How to Find a Decent Web Designer

The first strategy you can employ is time-tested. Ask someone for a referral. Most of our clients come through referrals and word of mouth is usually the best strategy when picking a web designer because it’s usually what we do with all other services or trades… we ask our friends. You need a carpenter, painter, plumber… the first thing we usually do is ask around to see if our friends and family knows anyone and it usually works out fine. (Assuming of course that your friends LIKE their web designers!)

The second strategy is to look at sites that you like, whether its in your local town or industry, or simply some site that you happened to stumble upon. Most times web development companies have a referral link on the bottom of their client’s sites, so you can check them out and see if the rest of their work is cool. But before you contact them, drop a note to the site’s owner. Make sure they had a good experience before you get yourself into a proposal process. Most small business website owners will be happy to take a minute to tell you whether their designer gets a thumbs up or thumbs down. This is probably the second most likely reason we get contacted… someone saw a site we did and then they asked the site owner if things went well, then they contact us directly.

The third strategy could seem a little scary because it involves reaching out to strangers either through a web search, an advertisement or some random link you saw somewhere. This is the web equivalent of a cold call and there are some things you can take into consideration.

When you’re talking with them, do they seem to throw a lot of technical terms at you, like a car mechanic who throws out a lot of incomprehensible mumbo jumbo but doesn’t bother trying to explain it in regular terms? Do they suggest building a site that you can control over or do you get the feeling that they really want to do all the updates themselves? Last but not least, do they have enough experience? You should be able to see at least 15-20 projects they’ve done. You don’t have to like them all, but they should clearly show a variety of styles and content types, because this will tell you that they’ve worked with lots of different types of clients.

Why Outsourcing Your Website Development Project Is a Good Idea

People who operate small businesses are often faced with a difficult problem. They may only have a limited number of employees that must complete all of the day to day operations that keep a company in business. As all companies become more dependent on technology in general and information technology specifically, the decision of whether to outsource or not is becoming more difficult to make. Here are some facts that may make it easier for you to make that decision for your company.

The advantages of outsourcing website development

There are many advantages to outsourcing website development. The same advantages also pertain to website maintenance as well. The first advantage is cost. Although it may seem expensive to hire an outsourcer to perform these tasks for you, the fact is that in the long run it may end up saving you quite a bit of money. Unless your company is one that is operating in the information technology sector it may have little need to have an IT expert on staff. The cost of having an IT expert on staff full time may be very prohibitive to some companies especially those that have a very tight bottom line.

Another advantage is that you will save a lot of time by outsourcing your website development and maintenance needs. Instead of dealing with companies that offer mass produced templates and poor quality websites or spending the time and energy needed to build a custom website yourself you may find that handing the project to a qualified and trustworthy company can save you quite a bit of time indeed. Experts have proven that by concentrating on the core tasks that a company needs to concern themselves with and outsourcing the remaining work a company can end up being much more profitable in the long run.

You can be sure that the site will be functional and easy to locate. A professional website developer has had experience working with different technologies and can mesh them together into a site that functions the way it is supposed to. A website that is not fully functional can end up driving customers away which leads to lost revenues.

The disadvantages of outsourcing website development

There are few disadvantages of outsourcing your website development and maintenance. Perhaps the biggest one is that you may be placing your trust in a company which does not understand what the goal of your business may be. This may be especially true of charitable organizations or foundations that may have specific goals or mandates.

If you do get an unsuitable website design you may find that a certain amount of time will be necessary in order to bring the project back to a state that you feel comfortable with. However, even though this will take some time, it will usually take much less time than it would be if you were building a site on your own.

In the end, there are many more advantages to working with a professional website design company rather than building a site yourself. If you look at a web development company’s portfolio and choose one that has the style and skills you are looking for you can outsource your site development and still end up with a great site in the end.

SEO and Web Design: What Does One Have to Do With the Other?

For beginning web designers, this is a common question. Many still think of search engine optimization (SEO) and web design as two exclusive issues. They don’t see them as two separate jobs, rather than one being a part of the other. The reality is, every web designer needs to know at least the very basics of SEO before they design a website today.

What is SEO?

SEO is the art of communicating with the search engines. Websites that want real people to actually find their website and visit need to work with the search engines, since those engines are used by millions of people every single day to find websites of value. If the top search engines like Google and Yahoo do not see value in a website, then it is doomed. No exaggeration.

So, you need to communicate with the search engines if you want your website to do well. How do you do that? You do it through SEO strategies like picking the right keywords and having them woven into your website and designing every element of the site to say something about your content.

You can’t just pick up the phone and tell Google all about your great new website. The website has to do the talking on its own behalf. That’s why SEO is so crucial today.

What Does SEO Have to Do with Web Design?

SEO has a lot to do with web design because some of the most important elements of speaking to the search engines involve basic design elements. For instance, did you know that you need your primary keyword in the URL of your site? You do! This means some SEO needs to take place before you even have the web designer register your domain name.

SEO starts before the design process in most cases, and there’s a reason for that!

A designer needs to know a lot more than how you want your website to look. They need a good idea of what this site needs to do in a functional capacity. They need to know what keywords you are trying to rank highly on with the search engines. They can then use the right words for your URL and in other elements of the design.

Finding a Web Designer Who Knows SEO

Basic web design doesn’t incorporate a ton of SEO, but you can find web design services that are also pros on SEO. This is the best type of service to use because they can be hired to design the site with SEO in mind. This sets your site up for success with the search engines right from its birth.

You may pay more for these services, especially if you are hiring them for extensive optimization involving your content as well as elements of design. It is well worth it in the end!

At the very least, learn about SEO and do some keyword research before you even hand your website project off to the designer. Make sure you know what your primary keywords are going to be and then make sure your chosen URL name reflects at least one major keyword for your site.

Of course, that URL name should have something of interest in there for the humans as well, since they are the ones choosing to click or not from the search results pages.