A range of platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are bursting at the seams with freelance website designers who are a dime a dozen. With what feels like a gazillion options to sort through, how do you find the best web designer for your business goals?
TL;DR Start by resisting the urge to hire website designers who offer you services for dirt cheap prices 🤑
At a glance, it might seem like you’re saving up on dollars, but are you? With website design, and digital morketing, you get what you pay for. Think of what you stand to lose in the long run—the amazing ROI of a great website that helps you sell and build a strong online presence in your niche.
You need a professional website designer who can create a fantabulous website that makes a great first impression on your target audience. It has to knock their socks off in 50 milliseconds. You have to have your target audience at hello (thanks again, Renee).
This is why you must hire a website designer who’s experienced and skilled. Your website, when strategically built, can be your best marketer, salesperson, storyteller, brand ambassador, and PR all rolled into one. It has the power to bring you relevant leads and conversions around the clock.
Not sure where or how to get started? Here’s everything you need to know.
Presenting to you (drum roll please) the no-gobbledygook, definitive guide that will show you how to find the best web designer to skyrocket your business. This guide will cover five sections (of equal importance) to help you gain an in-depth understanding of the topic. So hold on to your screens. Here we go!
Answering Your Question: “I Need a Website Designer. Where Do I Start?”
You need to start with the website basics. No matter what business you run today, you can be 100% sure that your customers are looking for you online (even right now as you read this). They are likely to check out your website before they visit your brick-and-mortar business in person. If your website lacks clarity and quality in design, you risk losing them right during the stage of discovery.
What is Website Design?
Your website design defines what your brand feels and looks like to your potential customers online. It does this through the website structure, layout, colors, images, graphics, SEO, interface design, user experience design, and more. A website design must be the right balance between art and functionality.
Your website has to reach your target audience through their screens, past all the digital noise, and grab their attention the moment they land on your website. Why? Over 1.7 billion websites flood the online space today.
A bland website that’s good enough is just not good enough. It may even help your competitor’s business. Wait, what? You’ll be waving goodbye to your potential customers walking away charmed by your competitor’s quality website.
Your website design has to be founded on a sound digital strategy in line with your business model, your goals, and your target audience. This is a necessity to attract high-quality traffic.
Learn more about web design through our ultimate guide to web design.
What Kind of Website Do You Want to Create?
You can choose to create a static or a dynamic website based on the functionality you require for your business.
Need a Brand New Website or a Website Redesign?
Are you looking to build a website from scratch or revamp your existing website? If you have a functioning website, you might wonder why you would want to think about redesigning it.
A website redesign can improve your website ranking on Google, conversion rate, and alignment with your target audience’s needs and expectations. Even your paid marketing efforts will work more efficiently when your website is designed in line with your brand value.
Here are some questions to help you decide whether your website requires a redesign:
- Has your business grown from when you launched your website? Along with your business, your sales and marketing goals must have also evolved. This must reflect on your website.
- Are you happy with the leads and conversions your website is bringing in? We can tell by that long pause you could do better. This could mean redesigning landing pages and looking at your conversion paths.
- Does it represent the best of your business through its design?
- Is your website engaging your target audience or collecting dust?
- Do the pages take forever to load? Your customers will leave before they ever find out what you can offer them.
- Is it relevant to the latest changes in consumer behavior from 2020 A.C. (after Covid)?
- Are you driving your customers towards your goals on the site?
- Is the customer journey mapped across the site?
- Has the brand and tone been presented in the right ways?
- Is your website ancient and out of date?
- Would you rate the user experience on your website below average?
- Do you suffer from terribly low traffic?
- Does your website rank well for keywords that matter to your business?
- Is it responsive and accessible?
What to Look for While Looking for a Website Designer
A website designer designs the way your website pages appear. They design mock-ups and wireframes using popular tools, such as Miro, Figma, and Excalidraw to create the blueprint of your website structure.
In theory, that seems like all you need for great web design, but (of course, there is a but) it isn’t.
Your website has to be crafted in such a way that your customers trust and return for more. Here’s a dive into some must-know website designer basics to help you.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Website Designer
Why take the effort to hire an experienced and professional website designer? They will be able to:
- Help position your brand well in the market and your customers’ eyes.
- Suggest what concepts will work for your business, as they would have tried and tested numerous design ideas in their many years of experience
- Point you towards which website platforms will work best for your business website
- Make your website look the part with their know-how and skills in code, image optimization, responsive design, the right plugins, and more
- Boost your Google rankings, as they can help with optimizing website SEO
- Add more functionalities to your website down the line, as your business grows
- Offer you support services even after the launch, should you need it
- Develop the right functionalities for your target audience with their sound knowledge of the latest technologies and tools
Need a Website Developer to Help with Website Design?
