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April 23, 2024
Hiring a designer | Website Design | WordPress

WordPress Web Designer: 8 things the designer you hire should have…

WordPress Web Designer

Find out the most important things your WordPress Web Designer should have to design & deliver your dream website…

So you’re at a point in your business where you are ready to hire a WordPress Web Designer – Congratulations!

Getting to the point in your business where you can invest in professional WordPress web design is a big achievement. It’s also an important investment that will dictate the standard of your business’s online presence.

This means you want to invest in the right designer who first of all delivers what your business needs. And secondly, is someone who you can have a positive, long-term relationship with. A mistake I see business-owners make is quickly hiring a random designer to whip something up for them quickly without thinking of the long-term consequences and the long-term benefits they actually want from their website. This is why I’m sharing what I’m sharing with you today. I want to help you make an informed decision so that that you are happy with your choice of designer and so that your business benefits from a well designed website.

So here we go – 8 things the WordPress Web Designer you hire should have…

1. They should have a website that stands-out to you and is easy to use

First things first – since a WordPress Web Designer’s website is how they present their business to the world, it should be a showcase of what they can do.

Ask yourself the following questions when you are on the designers site:

  • First of all do you like their website?

Does it stand out to you design wise? Is it showing any brand personality or is it blending in with all the other sites you’ve seen during your research?

  • Do you find it easy to get around the site?

Are you confused or frustrated by anything?

  • When you look at the site on your phone how does it look?

Is it just as easy to navigate? Are any words cut off when you view the site on mobile? Is there anything that is hard to read or use on mobile? It’s important to examine the designer’s site on mobile as it’s an indicator of the responsive web design practices. We all know how important it is for a website to be presented well on mobile. You want to make sure you work with a designer who will make your site shine on mobile as well as on desktop computers.

If you can answer these questions with positive answers that the first step to knowing that this WordPress Web Designer might just be the one you are looking for.

2. They should have a portfolio of successful WordPress client work

Once you’ve had an initial look around on the designer’s site, it’s time to look at their portfolio of work and see what you think.

Ask yourself the following questions when looking through their portfolio:

  • Do you like their work?

Could you see your vision for your business mixing well with this designer’s style and skills?

  • Are any of their previous clients in your industry or adjacent industries?

It’s not a requirement but is a plus if they’ve worked with a business in an industry similar to yours. This means they will already have insight into what a business-owner like you needs from a website, and most importantly how to make this happen.

These are things you should consider when looking at a designer’s body of work. If you like their style and think it would make sense for your business and you relate to the industries their clients are in. These are great indicators that this designer is the right WordPress expert for you. If you are interested, you can have a look at my portfolio of work here.

WordPress Web Designer

The menu for a WordPress website I designed for Lis Na Carrig

3. They should have 5 star reviews from previous clients

From looking at their site and portfolio you probably have come across some of their reviews. It’s probably a bad sign if you haven’t seen any by now.

Most reputable WordPress Web Designers will have their reviews on their site. Somewhere easy to find and in an easy to read format, so potentials clients can get a sense of what it’s like to work with them. This is great and you should definitely read through them. I also recommend seeking out their Google reviews just to double check their credibilty.

When looking at a designer’s reviews in general I suggest looking for the following:

  • The name of the business and the business-owner

Is this a legit business you recognise or could look up?

  • A headshot of the business-owner along with the review

This legitimises the review even further as the business-owner is willing to put their face to what they are saying.

  • A positive mention of the process of working with the designer

The results of a web design project is not the only thing that needs to be positive. A streamlined and thought through process will not only save you the headache trying the communicate with a disorganised designer, put it will save you time and make sure your project is delivered on the agreed upon deadline.

  • And of course find out if they are happy with their website now

Of course this is what you are really going to want to know. How do the business-owners feel about their website now? Are they happy with it? Have they gotten the result from it that they set out to get?

The combination of a designer who’s reviews mention a great process, a great result and their clients are singing their praises – that’s the winning combo!

Another tip is that if you come across a review by a fellow business-owner you know, don’t be afraid to get in touch with them. Ask them about their experience. Most likely they will be delighted to share how their project went. Even if you only know this business-owner in passing or you follow them on Instagram, there’s no harm in reaching out and asking them about their experience.

4. They should have a clear call to action of what next steps to take on their site

When designing a website, a strategic and conversion-focused Web Designer will prioritise the main call to action of every site they work on.

