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Branded websites and what to look for when hiring a web designer.

What to look for when hiring a web designer?

Are you confused about what to look for when hiring the right person for your brand and web design project?  These tips will guide you to the best fit, an amazing experience and a beautiful authentic brand that will help you serve more of the clients you are so passionate about helping.

Branding and website design are an important part of your business.  Those pages of text and images that share information about what you offer, how you help, and your why, along with blog posts and marketing material; those pages are instrumental in amplifying your brand and helping you engage potential clients.  Eventually, business owners have a need to elevate their brand and become more intentional about their design so they can grow their business and that’s when they need to hire a web designer.

Although much of the marketing you see online leads you to believe that web design is just a matter of dragging and dropping images and text; branding and web design is a specialized skill.  Yes, nearly anyone can select a few images and type in some content, however, effective web design requires a combination of skill and creativity that many business owners just don’t have.  While I recommend you learn how to update your own website and publish your own blog posts as part of your entrepreneurial journey, investing in a skilled brand web designer is one of the best ways to elevate your brand and engage your visitors.

Hiring a brand web designer can be a challenge.  After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.  So where do you start?

Your website is the marketing hub of your business.  You own the content.  It's the one online platform where you can strategically present information to inspire your audience to take action.  Your website gives you an opportunity to engage your audience with what you offer, how it enhances your customer’s life and what they need to do to work with you.  All the relevant information is in one spot in an organized fashion where you can take them on a guided journey of possibilities to the point of buying.

Think of branding and web design as an investment in you and your business.

You will want to invest wisely and intentionally.  You will want value for your money.  Budget alone will not give you a clear picture of the value a particular web designer can provide.  I’ve seen this time and time again when conversing with clients about previous projects – you usually get exactly what you pay for in terms of quality and results.

So, what should you consider when hiring a brand web designer? Here’s how to find the best fit for your web design project.

Is the web designer asking about your business, goals and needs?

Your website is so much more that pretty pictures and clever headlines.  When looking for a brand web designer, find someone who wants to learn about your business, your goals, your needs and your aspirations so they can design a website that will help you get the results you are looking for and evolve and grow with your business.

Your goals need to be defined at the business level to ensure that an effective solution is provided.

For example, if you tell your web designer that your goal is to have a testimonial page, they should be asking you why.  A testimonial page is a solution.  The higher goal may be to build trust and credibility in your business so more prospects are confident in their buying decision.  A better solution would be to sprinkle testimonials throughout your website content so that visitors are continually reminded of the of the results you deliver and can picture themselves working with you.

Your website is a solution to help you attain your business goals so you will need to ensure that your brand web designer focuses on those higher level goals.

What is the web designer’s branding and design process?

In addition to being creative, you need someone who has a solid branding process that takes into account how you want to be perceived, who you want to attract and what their pain points are so you connect with the clients you dream of working with.  This, combined with your business goals and aspirations, will help your web designer determine the flow of your website, design elements to elevate your brand, and overall look and feel to position you as an authority in your field.

This is called the discovery process.  It is an exploratory process to refine your vision and amplify your brand so that your website is a true reflection of you and your business and at the same time creates engagement with your audience.  Together, you will determine how you are perceived by your clients and leverage this to position you to attract more of your ideal clients.  Your designer needs to show a research phase that determines the best possible solution for you, your website and your business to help you reach your goals.

Are they a strategic web designer?

Although imagery and design elements are an important aspect of amplifying your brand, this needs to be done intentionally.  Strategic design involves asking if each section and element on your website will help bring you closer to your business goals.

For example, you may love flowers - the aroma, colours and textures.  Your web designer could include the most stunning images of beautiful flowers throughout your website.  And your website will be beautiful.  But will this help you get the results you are looking for?  Does it amplify how you want to be perceived?  Will it resonate with your ideal client?  Will it help prospects picture themselves working with you?  Will it help buyers envision how much better their life will be after working with you?  Will it help your visitors believe that you can deliver the results you promise?

Your brand needs to position you as the solution to your prospect's problems.

In addition to your business goals, these are the questions your web designer should be asking so that your brand positions you as the solution to your prospect’s problems.

Strategic design will maximize engagement on your website, creating an inviting and easy to use experience so that customers are excited to buy from you.

Does the web designer work collaboratively?

