You need a website to get your business off the ground and in front of your digital audience but the design, the content, the layout and the style are all leaving you a little stumped.
If this sounds familiar it’s probably time you considered engaging the services of a talented website designer to help you get your ideas on track and your website up and running and firing on all cylinders.
With today’s online environment, everyone is a ‘design expert’ or attests to be and everyone knows exactly what you need to make a great website, but how do you sort the chaff from the hay? How do you truly capture the vision you want for your website, while ensuring that it is capable of performing to your business needs?
In this article, we will explore how to track down the best freelance website designers, reviewing the pro’s and cons so you can make an informed decision and make your business shine.
What is a Website Designer?
Technically and creatively inclined, a website designer understands what is needed to make a website functional by creating a design that is aesthetically pleasing to the user.
Although they are often confused, there is a distinct difference between a website designer and a website developer. Web developers primarily focus on the technical aspects of a website, the programming language and the components whereas the web designer is responsive for the actual design and creates the front end website design, the shiny stuff if you will.
Web designers and web developers work together to create amazing websites; you can’t have one without the other, and they perform complementary tasks.
While you can be in the lucky position to have an individual that is highly trained in both disciplines, usually web developers are more behind the scenes kind of peeps and designers are all about creating an incredible UX.
Why do You Need a Web Designer?
While it might be tempting to save some cash and create your own website with one of the myriad of DIY options available online, if you’re in the market for a top notch website you’re going to need to invest in your business and engage the skills of an expert.
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ comes to mind when deciding to use a web designer, and engaging a pro who has the tools to give you the best website using the latest designs and tailored themes will allow your business to stand out from the crowd in a jam-packed digital world.
Reasons why you may need a web designer:
- You’ll get a customized design – when you hire a freelance website designer you’re engaging the services of someone who will create a website design that is unique to you. They will take the time to review your services or products and create a website that matches your business.
- Visually appealing palates – if you engage the services of a dedicated website designer that has the experience and training, you’ll be able to tap into their ability to create color schemes, text, and navigation that are not only user-friendly but highly appealing.
- Up to the minute technology – if you like the best of the best, and don’t we all, using a website designer will provide you and your business access to the latest technologies and trends including video, RSS feeds, links and functionality that just isn’t available in stock standard DIY websites.
- SEO compliant – unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be well aware of the need for websites to be SEO compliant. If you want to stand out on the search engines, you’ll need to have a website that is SEO optimized otherwise you’re just a boat floating without a rudder in the big bad sea of SEO.
- Access to updates and improvements – a website designer is your go-to when you need updates, improvements or if you’re keen to be a trailblazer when it comes to all things design in the website world. With a flick of their web designing wand, they can update your website and improve the functionality and user experience, which can be difficult to do with DIY sites.
Why Should I Avoid Designing The Website Myself?
There are plenty of ‘do it yourself’ website design options offering simple templates, in which you simply drag and drop in images, text and you can even add a shopping cart functionality. These type of sites can be available via a monthly fee or a one off fee, but it’s important to ask is your business a DIY kind of business and does an off the shelf website suit your needs?
In the cases of DIY websites, the back end is owned by someone else and there are countless examples of website companies going undertaking all their hosted websites down with them, costing clients ultimately more money in the long run in a desperate effort to get their e-commerce sites up and running. While the idea of DIY is appealing, if you’ve ever done a DIY project you’ll know the result never looks like the picture and you should leave the designing to the experts – the same goes for website design.
At the end of the day, engaging the services of an experienced and highly talented website designer will get you the exact website you want, in the timeframe you need it in and offering the functionality and user experience your customers or target market expect.
What Makes a Good Website Design?
You’ve made the decision to go ahead and get your web design done professionally, now it’s time to figure out what will make your website super effective and stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few principles of great website design you might want to run your eyes over:
A good website design has a purpose – whether your user is looking for information, entertainment, interaction or a problem solved, your website needs to have a purpose and fulfill the needs of the user.
Quickly communicate your message – your customers aren’t mind readers, and you should make sure all the content and communication on your website is clear and easy to read. Use sub headings, bullet points and avoid the need to waffle on, if you’ve written ‘War & Peace’ it just won’t get read.
Use attractive typefaces – if you love your fonts you will be well aware that some fonts are easy to read, and others are just plain annoying. Ensure your typeface is large enough, and it is a font type that suits your target market, not some old school font that doesn’t match your design.
Colors and balance – your website needs to be attractive and using vibrant colors, backgrounds, and text all add to the look and feel of the site and enhances the user experience. Aim for a modern look and avoid the clutter.
Choose images wisely – pictures and images speak to your audience so you need to take the time to choose images that are high quality and also speak to your service or product. Avoid boring stock images that are overused and doesn't suit your target market. If you can’t find an image that suits your website either create an infographic or even do a photoshoot to get some images that suit your website perfectly.
Make your site easy to navigate – we’ve all landed on pages and gotten lost and navigated away. Make the sitemap easy to understand and allow your user to find what they are looking for in three clicks or less.
Focus on user experience – keep your design simple and focused on the user’s visual flow. Take the time to research what your potential customer wants to know and help them find the info using a fluid and easy to follow UX.
Make it mobile-friendly – time and time again business owners do the hard yards creating their website but forget to make their website mobile friendly, basically shooting themselves in the foot. Make your site mobile friendly. Enough said.
How to Get The Brief Right For Your Designer
If it’s time to jump in and get your website designed you’re going to need to create a brief that will get across your hopes and dreams from your fancy new website.
Tapping into the world of freelance web designer is a fantastic way to gain access to some serious talent, however you will need to create a job post that is engaging and gets across the important information your website needs to stand out from the crowd.
Set the scene and describe your business
In your brief, take the time to describe in detail your business and the who, what, why, where, when of what you’re doing. Give potential freelancers as much info as possible and take the time to describe what you need the website design to do.
Provide a detailed outline of the web design
The outline will provide your expectations, needs, and the website functionality. If you have any examples this is a good place to share them.
Add in a time frame for the website to be delivered
Web design takes time so you’ll need to be clear about your expectations on when you need to go live with your website. Don’t forget you will also need web development so be realistic with your expectations and be aware that some of the great freelance website designers may need some time to get the perfect look and feel for your site.
Be specific about color palettes and style
If you have a style guide it’s important to include this in the brief for the job including any other information such as stock images, mandatory elements and design functions you hope to have incorporated in the design.
Ready to Find a Stellar Website Designer?
Finding the perfect website designer can be a mammoth task if you don’t know what you’re looking for. With Freelancer.com you have thousands of brilliant website designers right at your fingertips.
Freelancer.com makes hiring the best talent easy! Whether it’s website design, virtual assistants, copywriting or data entry you’ll find the perfect match for your business needs. Post a project today, and receive bids within seconds.