Ok, so you’re looking for a web design consultant. The question is, how do you find the right one?
While we can’t determine what service will work best for you, we can tell you (from industry experience) what to avoid when making your choice.
Check out our Table of Contents below to get started!
Table of Contents
Mistake #1 - Paying Too Little
There are reasons why companies pay too little for their websites. In most cases, the main reason is a constrained budget.
Important Note Moving Forward
In this article, we’ll be using the terms “web designer” and “web design consultant” interchangeably since many web designers also work as consultants.
A Look At Mistake #1 and Budgeting Constraints
So, as we just wrote above, companies often pay too little for their websites due to budgeting constraints, which is a problem.
Budgeting is something you want to get right from the start.
It can be hard to budget correctly, especially if your resources are tightly limited.
Budgets That Are Too Small Leave With You Low-Quality Web Design
Ultimately, very tight budgets leave you with bargain web design consultants who may not have the skills to help you.
While we certainly don’t advocate that you overpay for a website, we also want to make a point that not having a sufficient budget for your website can drastically and negatively impact how it turns out.
Extremely Low-Cost Services Can Sometimes Be Risky
There is risk involved when hiring ultra low-priced services.
Please note that we are not talking about finding genuinely good deals. We love good deals just as much as everyone else, and we want every customer and client to go after them.
What we are talking about in this instance are bottom of the barrel services that can set your business (and your budget) back in the long-run.
Ultra Cheap Web Design May Result In Cut Corners
Heavily discounted services from a web design consultant can result in cut corners. For example, leaving your website’s infrastructure incomplete.
We recommend considering the opportunity cost and the risk involved when looking for high-discount services.
What is Opportunity Cost? How Does It Relate to Web Design?
According to Collins Dictionary, “An opportunity cost is the cost of not being able to do other things with time and resources because of doing the chosen activity.”
Opportunity cost = risk.
Why Does Opportunity Cost Create Risk During A Web Design Project?
You’re at risk for two main reasons:
1. It’s always possible that your web design consultant will make mistakes, especially if they are a low-cost designer.
Ultimately, if mistakes are made on your websites, you’ll have to redo it, which will cost you more money.
2. Although less common, there is a chance that your web design consultant will use unscrupulous methods, which include charging you unexpected fees for extra activities.
Two common tactics for tacking on additional fees are using scope creep as a way to change contract details and charging an excessive amount for ongoing support.
Specific Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Website
Now that we’ve gone over the two main reasons why hiring low-cost designers can go wrong for your website, let’s look at some specific design problems that can come up.
Extremely high discount designers may:
- Utilize a pre-made theme or the same generic theme for all projects.
- Skip on-page and technical SEO
- Neglect important security features
- Leave errors in the code
- Not optimize your website for mobile.
What these total to may be much more than the initial design fee of an experienced designer.
Avoiding Potential Scams
Although there are two main reasons why hiring a bargain web designer or web design consultant can go wrong, another reason is that you run the risk of hiring a scammer.
To be fair:
This is not super likely to happen if you’re careful about who you hire, but it still can happen.
Web Design Consultants Are Like The Wild West
The reason why scams occur within the web design and web development field is that there are very limited barriers to entry. Essentially, anyone can get in.
WordPress and other platforms are open-source, meaning that any designer from anywhere in the world can slap together a website, advertise that they’re a web designer, or claim to be a WordPress expert.
A Cheap Web Design Consultant Can Compromise Your Website
It may be interesting to find a low budget individual to work on your website, but what happens when they compromise your website’s security?
Or what happens when you don’t have the knowledge to know whether this individual is potentially causing harm to your business or your reputation by posting nonsense on (or ruining) your website?
Therefore, cost should NOT be the sole determining factor for deciding who to hire.
Competence is a central consideration to take into account.
Your Website Represents Your Business
Before paying too little, remember that your website is a representation of your company that potentially thousands of people will see.
Professional Services Can Save You Time And Money In The Long Run
Hiring a web design consultant who is talented, honest, and willing to negotiate with you on a workable price is definitely the way to go.
If you would like more information about our pricing, call us at 702-268-9000. We offer an entirely free, no-pressure consultation.
Mistake #2 - Paying Too Much
The second mistake when hiring a web designer is paying too much. More money doesn't always equal better quality.
Paying too much is just as big of a mistake as paying too little when hiring a web designer.
This may seem odd and counterintuitive, but it’s true.
The reason some companies pay their web design consultant more than they have to boils down to two popular beliefs:
1. More money = better quality
2. The only way to get a “real website” is to hire a giant company.
Small Web Design Companies Are Sometimes Better Than Large Ones
There are plenty of experts who work for small web design companies who are amazing at working with code—sometimes just as good as the hires at big box designers.
So it’s not always a matter of finding a super expensive, giant company with a team of ultra-expensive suits to build your website.
It’s more about finding a reputable and skilled team that can offer you reasonable prices while following best industry practices.
To Avoid Paying Too Much, Find Out What Your Web Design Consultant Is Billing You For
The best way to keep your cost down before hiring a web design consultant is knowing exactly what you’re paying for.
