What to look for in a web designer

Over the past 20 years web design has constantly changed so website owners have needed to keep their website up to date with the latest trends. Choosing the type of website you want is a big decision so its best to draft out your website before passing it onto a web designer.

In this guide we'll discuss and help you decide the type of website you want your web designer to design for you, or the options available to design your website by yourself.

CMS or static website

One of the first decisions you'll need to be aware of is are you want to build your website in a content management system (CMS) for easy management, or a static website which is basically just coded HTML/CSS files? Our recommendation is if you are not code savvy is to choose a content management system such as WordPress.

Other content management systems are also available if you are more advanced including Joomla and Drupal but we'll be sticking with WordPress for this topic.

The process begins

Deciding which web designer you should choose can be a long process although it can be a much simpler process by asking them a few questions to rule out and narrow your selection. Common questions such as:

  • How long do you generally take to create a website?
  • Do you require full payment or a deposit?
  • Do I have full access to my website once completed?
  • Do you require a brief/draft?
  • Is my website going to be fully responsive?
  • How long have you been designing websites?

  • Above are just a few of the common questions you should ideally be asking before you begin although you'll need to find out more about the designer as it will give you a better idea which we'll break down below.

    Coding

    It's very important to find out what your web designer specialises in. Minimum requirements should be the ability to effectively use HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) to write up your website and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) regardless if they are using WordPress or hand coding it themselves. If you are wanting to a more advanced website then a web developer may be required which includes coding languages such as

  • Java
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • SQL/MariaDB

  • Agree your terms

    One of the most important parts before starting any work is to get a contract in writing between yourself and the web designer, this will then cover yourself if any problems arise so you are in a legal position should communication break down between yourselves. Make sure you state your terms including any revisions after the work is completed should you want your website editing before it goes live.

    Portfolio

    You'll want to see some of their previous projects to get a rough idea how they create websites. Websites should ideally be checked to see if they are fully responsive and showing correctly on different devices such as your mobile device, your laptop or PC, you can also try re-sizing the browser to see if they fit to the browser correctly.

    Does it really matter if its responsive? Yes, Google recently made changes to its search engine algorithms so that websites which were "mobile friendly" appeared higher on search engine results.

    Ask for reviews

    Ask for reviews of their previous work, this will show you how well they have dealt with previous clients. Reviews are a great way to find out if they have stayed in contact with the client throughout the design process and if it was done to their standard.

    Desiging your own website

    If you are wanting to design your own we would still recommend the option of using WordPress and a premium theme which allows you to not have as much technical coding knowledge.

    1. Find a domain and WordPress hosting provider to setup your site.

    2. Remove all the default pages installed with WordPress, more information setting up available by clicking here.

    3. Search themeforest.net for premium themes, some of the most common themes we've listed below.

  • divi theme
  • Be theme
  • Avada theme
  • Bridge theme