• December 8, 2017

What to look for in a Web Designer

What to look for in a Web Designer

1024 683 Amanda Menasco

If you need to build a website, or re-do your website, it can be mind-boggling just trying to figure out where to start.  There are so many options available for building a website – from build-your-own services like Wix and Weebly to fully customized sites that are built from scratch.  If you are a small or medium sized business, this article will help you get started.  If you know what questions to ask a potential web developer, you can narrow down your search and find something that fits your needs and your budget.

We have also found (unfortunately) that not all web developers are equal, and you might think the price sounds great until you find out that your site doesn’t function properly unless you pay extra for each feature.

Here is a list of things to consider, (that we do with every site we build, by the way):

  • Website Audit.

We perform a detailed audit of your current website, and your competitors sites, giving us valuable information on keywords, links, and content.  Creating a new website or revamping an existing website without paying attention to current links and content can be the death of a good search engine ranking, and you may loose the traffic you used to have associated with your specific domain and URL.  An audit of your competitors’ websites is the only real way to tell what is working within a certain industry, and how to compete with them in your Search Engine Rank Position (SERP), traffic, and market visibility.

  • Responsive.

All of our sites are designed to be responsive, which is more than mobile-friendly.  Responsive means the site responds to the size of the screen, whether it is a desktop monitor, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.  Over 50% of searches on Google are from a mobile device, and Google now treats the mobile version of pages as the primary page to index.  This means it is vital that your site functions properly on a mobile device.

  • Optimize and tag photos.

Every website we build, we optimize photos for fast load times, and tag them at multiple levels (Title, Alt Title, Description, and File Name) for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Slow load times can lower your SERP (Search Engine Rank Position).  Correct tagging on your photos can really help with SEO since the search engine bots cannot yet determine the content of a picture.

  • Check links.

We check all links within the site to make sure there are no deadlinks.  Site structure and indexing need to be clean and logical, or the search engines may ding your site for being difficult to navigate.

  • Optimize metadata.

A regular viewer will not see the metadata on your site, but making sure the title tags, meta descriptions, and H1 tags are formatted properly will make a significant difference in your SERP.

  • Secure Site.

We build all sites secure (Secure Site Hosting or HTTPS).  Obtaining an SSL security certificate and moving from HTTP to HTTPS helps the search engines recognize the site as  being securely encrypted and offering data integrity and site authenticity.

  • Content ownership.

At the end of the day, you will own all content and domains.  Some companies consider any content to be their property upon termination of a contract.  Many of our competitors will make you sign a contract that will give them ownership of your domain, website content and in some cases even your logo – holding you ransom for big bucks if you want to part ways with them.  We consider our contract to be a “work for hire” meaning you retain the copyright to all content and your site.

  • Site registration.

We register all sites with the major search engines. Once a site is live, we register with Google, Bing, and/or Yahoo.

  • Google Search Meta Format.

This is what you see in the URL and what you see in the search results.  We write this for each page.  We do research to make sure this information is compatible, and to find out what the industry standards are before writing this copy.

  • Training.

We want you to be able to make changes to your own site once we have finished building it for you.  We provide you with a WordPress login and password so you can access the site.  We also provide training so you will know how to make these changes.

  • Video headers and backgrounds.

This is a wonderful tool for showing processes and demonstrations, or just for fun!

The list above are important topics to ask about when making a decision about your website.  If you need additional services, you should ask your potential developer if they can handle it in-house, or if you will need to find a third party.  At Sync, we offer these following add-ons (in-house):
  • Design services, such as logosWe can create simple logos and design elements and often include them with the cost of a website package, or if you need something super stylized and complex, we have a team of freelance designers that we use who are also very reasonable. 
  • Professional photographyOur photography and videography are two of our specialties, and we charge considerably less than most local photographers and videographers.  
  • Professional copyOur copy is often included in the cost of our website package and is always a great starting point for you to build upon.  Not sure what to write in your blog?  We can produce that content for you.
  • Inexpensive maintenance packages.  Our maintenance and technical support packages range from hourly as needed, to quarterly plans that include weekly content creation and posts. We can build a custom plan that works for you.
  • Social media services. Our social media services fit hand in hand with our websitesThere is often a disconnect between social media management companies and the web development companies. We specialize in making sure that your social media accounts are working with your website to drive high quality customers to your business.  We help you synchronize your web presence.
  • Eye catching custom animations. Spinning elements, flashing buttons, animated characters and much more!
  • E-commerce stores. We build full turn key e-commerce solutions from the ground up, so you can sell digital goods, services and/or physical products from your website. We also have experience with selling products through Amazon.
The key to a good working relationship with your web builder is communication.

Use this list as a starting point for your conversation, and ask lots of questions.  If your developer can’t (or won’t) answer your questions, it should be a red flag for you.

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