If you are already working with a web design consultant, and you haven’t itemized everything they are charging you for, we’d recommend starting now.
Did You Know?
Sometimes giant companies tack on fees to cover their overhead.
What about their huge office, bloated staff, and extra lounge room with ping pong tables in it?
Who’s paying for that stuff?
When Working With A Larger Web Design Company, Ask Why They Are So Expensive
When you work with a very large company or even a medium-sized company that prices way higher than the average running rate, you have to ask why.
We mean it when we say you are at risk of paying for someone else’s fancy rental space.
These huge companies have enormous bills, and they pass those onto you.
Are You Consulting With Junior Employees?
Another issue with super large web design companies is that they may not prioritize your website.
You could end up working with junior employees who are learning on your dime.
This is just a heads up.
Warning From Industry Insiders
Just to emphasize an important point:
Super fancy offices and technical jargon don’t make websites.
You may end up with a great website, but when you pay too much, you’ll have less money to invest in promoting your brand online, such as with Google Ads.
You also risk being disappointed if you do not get an extraordinary product.
How To Move Forward
What all of this essentially comes down to is how your website turns out and whether it’s worth the cost.
Can you hire a large company and pay a huge sum of money for a website?
Can you probably hire a smaller company that will do the same work and charge you less?
Startups vs. Established Businesses
The stage your business is at will likely dictate how much you spend.
Note to startups:
Some companies will try to sell you by offering to make you a unicorn website unlike anything else out there. While this may be true, you can get an equally unique website from a smaller designer at a much better price point.
Don’t be afraid to shop around!
Mistake #3 - Hiring A Web Designer For Web Development
The third mistake is hiring a web designer to build your website. Let’s explore this further.
You’re probably wondering why hiring a web design consultant to build the core components of your website is a mistake.
A Designer Needs To Focus On Design
A web designer is not a web developer.
These are two very different skill sets.
What Is The Strength of A Web Developer?
A web developer has a true understanding of computer code. They may not even be a designer.
To be fair, though, most web developers can take an approved design and build it perfectly inside of a content management system.
The Central Role of A Web Designer
By contrast, a web designer’s job is to be a graphic artist.
They work on the aesthetics of the website, design in tools like Adobe XD and Figma, and focus mostly on the front-end user experience and not on the development side.
Some web designers do both web design and development, which in web development terms means they are “full-stack.”
These designers are hard to come by.
The thing is, though, a lot of people who hire web design consultants and website designers think that every designer is full-stack, which is why they hire web designers to build the technical side of their websites when they should be hiring a web developer.
A Web Designer Is Not A Marketer
Another thing we’d like to point out is that web designers, although they are good at what they do, don’t always understand the core purpose of your website, your target audience, and what features your website needs.
Since a web designer is not a marketer, it’s important to educate them about your products and services so that they can design your website better.
Consulting With Your Web Designer
At the end of the day, you want to hire someone who understands your objectives.
Working with a web design consultant who understands how to supplement your marketing strategy with a design that is appropriate for your audience is very important.
So, we recommend that you have an in-depth consultation with your designer about your brand before signing a contract.
Questions to ask are:
1. Do you understand the audience I’m trying to reach?
2. Are you only a web designer or are you full-stack?
3. Do you have exit costs for website end-of-life (EOL)?
4. Do you do on-page and technical SEO?
5. Do you outsource to third parties?
6. What are your timelines?
6. What is your plan for meeting progress benchmarks?
Wrapping Up Web Design vs. Web Development
In conclusion, having a web designer (not a web developer) build your website is a mistake. So is having a web designer take over your digital marketing campaign.
Focus on the end goal when hiring a web designer, not just on the design. This will give you a wider perspective and inform you about who you need to hire for what role.
We also suggest asking an experienced web developer about making your website mobile responsive and following their lead.
The right conversations will help you hire the right people!
Mistake #4 - Not Using A Content Management System
When hiring a web designer, the fourth mistake is not getting a content management system, which allows you to make updates and edits as needed.
Using A Content Management System For Ongoing Web Development
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to make simple updates to your website, such as changing the text on a page, since:
Having the ability to make edits with just a few clicks of a button saves you time and is cost effective.
Unfortunately, a lot of website owners end up in situations where they are unable to edit their websites.
During the website build process, a lot of people only think about the front end, i.e., the aesthetics.
They don’t take the backend or the content management system into consideration, which means they miss out on a massive opportunity to make easy edits by themselves.
Trust us when we say, you definitely want to have a content management system (CMS) in place for your website.
It will save you so much hassle.
Without a content management system, you will need advanced coding knowledge to make edits to your site.
Content Management Systems Are Easy And Convenient
Content management systems are also easy to use, which is a huge plus.
One of the most well-known content management systems is WordPress, a fairly simple and straightforward platform by all accounts.
Most people can learn to navigate through WordPress with free online tutorials.
Wix and Squarespace are two other content management systems.
There are additional CMSs as well, but some of them have considerable drawbacks.
Ask About The Content Management System Before Hiring A Web Design Consultant
Not only should you ask about the content management system you are receiving, but you should also ask about the backend.