When business owners look for a website designer, they don’t realize they also need to hire a website developer.
A website developer is a programmer who translates website design into a functional website using front-end and back-end technologies. Here’s what these terms mean:
To develop a website, you need designers, front-end developers, and back-end developers. Full stack web developers are skilled in many programming languages and specialize in both front-end and back-end web development.
Some may say that a full stack web developer with a tinge of designing experience should be your go-to for website design. Here is the problem with that: A developer is a developer is a developer is a developer (not a designer).
A website developer is sound in programming and logical, yet lacks the creativity that a designer has to make your website shine.
What Other Services Does the Website Designer Offer?
Our words of advice?
Choose a digital marketing agency that can handle website designing, website developing, and everything else website-related for you, rather than choosing multiple freelancers. You won’t then have to spend time project managing the various tasks.
An agency can take care of all your website needs on their own with their team in-house.
The unicorns of the web design world, if you will 🦄
Yes, these kinds of unicorns do exist and design amazing websites for busy clients around the world every day.
When one such agency takes care of all your online needs, it makes for a uniform brand voice, message, and tone, as well as a cohesive online strategy. These are crucial factors that help your customers notice your brand’s differentiator and choose you.
We will be there for you. Once we work with a client, we won’t sign up for any of their competitors in the same niche. We differ from other agencies; we care about every client’s progress and relationship with us. Think of SociallyInfused as your external internal marketing department.
To sum it up:
- Fab website design = a web design unicorn handling all website-related activities + sprinkling your brand with a magical sparkle, while you keep calm and focus on your business
- Drab website design = you running your business + project managing between multiple freelancers
Where Should You Look to Find the Best Website Designer?
Where are all the expert website designers? They’re closer and easier to find than you think.
Spy on Local Businesses
No, you don’t need to grab your binoculars for this. Look up local business websites. Reach out to them to gather details of the website designers who handled their website design, if you like what you see. Make a list of all the website designers you find this way.
If you find any functionalities or features in there you think your website could benefit from, make notes to pass on to your website designer later.
Website designers chosen this way are sure to offer excellent services and affordable prices because other local businesses have used their services and have given you positive feedback.
Google Local Digital Agencies
Let’s say you’re looking for a digital agency in Hamilton to take care of all your website needs, Google “best digital marketing agencies in Hamilton”. The first page of Google search result pages will list the best digital marketing agencies.
This is also a great way to find out if the agency can help you rank for local keywords. If they claim they can help you gain local search result rankings to increase visibility to your potential customers in the region, they should have done this successfully for themselves. When their website ranks for local SEO terms, this is proof they know what they’re talking about and practice what they preach.
If your potential customers are looking for products or services on Google this way, they have high commercial intent and are easy to convert. Local SEO also helps you rank better on Google, resulting in high conversions. These are some reasons it pays (literally) to conquer local rankings.
Why Local, though?
We recommend local agencies because you can hold them accountable for issues regarding their services with ease. You can march straight into their office and chat face-to-face to solve pressing problems. With local agencies, you enjoy clear visibility of the ones doing well and the ones that aren’t. This helps you make an informed decision.
The most important reason of all? Local digital marketing agencies enjoy access to data buckets of local businesses and regional market trends. This helps them understand regional consumer behavior and puts them in the best position to offer digital solutions to help your business soar.
For example: REED Signature Interiors
When the pandemic hit, it crippled many businesses with the various changes and restrictions it brought along with it. REED Signature Interiors, specializing in home renovations in the Southern Ontario region (Burlington, Oakville, and the Greater GTA), was one such company that suffered from operational and growth challenges when they signed up for a website redesign.
Upon performing detailed market research for REED, we uncovered some invaluable trends. Canada’s pandemic relief meant Hamiltonians had money to spare in their wallets come summertime, which they were restricted to spending at home.
People in the region were searching for ways to spruce up their backyards and spend quality time with family at home, as they couldn’t go on vacation to luxurious resorts.
Leveraging the seasonal needs of potential customers, we helped REED pivot their entire marketing and brand strategy 180° with the microsite, ‘Backyard Beaver’ that offered backyard renovation services. Through this seasonal service, which has been a smashing success, we pulled REED out of a tough time without having to downsize.
