Web design has never been easier than it is today, however, it has also never been more complex. With the introduction of web-based website builders, like Squarespace and Wix, the average person can design simple landing pages. This presents problems to the industry as more and more amateurs are marketing themselves as a “web designer” online, without proper training or experience in HTML and CSS. That being said, here are the top 8 reasons that you should fire your web designer:
1. “I can read HTML, but I don’t need to write it.”
HTML and CSS have never been more advanced and, in order to make a quality website, a proper web designer must be proficient in the newest formats of these coding languages. HTML5 introduced an entirely new rendition of the platform, allowing not only text, but audio, video, 2D and 3D graphics to be rendered within the web page.
Manipulating these specifications requires a proper web designer to code and, if done correctly, these factors can play into the makings of a fantastic website. This knowledge is key to developing a practical and comprehensive page for your business. Don’t let some guy who googled ‘How to build a website’ only a week ago handle your most important online asset.
2. “I used to work IT, let me be your web designer!”
You used to work in IT… seriously? IT, or Information Technology, personnel are the unsung heroes of the internet underground. They ensure the data and information we send through the millions of miles of cables surrounding our planet is stored and moved properly. Thanks for running our cables guys, but IT personnel are by no means web designers.
The key reason why is because there is a lot more to making a website than knowing the coding language behind the page… DESIGN is the true principal behind the aesthetics of your page. Understanding prime concepts like the upper fold, conversion and clickthrough rates, allows the web designer to design a page that will convert more leads than any standardized web template.
3. “I’m my own web designer.”
Kudos to you for spending 3-5 hours on YouTube watching WordPress tutorials, but I’m sorry to tell you that you are not a web designer. It takes hundreds of hours of time coding and optimizing sites for search engines to acquire the amount of knowledge necessary to create a quality website capable of impressing customers and generating conversions. Even more once you get into more complicated WordPress challenges like a WordPress multisite!
We love your enthusiasm for learning our trade, but please just leave it to us!
4. “I just give him/her a call when I need something.”
Experienced web designers around the world are sighing in disappointment at that last sentence. We have all been burned in our early years for trying to be available by phone or standard communication channels. There is simply no record of any of the conversations and you cannot prove a point later on with hard evidence.
Experienced web designers will typically use a Content Management System (CMS) to coordinate ideas, message each other and send documents. These CMS’s prevents any of the usual “but you said you would…” If you said it, it will be clearly pointed out on the messaging board. If you didn’t, then you have proof. This has gotten many of us out of some tricky situations. Speaking of knowing how to prevent tricky situations…
5. We have a verbal contract… the old gentleman’s agreement.”
Along with AOL, the day of the gentlemen has passed and people just cannot be trusted anymore. I can’t believe how many times people hire a designer based on some crapshoot rate he made up on the spot without signing a contract. You MUST agree on the scope of work and agree on the terms of the contract. The client must be satisfied with what has been promised and the designer has to be comfortable providing the work he/she promised.
Contracts protect the web designers from any clients trying to push them around, but it can also protect the client from getting hoodwinked out of something that was previously agreed upon. If you designer hasn’t sent you a contract before providing any work, you may want to consider finding someone who has your best interests in mind.
That being said, always, always, always, have a contract written up. It is there to ensure that what was agreed upon will be done. Read the contract carefully and make sure you are comfortable signing it. Don’t just click the checkbox and click ‘I Agree’ like you do every time you download iTunes. You may be signing your unborn child away, you never know. Read carefully!
6. “I got an A+ in English Lit, writing blog posts should be easy!”
Blogs are fun digital journals, published to the web for the public to, hopefully, read. Many writers get a kick out of writing some tips and tricks related to their industry, however blogs have a much more important role to play in the grand scheme of your website. The content published to your blog is ‘crawled’ through by digital code readers, known as ‘robots’ or ‘bots’. These ‘bots’ are used by Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engine sites to read through your website and determine what the pages are and how relevant they may be for their searchers.
When writing blog posts, one must be very conscious of what keywords you are using, since these keywords are what the engines are looking for. Writing with this kind of specific purpose, alongside several other key strategies like internal linking and formatting, is known as On-Page SEO. A fair amount of SEO knowledge is necessary to begin writing in this manner and a proper web designer will have that training.
7. “Wireframe? You mean like wire framed glasses?”
Depending on your budget, a web designer should be providing you with a wireframe, which is a very roughly blocked out sketch of the general structure of your website. In the early stages of framing out a website, it is important to get the structure approved and set in stone. Once the web designer gets to work on the website, any changes made the the general structure can be very time consuming and the cost of will be transferred to you.
That being said, if your website is moderately complex, meaning a project with a substantial budget, and your web designer isn’t providing you with a wireframe, you may want to consider firing that guy (or gal)!
8. “SEO is no longer as important as it used to be, Social Media is where it’s at!”
Social media is fantastic, it wastes hundreds of hours of our lives and can potentially help us sell our services or products. Social media has the potential to generate leads to your site, in fact, designers will use it to drive traffic to specific pages or blog posts to drive SEO results. But social media will NEVER be more important than SEO. I cannot stress this enough!
Search Engine Optimization is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy. The bulk of your traffic and the sales caused by conversion will be sourced from search engines directing consumers to your website. Period. Think about it for a second, when you need to know something what do you do? You ‘Google it’ or ask Siri, which will indirectly pull information from Google. It is such a common idea, that ‘Googling’ has become a verb.
By all means, use social media and integrate it into your general branding scheme, but never underestimate the true power of SEO and it’s importance in the big picture of your marketing campaign.