A website that requires custom coding for basic elements, as opposed to a simple backend that you can edit almost anything on are massively different, so this distinction should be made.
Here’s a good chart that shows you how popular the top content management systems are (See below).
While there are many options, especially in the “Others” category, we feel that WordPress or Shopify are the right choices in most situations.
WordPress As A CMS
WordPress is a phenomenal content management system that is easy to use and is widely popular, meaning you can find help with virtually any WordPress topic through a simple online search.
Shopify As A CMS
Shopify, meanwhile, is a robust eCommerce platform that offers a range of distinct advantages. To learn more about Shopify, check out our article Is Shopify A Good Place To Build A Website?
Mistake #5 - Not Doing Your Due Diligence
A simple but effective strategy is checking your web designer's online reviews.
Checking your web designer’s reviews is a critical step to hiring the right one.
Yelp and Google are two great sources and should tell you what you need to know, although there are plenty of other sources online to choose from.
Whatever review sites you use, make sure to follow the cardinal rule—Do your due diligence.
You probably never go to a new restaurant without looking for reviews, right?
The same thing applies to your web designer.
In addition to looking at reviews, you’ll also want to ask yourself these questions:
- What are people saying about the company?
- Do they deliver what they advertise?
- What does their portfolio looks like?
- How does their own website look?
Does Your Web Design Consultant Have A Professional Platform?
One of the biggest indicators (or lack thereof) of a web design consultant’s skill is the quality of their website.
You don’t want to hire a web design consultant or web designer whose own website is a mess.
Your Web Design Consultant Should Be Able To Answer Your Questions
During your consultation, we suggest going into detail with your web designer. Have a list of questions ready, ask for references, and request that they show you examples of their work.
If you like what you see, chances are they will be able to create a similar quality product for your website.
Giving A Web Designer With Less Experience In Your Field A Chance
Your web designer doesn’t necessarily need immense experience in your field if they are a highly competent designer.
What you should mainly focus on is whether they have a keen eye for design and have a body of work that shows their merit.
A great designer will be able to take your requests and develop a mockup that is fantastic, even if they have never done a website in your niche before.
Clarify Your Contract
It’s smart to ensure you have a crystal-clear agreement with your web designer about what they are doing, how much they are charging you, and how long they’ll take before signing a contract.
Double Checking Your Web Designer’s Ability To Design For Mobile
Make extra sure to check your web designer’s work on your smartphone, tablet, and any other handheld devices you might have.
A lot of traffic comes from these sources, so it’s very important to verify that your web designer can handle mobile design work.
The Same Thing Applies to Web Marketing Consultants
For those looking for digital marketing services, the same rules apply.
Be thorough. Check everything. And make sure the person you hire can produce results.
Looking For SEO?
Are you wondering what to do with your website if no one visits it? If so, we would suggest trying out an SEO campaign.
If you are not interested in enhancing your search engine optimization with a professional campaign but would still like to optimize your website for search engines, you might consider getting SEO-friendly web design.
The Power of SEO-Friendly Web Design
Search engine optimization is a rapidly changing field, with Google constantly changing its algorithm and millions of active websites competing for attention.
Given the state of the internet today, if you want traffic to your website (which is absolutely necessary), then you need some form of SEO optimization for your website.
Skilled web design consultants can help you with this.
Sage Digital Agency SEO
We provide SEO on a month-to-month basis.
Call us today if you are interested in trying out a temporary campaign to see if we’re the right fit.
Read More: Does Your Website Need A Redesign?
Mistake #6 - Choosing A Web Design Consultant Who Doesn't Lead By Example
We recommend choosing a web design consultant who walks the talk.
You want to make sure that whoever you hire is an actual expert in their field.
Just like you’d want your personal trainer to look great, your dietician to understand food and nutrition, and your chef to really know how to cook, you’ll want (and certainly need) a web design consultant who knows their stuff.
The Best Web Design Consultants Provide Excellent Customer Service
In addition to technical skill, you’ll want to look for a web design consultant that provides excellent customer service.
Working with a web designer that values your time and replies quickly with detailed answers will make your project go a lot smoother.
Free keyword consultation: Want to know what keywords to add to your website? Call us today.
Contact Us. We Are Expert Web Designers and Web Design Consultants
If you are seeking actionable steps from a web designer who will put you first, then we’re the ones you’re looking for.
Whether you own a small business or run a large organization looking to increase its digital presence, we have the skills to make you an amazing website.
The Kinds of People We Work With
- Small, medium-sized, and large businesses
- Individuals and business owners who need new websites
- Individuals and business owners who want a website redesign
- System admins or employees of an organization looking to improve a website
In this article, we’ve endeavored to get straight to the point and give you the inside perspective necessary to make informed decisions.
Many of our competitors probably don’t want you to see this information.
A Web Designer Should Be Transparent
We believe in transparency and fully explain our prices and design process to you before we get started on your project.
To learn more strategies for how to find the right web design consultant, check out our article 20 Questions To Ask A Web Design Company Before Hiring Them.