“I don’t think we would have made it through the second wave of COVID without the innovative suggestion to create a new microsite and a completely separate offering to cater to what was hot at the time.” Tyler Reed, owner of both REED Signature Interiors and Backyard Beaver.
“The folks at SociallyInfused didn’t just help me through this time, they literally built out a second revenue stream for my business. We were booked for the entire summer! That’s way more than I was expecting from a marketing agency” he adds.
Check the Website Designer’s Website and Portfolio
What experience does the web designer have? Go through their work from the past. Do they specialize in a certain niche? Are they experienced designing for many businesses? If they have worked with brands from many industries and backgrounds, you may see a wide variety of styles and themes in their portfolio.
Their designs may not reflect their style, as they must have tailored these to clients’ preferences. If you find a common design style running across many sites in their portfolio, that is their design style. You can expect that style to run into your website.
Don’t forget to take time to go through their website. What you see on their website is their unique style.
Here are some of the quickest ways to tell if their designs would be a fit match for your expectations. Other than the aesthetics of their portfolio websites and their website, some factors that could indicate how professional they are include:
- How the sites they’ve created flow for the user
- Are these websites responsive?
- What are the websites’ functionalities?
- How is the user experience on these sites?
- Do the sites load quickly?
- Do they have a brand logo?
- Are you able to find what you are looking for with ease?
- Do they provide value to their visitors with crisp, high-end content?
- Can you find an email newsletter sign-up?
Read Customer Testimonials
Is the website designer or agency glowing with happy customer testimonials? Don’t stop with the customer quotes displayed on their website. Read Google reviews. Are customers just talking about design or how their new website helped their business soar? Have they mentioned what it was like to work with them? Every single detail in a customer testimonial matters.
A general rule of thumb: The more positive customer testimonials there are, the more social proof there is of the web designer’s or agency’s high-quality services.
Ask About Their Website Design Process
Check with the website designer on what process you can expect from them.
- Is their work going to be transparent once they start?
- How frequently will they showcase their progress to you?
- Are they willing to jump on call whenever you need?
- How many rounds of edits or changes can they accommodate on their design?
Listen to the Questions They Ask You
What is the website designer asking you to understand your business? Their questions help them get an idea of factors crucial to the project, such as your business goals, target audience, expected timeline, and budget. A website designer that takes the effort to ask you detailed and relevant questions can help you achieve or even surpass your website vision. Some agencies pass on detailed questionnaires to clients to help them communicate their needs and expectations with clarity.
Find Out if They’re Skilled to Deliver What They Promise
Does the website designer possess the skills to deliver an incredible website they promise they will? If you’ve chosen an agency that has offered to take you up on all your website requirements, run a check to see if they have professionals in-house to handle all they say they can. Find information about the team of professionals in the agency who will handle your project on their website. Are they qualified and experienced professionals who can deliver what you need?
Finding ‘the One’: the Professional Website Designer Who Can Boost Your Business
A professional website designer will help you not only create the swoon-worthy website you dream of but also sell your products and services to your target audience.
By Customizing Your Website to Your Unique Brand
A website that voices your business’ unique voice and tone can help you produce astonishing results.
For example, Bad Company Wildlife Eviction, a pest removal and animal control company in the Hamilton region, came to us for a redesign this year. We gave them a more intuitive UX and a brand revamp that spoke to their true values. With our copywriting services, we changed the tone on their site to reflect the positive brand they wanted to be seen as. We also handle their ongoing marketing and lead generation to help them attract the right customers and make the most of their online presence.
Note: the above numbers have been modified to protect the data and privacy of our client. However, increases in revenue share are accurate.
The redesign helped customers understand the company as a humane pest removal brand and enjoy a more positive experience while on their site. Here are the results from this redesign:
- An increase in conversations: a whopping 225% more emails and 310% more call volume
- Tripled sales revenue in the first three months
- New potential customers began to see Bad Company in a more refreshing light. They used our upbeat, cheerful tone when requesting services, even while they had a problem.
By Promoting Your Services
Customizing your website is more than tweaking a layout or installing a plugin here and there. Your website designer has to understand your business, the market, and the scope of your products/services before beginning to design (or redesign) your website.
Green Collar, a landscaping company in the Hamilton region, was recently looking for a website upgrade to launch a new service. Given our knowledge of local market trends, we performed a website rebuild and a marketing blitz campaign to help them launch their seasonal pools installation service. The company’s new service launch came out a smashing success with our marketing efforts. We helped Green Collar gain solid revenue growth through strategic guidance on what the local people wanted.