This means they will work with their clients to identify the main action they want their customers to take on the site. Another way to look at it is if the site user only did one thing while they are on the site, what would that be?

Call to action examples:

  • Book an appointment
  • Buy a product from the shop
  • Book a consultation call
  • Start a free trial
  • Fill out an enquiry form

Whatever call to action makes sense for your business should be identified early in the process. This means your designer will be able to highlight it throughout your site. It can and should be highlighted in different ways and areas throughout your site. From the header to the footer and other sections in between. It’s not about overwhelming your visitor and putting them off, that would be going too far. It’s about making sure taking the desired next steps and crystal clear and as easy as possible. People are busy and and looking for high quality information fast. You don’t want to hide things away and make your visitors jump through hoops just to become your customer. If you do that you’re not helping anyone, least of all yourself and your business. Remember that effectively selling your business/product is helping your target market reach their goals!

A good rule of thumb to think about is whatever a designer does on their site, they will do on yours. Would you be happy to have a website like theirs?

You want this practice of clear call to actions to be evident on your chosen designer’s site. If they do this on their site and make it easy for you to take the next steps with them, it’s highly likely they will do the same for you and your business. You are not looking to be a wallflower of the internet. You believe in the quality of your business and you are not afraid for this confidence to be reflected in the design of your website.

 

5. They should have WordPress website maintenance packages that keep your site glitch-free and secure

WordPress is based on a system of themes and plugins. These themes and plugins are developed by separate developers and you can pick and choose which ones you need.

These themes and plugins often needs to be updated, as their developers are always working on fixing bugs and making improvements to them.

Your web designer is responsible for making sure your theme and plugins are regularly updated on your site. Not doing so can lead to your site not functioning properly and being more susceptible to website hacks. And this isn’t something you can necessarily do yourself, as each time a theme or plugin is updated it potentially could conflict with another plugin, that could cause glitches to appear on your live site for your customers to see and you don’t want that!

This is why I do the necessary updates for my clients sites on a staging site (a version of the site that isn’t live). This means that if errors do occur I have a chance to fix them without disturbing the live site. This is want you want and this is why professional website maintenance is essential!

You also want to have someone you can ask about different aspects of your website. And someone who can do some updates for you if you don’t have time. I include 1 hour of updates a month on my website maintenance packages so my clients can ask me to update text and images based on their needs. I also give them personalised tutorial videos on how to do this but if they don’t have the confidence to do it themselves yet, I want to be a trusted WordPress Web Designer who can always help them when they need me.

6. They should have a good quality website hosting recommendation (Specifically for WordPress)

You can have the most beautiful website design, developed really well on WordPress but your site is guaranteed to make you pull your hair out if you host it with a low-quality, cheap hosting platform.

Website hosting dictates so much about your site functions. Website security and website speed are two of the most critical aspects that high-quality website hosting brings to your site. If you invest in your website in the first place, hosting it with a cheap provider just completely undoes any good work done by you or your designer.

Trust me, you don’t want the anxiety of checking the website you just put loads of money into, to see if it’s glitching and if the pages even load at all! Nightmare! Don’t worry, this is where high-quality website hosting comes in – Hallelujah!

High-quality, reliable and secure website hosting solves all of these issues before they even start. The hosting I recommend to all my client is Siteground.com. Siteground is specifically experienced in hosting WordPress sites so it’s really a no-brainer. It makes you site secure and fast and another thing I really love about Siteground is there support.

The importance of hosting support

They have a support chat feature that can be accessed 24 hours a day and the support team are so helpful and knowledgable. They are so quick to fix any issues that may arise. It’s honestly the best experience I’ve ever had with this kind of support.

Since you should be on one of your designer’s website maintenance packages, it should ideally be your WordPress designer who will be contacting Siteground support if any issues arise. You should not be left high and dry trying to figure out how to fix something. Even if you are on a maintenance package, you want your designer to be dealing with helpful hosting experts. You  want your designer to be a WordPress expert and you want to leave the hosting to the hosting experts. ie. Siteground (Have I mentioned I love Siteground?!)

WordPress Web Designer

A WordPress website I designed for Waterford hair salon Plush Hair

7. They should have experience with on-page SEO for WordPress websites

As a business-owner with an interest in hiring a WordPress Web Designer, I’m sure you know the importance of SEO

SEO is such a big topic and I won’t be able to go into all the details here but we both know it’s important. The 2 main types of SEO are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Here’s a quick overview of what these types are and how they are different.

