10 mistakes to avoid when hiring a website designer / agency | Common web design mistakes


10 mistakes to avoid when developing or hiring a website designer/agency

How can you as a web designer avoid bad web designs

Common web design mistakes

Avoid free website builders and related tools 

Nothing is ever really free. That goes for website builders and tools alike. Why do we say this? 
There is usually a big trade-off of website functionality for speedy website building. 
The lack of a professional UX designer, somebody who knows how to create a great user experience will be evident. 
Free tools have very limited functionality and you have to pay to get the functions this may be fine if you need something simple, but a more robust website will need more functions which you will have to pay for anyway. 
Many of these free cookie-cutter website builders are template-based so your website will be sharing the same design with thousands of other websites across the internet. This is not a great way to gain customer’s trust or to establish a tailored experience with your brand for your clients.  
What’s more, Google dislikes duplicate content very much, Google loves unique, informative easy to use websites and what Google loves will get more views on its search engine. In short, it will hurt your Search engine optimization efforts in the long run. 

Not Looking at their web design portfolio 

This is one we see all too often in website design companies or website designers. They will have beautifully designed web pages for their business and a portfolio of 3 – 4 sites that look ok but… 
Pro tip: Google “web design by {company name}” or “website design by {company name}” you may have to try a few variations to find the right search result. 
What this intends to do, as most web developers or design agencies put their company name in the footer credits of the websites they create, is help you find websites that are not listed on their website.
 Many times you will find a lot of badly designed websites and these websites. Yes, the websites that aren’t being shown to you are the best indication of how well your prospective web designer or agency works. 
The point here is to investigate, you are after all investing money into this for your business website. 
You have to dig into the designer’s website and the websites they have built. Check how they set up their navigation. Do you like the style they have used? Check to see if they have optimized their sites for search engines. Make sure they are using responsive design so your design will lay out well on all devices. Examine if they have clear examples of sites they have designed. Go visit those sites and see if you like how those sites work and look.
Ask one of your designer friends to check out their site. See what their professional opinion says about their work and what you need. Check for yourself if the designer has done similar projects to your own so he can bring that expertise to your site.  

Not getting a content management system (CMS)

A Content Management System (CMS) allows you to quickly and easily update certain aspects of your website without the need for a designer or engineer to help you. Without it, you’re stuck with having to contact your developer or designer anytime you want a change to be made.
Content management systems like WordPress can also allow you to easily scale not just content but functionality as your business grows ( there are a lot of website types out there ). For example, your website may start as a catalog site showcasing your products or services only, perhaps later when your business grows or you have a bigger budget for your website then you can add an eCommerce store, or a booking functionality lives chat systems and so much more. 
All of this can be done while retaining the core of your original site and will cost less to implement from an already designed website on a CMS than one that is not. 

Underestimating the value of a website good designer and developer

good designer and developer
With all the website builders and tutorials at your disposal online today it’s easy to be tempted to rush off and build your website yourself and save some money.
The value of a good web designer however is something you need to experience first hand. They will point out flaws in the design, navigation, layout, and site architecture. 
They have studied website trends across industries and know what users in a specific industry look for and how they use a website. A good designer also understands that a website is never a designer for himself or the business owner but the user. They focus on design principles, aesthetics, and usability of websites.
A web developer is just as important and they tend to take care of the internals of the website. They make functionalities fluid by simplifying unscary code, debug your website, they create a back end, and strive for compatibility, security, and functionality. 
Most businesses with good ranking and large online websites have a website designer and/or developer behind them. They understand that DIY websites may cost them more in the long run than doing it right from the start. Get an idea of what websites cost here.

Not having a website maintenance plan 

Ongoing Website Maintenance.png
Web developers know trends of programming languages that will depreciate with new versions and possibly affect your site. This happens to almost all programming languages.
In a perfect world, once a website was up and running, it would run smoothly forever. However, that is not the case. 
Websites require regular maintenance, updates, and upkeep of all kinds. When choosing a web design firm, make sure you hire one that provides these types of services. 
Also, you will want to make sure that it will be within your budget to keep doing so. While increasingly rare, it is also possible for your website to get hacked. If it ever does, you want to know that you can quickly speak with someone who can fix and secure your site so that your business is unharmed.

Not getting full credentials to your website and its server 

You need to have full credentials for your website web hosting management system and also your website. This results in a company not having complete control over their website, making them dependent on the web design company. Full credentials will also allow you to see what really on your web hosting server in terms of space, emails, and other services that your business is paying for. It’s also important if the web design agency and yourself may have a dispute 

Not setting a scope for the project. 

A well-organized web design company will set a scope along with you for your project. This will include all pages, functionalities, hosting, and support information. Having these clearly defined is critical in avoiding being charged for something that may already be included in what you had purchased. It assists in defining the role and duties of the design agency. When everybody knows exactly what their job is things tend to go smoother. Here is a list of 10 elements every business website needs.

Not delivering the best content you have. 

This is one we have seen quite a few times. Business owners don’t have much time on their hands, and in many cases, don’t have much content in terms of images and text. This is a major problem for an agency if they are trying to provide you the best website for a few reasons. 
Only you know your industry, products, or services as well as you do. For a website to reflect that the design agency needs the best content they can get.
 Low quality or irrelevant images will only serve to make the website look worse. If you don’t have the time to find out if your web design agency offers content writing and photography services it may cost a bit more but it makes a world of difference in the final product. 

Relying Too Heavily on Your Web Designer to Brand Your Business

Web clients all too frequently leave product decisions to designers, by not providing clear enough creative direction and not having a messaging strategy around their products and services. How many services do you have? How should they be presented? These are not decisions that your designer should be making, and if you require those services, we recommend that you hire a full-service digital marketing agency.
Likewise, designers are not supposed to be creating metadata for your website, aside from assigning placeholder page descriptions and alt text for images. Keywords should come from your end as well unless you also hired your designer to provide SEO services.

Final Thoughts 

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid when choosing a web design company, you can rest easy knowing that you can now pick a solid and reputable company to create your website for you. When done well, a website for your business will increase your leads and sales. This will allow you to grow and expand your company. It all begins with a stellar website that looks and functions great. Take time to study all the options available to you. This could make or break your business, especially if it is online-based.


Related Topics:

  • The Risk: Project delays.

  • The Risk: Project delays.

  • The Risk: Poor performing pages.

  • The Risk: Poor Design.

  • The Risk: Poor performing pages.

  • The Risk: Poor design, poor performing pages.

  • The Risk: Project delays, project cancellation.

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Written By: New Perspective Design

New Perspective Design is a leading graphic and web design agency based in East London South Africa. We also specialize in the fields of search engine optimization and online marketing with over 6 years of experience in the industry. Our agency has a passion for growing business online and thrives on mutually beneficial relationships with our clients.

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