“We originally partnered with SociallyInfused Media to manage our digital presence and generate leads and customers.” remarkes Al Perreault, President at Green Collar Inc.
He continues, “The team has worked closely with us as we’ve grown. It’s been two-plus years now. Pools are a hot trend this year, as COVID concerns have a lot of people planning on staycations instead of travelling, so we naturally engaged SociallyInfused to develop a branding and go-to-market strategy for our new pool division.
Entering a brand-new market and actually penetrating it are two vastly different things. Let’s just say that their approach, inbound marketing methodology and lead-capture practices are second to none.”
By Giving Your Website that Pizzazz
“Personality is the 2021 buzzword for website design” says Vincent Bucciachio, Founder of SociallyInfused Media.
Every successful website designer should know how to use this one magic element to make a website stand out. When they add a dash of personality to your website, your potential customers are entertained. This keeps them on your pages for longer, which means you’ve impressed them enough to stop them from going to any of your competitor sites. You now have the edge that your competitors don’t.
Entertained and happy customers on your web pages = loyal customers who love your brand + buy many times
By Creating a Responsive Website
Your website designer creating a responsive website for your business is crucial. This is a major contributing factor to your success.
A responsive website is one whose pages and content display in the best ways possible across various screen sizes and devices. Mobile-friendly sites are a must, given that Google has mobile-first indexing. For your website to rank well on Google search result pages, your website must be responsive.
Your potential customers being able to view your website with ease across any of their devices increases the chances of them returning to your website, which means more conversions for you.
Salesforce recently shared that 83% of mobile users looked for a smooth experience while viewing websites across multiple devices.
Your customers want to access your website from any device they find convenient on the go. If not, off they go site hopping.
By Making a Website that is Accessible
If yours is a website featuring a business based in Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is an important factor to be considering while building your website.
Effective as of January 1, 2021, AODA states that all public and private organizations that have 50 employees need to have accessible website content for website visitors with disabilities. You can check out our Ultimate Guide on AODA right here to know more.
This is not mandatory for all businesses, and you’ll find many web designers overlooking accessibility. Here’s why it wouldn’t be wise to. An accessible website works out great for your
on-page SEO, meaning you could rank higher on Google. It also allows you to present what you do to a wider range of audiences and shows you care about your potential customers with disabilities as well. Which business wouldn’t want that?
Hiring a Website Designer—a Long Term Investment
How Do You Decide on the Budget for Your Website Design?
Ah, the most important question of all. How many dollars should you invest in your website? It depends on the answers to the questions below.
- Are you looking to create a static website with basic pages like about us, contact us, and products/services, or a dynamic website? The latter will cost you more.
- Do you want to hire a website designer to build your website from the ground up or redesign your current website?
- Are you also looking to optimize your website for SEO? The cost for this could vary depending on whether you require ranking for a particular set of keywords or to have everything from keyword research taken care of by an agency.
- Would you like the agency to take care of running your marketing campaigns and activities, after setting up the site?
- Do you need help with website updates and maintenance?
- Is the content for your website ready or do you need the agency to work on this? Your website design has to work hand in hand with your content. It makes sense to pass all of this work on to one source like an agency.
- What features would you like on your site? Some may be available as WordPress plugins, while other features may need to be custom built for your needs. A few examples: chatbots, search, live chat, and maps.
- What is your timeline for the launch of your website?
- The most important question: how much would you make every year from your brand new or redesigned website? Think of how much your revenue could spike up if it is a website redesign. It is an investment in your long-term success.
We grew from a $250,000 to $1 million+ company with SocaillyInfused Media’s help!
Our revenue increased substantially as a result of their expertise. When they implemented our site and SEO services, our team noticed significant increases in revenue.
If we spotted any issues, they would work into the night to get problems resolved for us. He runs a tight ship, and they know what they’re doing.
Are they reliable and recognized?
Rankings, awards, or any form of recognition are testimony to the quality of website designer’s services on offer and capability in the digital space. This shows they know what works.
For example, SociallyInfused was recently ranked No.2 globally in the Clutch 100 fastest-growing companies list.
The End of Our Guide—the Start of Your Dazzling Success Story
Do your homework: ask the right questions, look in the right places, perform thorough research, and check their reviews.
You deserve nothing but the best, which is why you should consider us. We are your team of seasoned professionals who can make your brand go digital in flying colors. Here’s a peek at what we can do for you. Oh, and happy website designing. May the Google algorithm be with your website, always.