man working in a creative studio
According to industry statistics from IBIS World, there are 1981 web design services in the UK as of 2023, reflecting an annualised growth of 3.3% since 2018. Clearly, the demand for these services is robust and continuously expanding, as businesses recognise the significance of establishing a strong online presence. So how to you choose the right designner for you? 

Why you need the help of a web designer 

A great question to start off with. 
Indeed you may be reading this as you are wondering if you should utilise a DIY package or hire a professional. 
Yet, a word of warning, the DIY process is not necessarily easy. The Ads on TV may try and convince you otherwise, yet there are many considerations to take on board when building a website that will work. 
The website should possess visual appeal in order to captivate visitors. This includes an attractive layout, well-chosen colours, suitable contrast, and an organised structure that is free from clutter. 
Additionally, it should be designed to be mobile-friendly and automatically responsive to any size of screen. 
The navigation system should be intuitive and easily understood, ensuring a seamless flow for users. 
Safety and security are paramount, particularly for e-commerce websites. 
High-quality content that is both fresh and engaging should be incorporated. 
Search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a vital role in enhancing visibility and the website needs to have the functionailty to enjoy maximum benefit 
Easy-to-use features, readily accessible information, and prominent call-to-action buttons are a 'must'. 
Lastly, the website should prioritise accessibility to ensure inclusivity for all users. 
The aforementioned is a sample of consdierations and there are many more to mention, yet it should at least give you food for thought and get you thinking of a list of requirements and if afterall you want to employ outstide help form the basis of the design brief. 

So, how to find the best web designer 

Before embarking on your search for a website designer, it is essential to clarify your website's objectives. To help you determine these goals, consider asking yourself the following questions: 
Describe your target audience? 
What is the primary focus of your website? - showcasing products/services, emphasising customer service, or highlighting reliability and speed of services provided? This will help you define your business's key message(s). 
What specific functionality do you require; you may have seen ideas on other sites as part of your research. 
Number of pages you think you need ( and should be part of the discussions with the Web designer)? 
Are you planning to include a blog or additional resources for visitors to the site and clients? 
Do you have a budget in mind for the work and on what basis was this calculated? 
Do you intend to include videos or any other specially created content? 
Do you already have the content, or would you need the assistance of a copywriter? 
Have you good photos/graphics/illustrations, or would you require assistance in creating them? 
By answering these questions, you can establish clear objectives and requirements for your website, enabling you to effectively communicate your needs to the website designer as part of the selection process. 

Choosing Between Freelancers and Agencies 

The population of freelance website designers is rapidly increasing, each offering unique capabilities and areas of expertise. 
While hiring a freelancer often proves to be a more cost-effective option, there are drawbacks to consider as well. An adept and experienced freelancer will demonstrate flexibility and effective communication. However, an unreliable freelancer may prove challenging to reach, fail to meet deadlines, and show inflexibility. 
On the other hand, with Agencies, there are two types to consider. 
The first is a website design agency that specialises in crafting customised websites, typically operated by a small team consisting of two to three individuals. Alternatively, a full-service agency provides website design services along with a range of other marketing offerings, such as SEO, copywriting, PPC advertising, and social media management. 
Agencies generally charge higher rates compared to freelancers, and it is possible that you may interact with different individuals within the agency at different times. 
Your budget will play its part. Agencies tend to be more expensive, yet bear in mind the web designer team will have a wealth of collective experience with a proven track record. This old adage applies: "The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts" - Aristotle 
Freelancers can be cheaper, with less overhead, yet their frame of reference and experience will be limited and therefore comes with some risk and a non-optimal solution. 

Timely communication 

Effective communication is of utmost importance during the process of website design and development. It is crucial to stay informed about progress and ensure that your feedback is considered by the designer. 
In most cases, when working with an agency, you will have a dedicated project manager or coordinator assigned to your website build. They should be readily available to address your inquiries, provide regular updates, and ensure timely delivery of your website. 
However, when working with a freelancer, communication might be more sporadic. It is not that they won't have the answers—they will—but if they are particularly busy, it may take them longer to provide you with updates. 

Are they any good? 

When considering a website designer, it's important to evaluate their skill set. 
In the case of an agency, you will often find a broader range of skills available, as they have access to a diverse pool of talent. They may offer additional services such as copywriting, SEO, PPC advertising, and even social media management. 
On the other hand, freelancers tend to specialise in specific areas, typically focusing on building websites. Once the website project is completed, they often move on to the next assignment. Consequently, long-term after-sales care, such as website maintenance, may be compromised when working with a freelancer. 

Does being local matter? 

Opt for a local website designer - the location of your website designer does matter more than you might think. Especially if your aim is to target your local area, which is common for many small and medium-sized businesses. A local designer will possess knowledge and understanding of your local target audience. 
This enables them to develop a website that is tailored to the preferences and needs of local customers. 
Additionally, the convenience of in-person meetings becomes an advantage when it comes to fine-tuning details and testing functionality, making the collaboration smoother. 

Where and how to start 

When embarking on the search for a website designer, the process can seem overwhelming.  
To navigate this effectively, begin with a Google search while being specific about certain parameters. Utilise location-based search queries like "near me" to narrow down your options. It's advisable to initially select three to five website designers, including a mix of freelancers and agencies. Proceed to review their websites and portfolios, assessing whether their skill set aligns with your specific requirements. 
Recommendations serve as an excellent guide as to their suitability. Seek input from colleagues, and fellow business professionals within your network, or explore online reviews eg Trust Pilot and Google. 
A competent website designer should possess knowledge of SEO to optimise your website fully. Furthermore, they should be able to articulate a well-defined process for building a website. It can also be advantageous if they have experience in creating websites within your industry. 
At It’seeze, Watford web design, we deliver affordable, beautiful, professionally designed, bespoke websites to showcase your business as you want to. 
As a local web designer, focussing on the surrounding areas of Watford. Hemel Hempstead and St Albans, we deliver a personalised service with ongoing expert support for the lifetime of the website contract. 
Contact us for more details. 
Tagged as: web designers
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