designers are wizards!

3. Hiring Designers to build your site

Hiring website designers is not by any means a mistake. Any website designer, be it a graphic designer or a website designer, is ideally an artist by nature. This can only mean one thing—that they are concerned with how things look rather than how they work—to make the designs aesthetically beautiful and pleasing which is really great.

But most designers don’t really understand the purpose of having a website. A great web design goes beyond prettiness. The purpose of websites is to showcase or sell products or services. Typically, the goal of most website designers should seek to achieve is to provoke visitor attention to contact you and end up doing business with you.

Hiring a website designer who’s more focused on the design part is that they might lose sight of the ultimate goals. Note that this does not mean you should work with a poorly designed website. We’re big fans of elegant, beautiful yet simple and communicative sites.

4. Failing to Lookout for Hidden Fees

Most website designers lure clients with attractive rates and nice looking websites only to end up with additional fees and a barrage of up-sells. To avoid this mistake, or better a nightmare, be clear about what your expectations are. Better still, put them in writing and outline the agreed fee.

There are two red flags to watch out for; website designers who don’t provide a money-back guarantee as well as those with many or no reviews. A money back guarantee is an indication that the website designer is committed to fulfilling your project needs while having many high quality reviews is a good reason to entrust your project on their hands.

5. Not Knowledgeable in SEO and Social Media

How important is a great website that doesn’t have visitors? Several people bemoan having invested a great deal of time, effort and money on a website that no one visits. The most important sources of traffic to your website are definitely through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social media. SEO implies how people find you in organic results.

Social media traffic sources include Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube etc. where visitors gather to share experiences through word of mouth. It’s very important to work with your website designer in trying to solve this. Needless to say the designer should be well versed with proper Social Media and SEO techniques and who’s in a position to integrate both from the word go. Avoid this mistake: hiring a website designer who doesn’t understand how SEO and Social media integrate into your overall site designer plan.