When I first started designing websites, it was a bit of a guessing game figuring out what my clients wanted and needed.  Sure, I did a discovery session with them and then promptly went off and created 3 websites for them hoping that they would love one of them.  Frankly this was a lot of work and nerve racking.  Luckily, I have a strong intuitive sense and 90% of the time my clients chose the first design I showed them.

Fortunately, now I have strong processes in place which includes collaboration with my clients when required.  No more surprises and guessing.  I know exactly what they are looking for and how to translate their vision into a website they are confident to show to their clients and that is designed for conversion.  And this is why I love custom design – because it allows my client and I to work together, step by step, through their goals, their inspiration, and their vision, to create wireframes, moodboards and style guides that guide the identity of their brand, design and website strategies.

Every design decision is intentionally guided by your input and their design expertise.

When you work with a web designer in a collaborative way, every design decision is intentionally guided by your input and their design expertise and culminates in a solution that is simple, beautiful and authentic.

What is your expected commitment and timeframe during the web design project?

The drag-and-drop marketing industry has led many entrepreneurs to believe it’s possible to create a website in a day.  Although it is possible, is it going to be a cohesive brand and effective website that helps you attract more leads and generate more sales?  Has the ground work been done to determine your goals, define your brand and design an effective website?  Most likely not.

Ask the designer what timeframe will be required for the website and what that entails.  Most importantly, ensure they communicate what your expected deliverables are and how much time you need to allot to do the work and provide feedback.  Will you be providing the content or will you hire a copywriter?  Will you be curating all the images or arranging for a photoshoot?  You will need to book time in your schedule to answer questionnaires, review page layouts, content, and proposed strategies.

Be clear on your commitments.  You will want you and your designer to be positioned for success so you can proudly plan out your new website launch so that the world can benefit from your special gifts.

Will the web designer provide training?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to call your web designer every time you want to change something on your website.  Sure, you want to stay focused on what you do best and serve your clients and transform lives.  But sometimes you may just need to change a date, or a sentence, or write your own blog posts that are authentic to you.

Custom training will empower you to make that choice.  Make the call or make the change yourself.  It can really be that simple when you have a little bit of training in your arsenal.

Beautiful design is just one part of my work.  I build tools into your site so you can edit your own content, build marketing funnels, and make changes without waiting for my help.  Your site will grow with your business – simply and beautifully.

Does the web designer’s style resonate with you?

Branding and web design are a very creative process.  It requires you to have an open mind and dig deep into what you are looking for, how you want to be perceived and the kind of experience you want to offer your clients.  Which is why it’s so important to work with somebody who inspires you and lights you up.  Nothing kills creativity more quickly than worrying about decisions and conversations rather than looking forward to possibilities.

A talented web designer will be able to create a brand that resonates with you and your clients.  You can determine if they have a versatile range of creativity by checking out their portfolio and case studies.  Do they explain their strategic design process?  Do they show a variety of brands and styles that may fit your brand?  Are any of their designs esthetically appealing to you?  Do they create an emotional connection?  Ask the designer for references to websites they have designed.

A good designer is one who can create a strategic, engaging and beautiful website for a variety of clients.

Between their portfolio and your initial consult call with a web designer, you should be able to tell if they resonate with you.  If not, you will get much better results by continuing your search for a web designer that is a better fit for you and your business.  Your business will thank you for it, you will get better results and you will enjoy the experience so much more.

Hire with intention.  Know the results you are looking for.  Find a web designer who lights you up.

My intention is to always offer the best possible service and solution to my clients and as such, I always schedule an initial consult call to get to know more about their goals and needs and what they are looking for.

When I work with business owners, I start by understanding their goals and needs so I can create a design that solves the problems they are looking to address and gives them the results they desire.   I approach every design like a puzzle and I work collaboratively with clients to ensure that I deliver a solution that is both esthetically pleasing and functional.  We start with discovery, research and a strategy session to determine needs, preferences and sitemap. We create Pinterest boards so that I get a sense of design elements, fonts, styles, and messaging that they love.  I have strong processes in place that allow us to get crystal clear on their brand.  I create wireframes so we can determine the best flow for their website and create a journey that will engage visitors to a point of action.  Style tiles are created to explore design esthetic and solidify their brand.

I approach every design project like a puzzle.

All this information combined is used to design a website that is authentic, strategic and beautiful.  It’s that simple and that’s what I want for you.

So, keep searching until you find a brand web designer that asks the questions, provides the strategies and lights you up.  When you do, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn about yourself and your business and how inspired you will be about the future of your business.  You’ve got this 😊.