On-page SEO includes:

  • Based on the keywords that are actually written on your website
  • Your SEO page titles and meta descriptions
  • Inbound and outbound links on your webpages

Off-Page SEO includes:

  • Backlinks from other high quality sites
  • Increasing web traffic with social media
  • Sharing informative blog posts to boost authority

This is only skimming the surface of SEO. It’s an on-going marketing method that if done to the highest level needs constant assessment and maintenance. Just because you run a small business doesn’t mean that having some SEO success is completely out of your reach or budget. This is why working with a WordPress web designer with on-page SEO experience is a really good choice. It’s the first steps of being found for your desired keywords. It can be built on in the future when your budget allows for monthly SEO campaigns with dedicated support.

The process will include your designer doing some keyword research for your industry and basing their decisions on that. The designer will put the chosen keywords in the relevant places on the front-end and back-end of the site. On-page SEO can also work really well for Local SEO which is you being found for your service/product plus your location.

Get better SEO results

You will hear this a lot about SEO but results are not guaranteed. They are based on so many factors including the competitiveness of your chosen keywords. If people in your industry are doing everything right for certain keywords and you’re just getting started, it’s going to be naturally harder. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible though. My biggest tip is once your website is set up with on-page SEO go out and find quality backlinks yourself. This is where other trusted websites mention you in a post and link to your site. They may do this because they are reviewing your business or your business is relevant to their audience. Once you get this link from a trusted site it indicates to Google that  your website is also trustworthy. The more Google trusts you, the more they will boost you up the rankings.

A mistake I see people make is when they get press for their business from an online publication, they only see it as traditional press and forget that’s it’s also a backlink opportunity.

In this case they can get the publication to link to their business social media instead of their website. They might think getting some follows from the article is the best outcome for them. Getting new, relevant followers obviously isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But you have to weigh up what is going to be more valuable to your business. And what is a more rare opportunity. Getting a backlink opportunity from a highly trusted source doesn’t always happen that often, so my advice is to link to your website. This will boost the on-page SEO work your WordPress Web Designer has already done and if you are also interested in getting social media followers they will come in time with the extra website traffic you get.

8. They should be someone you can see yourself having a long-term business relationship with

By now with all the mentions of the importance of website maintenance packages, you might have guessed that your relationship with your web designer goes way beyond the actual initial design and build of the site.

Since WordPress websites require maintenance, that means that the designer you hire is going to be your go-to person for the life of your website. Most designers only maintain sites they’ve built themselves. This means you will probably find it difficult to move your maintenance to another designer if things go wrong with the initial designer you hired. That can sound kind of scary, I know. All it means is you want to make sure that you get along really well with the designer you choose. You need to realise that this relationship is just as important as other factors that may influence your decision. Other factor may include their style, skills, reviews, price point, availability etc.

As long as you’re aware of how important the web designer/business-owner relationship is, then you will make the right decision for you and your business.

What I hate to see is someone who has hired a WordPress Web Designer without factoring in the long-term relationship consideration.  They often end up with a site they are not happy with and the only person they can turn to for maintenance is a designer who has already let them down.

How to pick the right designer

The best way to figure out if you get along with a designer is to get on a video call with them. You’ve explored their website, their portfolio and their reviews, now it’s time to see if you are the right fit with them personality wise. A video call is one of the best and quickest ways to do this. It’s also your chance to tell them about your business and what your website needs to be able to do for it. You can see what insights they can offer you on the call and you can also ask them questions you might have on their process for example – what does working with them look like? etc.

WordPress Web Designer

The mobile version of the WordPress website I designed for wedding videographer Vision& Vow Films

Next steps…

After all the research you’ve done, you should be ready to hire the designer who is right for you. When you find a designer who ticks all the boxes and makes you feel really excited to move forward with the project on your call with them, you know all the time and effort you put in to finding the right designer has been worth it. Go ahead and contact them and get the ball rolling on the project. And get ready for a website that will transform your business’s online presence.

Let me know in the comments if you found any of my tips helpful in your pursuit to hire a WordPress Web Designer.

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We worked on a brand and website re-design with Amy. It was a great experience, Amy was patient and supported our vision and desired outcomes. We now have a great website and are delighted with our brand look and feel.
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Amy is incredibly talented designer and took great time and consideration to understand our business, brand, messaging and style. She created branding for two our brands and a website for one of them. She was always incredibly professional and communicated really well with us. Updates/edits were dealt with quickly. Can't recommend her enough.
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