In our last blog post, we discussed the reasons why your website matters in today’s social media centered world. Now, we want to hammer home the importance of a professionally designed website. Finding a trustworthy web designer can be difficult in this day and age, with so many agencies claiming to be coding experts. To avoid spending thousands of dollars on a poorly constructed website, follow these steps and make sure you choose the right web designer for your business:

Create a list of websites you like

If this is your first professional website, you may be going into the design process with little or no knowledge of what you want it to look like. Start researching businesses that sell the same products or services that you do and make notes of anything that catches your eye. If you admire their homepage layout or the interactive graphics, include those details in your report. This will save you time and money when you start communicating your needs to a web designer.

Discuss your budget ahead of time

If you’re a small business owner or you work as an independent contractor, the cost of a new website can be overwhelming at first. Depending on your particular needs and business goals, you can find a variety of web designers with a wide range of pricing structures. Forbes suggests that the average fee for a web designer runs between $40-$75 per hour, but there are people who will work for much more or much less than that. If your web designer charges a one-time fee, find out if any special services are included in the price, such as mobile capability or search engine optimization. Discussing your budget up front can prevent any surprising charges on your final invoice.

Ask to see examples of their previous work

Web design agencies typically have a portfolio displayed on their website that is solely dedicated to past projects. However, if you can’t find any examples of their work online, ask them to send you links of websites they’ve created for previous clients. A reputable web designer will have plenty of attractive websites for you to browse through. If you aren’t impressed with their work, you can expect mediocre work from that agency. Don’t settle for a web designer until they’ve proven that their websites are clean, responsive, and up to date on technology and trends.

Make sure your website is designed from scratch

As with everything else in the world, you get what you pay for. If you’re working with a tiny budget, your web designer will most likely use a pre-made template to create your website. However, if you’re spending thousands of dollars for quality work, you want to make sure the agency is using unique code to build your site from the ground up. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a website that looks exactly like every other client they’ve worked with before. This could especially become problematic if the agency designs websites for similar businesses in your particular industry or niche.

Find out if they offer graphic design services

Finding a web designer that also offers graphic design services can really help streamline the production and overall look of your website. Having unique imagery on each webpage helps you stand out from the crowd and prevents you from having to use stock photos. The agency may even be able to create a logo for your business if you don’t already have one. If the web designer can’t provide these services, ask for recommendations on where to find a reputable graphic designer. Chances are, they’ve worked with one or two in the past.

Request full ownership of your site

In order to protect your business and make changes to the site later on, ask your web designer if you will have full ownership once the site is created. If not, the agency may use your website design, logo, or written content for future clients and create copyrighting issues for you down the line. Full ownership will also allow you to easily update or modify the website on your own without having to pay the agency each time you want to make a change.

Choosing the right web designer for your business can make or break your overall brand. If your website is poorly designed, slow to load, or looks just like everyone else’s, your customers may defer to a more professional-looking competitor that takes pride in their online presence.

If you’re looking for a responsive website that is customized to support the needs and goals of your business, fill out our contact form today. You can also reach our office in Mobile, Alabama by calling 251-206-6118.